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Opium Poppies: Homegrown Pain Medication

Opium Poppies for Homegrown Pain MedicationThe source of one of nature’s best pain medications, the opium poppy, thrives in your garden, and can be prepared in the kitchen with only some basic instructions for an all natural home remedy.

I’m a DIY kind of guy, so I’m always on the lookout for ways to make the things I need, and since receiving a review copy of Opium for the Masses, from Feral House, I’ve been patiently awaiting spring, so I can plant a crop of poppies to fill my medicine cabinet.

This classic book, subtitled Harvesting Nature’s Best Pain Medication,  takes all of the guesswork out of it. Homegrown opium poppies, or even dried poppy heads from the craft store, can be made into poppy tea or laudanum, and could be your DIY solution for headaches, coughs, muscle pains, or diarrhea.

After sustaining serious injuries and having to do without pain medication until I could see a doctor and get a prescription, I had to suffer through an agonizing night with only over the counter medication to cope with the pain. A friend was able to bring me some pain meds left over from an old injury of his, but without that, I would have had to tough it out.

It made me realize just how inaccessible effective pain treatments are without the signature of a doctor and a trip to the pharmacy. I found a new respect for people who suffered great injuries before potent pain medicines were widely available, a fairly recent development in human history. What did they do for the pain?

The answer is that they got what they needed from nature, and either gathered it or grew it. The opium poppy is an extremely useful medicinal plant with thousands of years of history of cultivation, but it’s also one of the most demonized, as the source of the refined product heroin. While morphine’s effectiveness for pain relief is well known, so is the story of the heroin junkie who’ll do anything for another shot of smack.

The political fallout from all of our wars on drugs and alcohol, and the subsequent financial elope-ments between Big Pharma and our government, have convinced people that opium poppies must be for dope fiends (but we sure do think they look pretty while admiring them in someone else’s garden). The truth about poppies is rather different.

Opium for the Masses gives an overview of the world history of opium and then the US war on drugs (which began by outlawing opium as America’s first ‘illicit substance’ in 1914, under the Harrison Act), but most of the book is filled with practical how-to information, and very detailed at that. One section I found fascinating was the relationship between opiates, endorphins, and the brain, and how perfectly they fit together.

The practical sections cover topics such as how to cultivate opium poppies at home, how to make poppy tea and laudanum, and how to make morphine from opium, and heroin from the morphine (a bit involved, and not for me, but an interesting process). I found the book to be comprehensive, informative, and entertaining.

I think this book belongs on the shelves of every modern homesteader, DIY family, and self-sufficiency freak as a valuable resource to learn how to grow and prepare these traditional remedies. Meanwhile, I’m planning my poppy garden.

If, however, you’re in need of treatment, consider these California opiate treatment centers.

[Image: stefg74 at Flickr]

12 Responses to Opium Poppies: Homegrown Pain Medication

  1. Another great post Derek. I’m prone to getting bad chest colds a few times of year and the only type of medicine that helps control my cough is strong pain meds. I hate taking tons of OTC stuff so I’m interested to see what else you write about on this subject.
    .-= Tyler Wainright´s last blog ..My WHCC metallic prints are perfect…almost =-.

  2. really great post love it so much keep up the good work thx u
    .-= Veto Corleone´s last blog ..Help please, my kitty does not eat wellness can food? =-.

  3. sam says:

    So where did you get the seeds to plant your own?

    • bgoodwin says:

      I have been on prescribed pain meds for over 20 years and ave recently overheard a conversation involving laudanum. I would really like to know more about it as the DEA continues to over-regulate my oxy’s and others. I cannot continue to live with the pain and the DEA doesn’t seem to care about the suicides cauused by cutting us back, just the accidental overdoses from precsriptions or from black-market!

  4. Pat says:

    The guy who wrote opium for the masses went to jail for having dry poppie pods he bought from a store. I don’t think advertising that you grow them to make opium is very bright

  5. nick says:

    very interesting, where do i get the poppy seeds from, or the heads of the poppies…

  6. Forestdweller says:

    I would like to start out by saying that this article is exactly what I have been looking for. I am a “DOOMSDAY PREPPER”, and have been on pain meds for 8 years; due to aver critical car accident to where I was ejected from the car. I of course, worry about a economic collapse,and where would I go to get my medicines? I have several thosand seeds, a greenhouse, and can grow anything, and actually bring plants back from the dead! LOL. So any info on where I could get a few seeds would be very helpful! thanks for the article, and I wil be loking for any books (as mentioned), plus some.
    PEACE BE WITH YOU-
    FORESTDWELLER

    • Ellen says:

      I have had chronic pain for over 2 years. And during those 2 years have been going from doctor to doctor to find one that truly understands about pain and how it can rob you of your daily pleasures and life in general. Doctors are so scared of the FDA and loosing their licenses, some have turned a blind eye to patients who really are in pain and in need of medication to control it. All because of people who abuse it and use it just to get high. It ruins it for me who really needs it for function in my daily life. I’ve lost a marriage over it, I’ve lost jobs over it, and am still struggling with the pain. I am now on Tramadol, FYI don’t let ANY doctor tell you it is NOT an opioid. It is! End of story. I have a copy of Opium For The Masses and find the directions hard to follow. Hey, I’m a blonde what can I say. But there is a Bible scripture in the Catholic Bible, in the book of Sirach Chapter 38 verse 4 that says and I quote “The Lord created medicines from the earth, and a sensible person will not HESITATE to use them.” That’s all the comfort I need to know that they are here for our relief of pain and suffering. Kratom is also a natural remedy for moderate to severe pain and is legal in the US to purchase on line. $20.00 for 30 – 40 capsules. The Ming Da is the best type to use so they say and works like an opioid and is one. They also have a Kratom 14x that they say is as strong as Percocet! I’ve yet to try it. But I will. The FDA will soon try to out law that too according to many articles I’ve read about Kratom on line. So that tells me, they know it’s an opioid too. The best part is, your body does not get a tolerance to it, meaning that your dose NEVER has to be raised in order to get relief. I’m loosing my respect for doctors, they just don’t get it. And they treat everyone like a user. There are a few good doctors out there, but finding one is hard. Thanks for letting me vent my frustration at 4:31am.

  7. inanswertoyourquestion says:

    you can get poppy seeds from many places. type in “papaver somniferum seeds” in a google search. XD

  8. Sarah says:

    Similar to mushroom picking, I would advise extreme caution when dealing with opium poppies. I have no moral issues with the idea of using the plant (or cannabis use for that matter), but I do know of some teens who took it upon themselves to make tea from the milk of poppy seeds, and they became seriously ill – dangerous seizures etc. Your post provides excellent references, which I applaud. I just hope that people use caution, and treat this medication with the respect it deserves. I am a new reader, (came for the ‘be a better wife’ post), but I am pleased with your site and I will keep reading. Thanks.

  9. Goodfella says:

    Interesting article but I think I will stick with paracetamol, I know I can’t get locked up for having that :)

  10. MarkOwen says:

    I have degenerative disc desease in my lumbar vertabraes, I was on Oxy for a little over 10 years, I got off them and now take methadone 10mg daily. They seem to work but I too am worried about a possible collapse. What do we do then. I’ve tried pigeonholing a few extra each month to save some up but never seem to get anywhere.I would like to try the poppyseed method, but I’m 61 yrs old. I don’t want to end up n a crowbar hotel somewhere for having them.

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