Wild Lettuce

Natural pain relief.

Wild lettuce has a number of scientific names including Acrid lettuce, Bitter lettuce, German Lactucarium, Green Endive, Lactuca Virosa, and Lactucarium. Many people call it wild opium lettuce, but that’s more slang than scientific.

Wild lettuce has a long history of medical use and goes back to ancient Egyptian times. Ancient Egyptian tombs display various drawings which feature wild lettuce. Also, during the Roman Empire Emperor Augustus apparently had an altar built for using the plant to recover from various medical conditions.

In recent years we have seen wild lettuce in the news as an alternative to painkillers and a potential resolution for our opiate use crisis in the United States.

Wild lettuce contains two compounds—lactucin and lactucopicrin—that act on and sooth the central nervous system. Wild lettuce has the highest concentration of lactucopicrin of all plants, although dandelion root and chicory root are also reliable sources. In addition to its sedative and analgesic effects, lactucopicrin is believed to act as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, meaning that it blocks cholinesterase enzymes responsible for slowing communication between brain cells. Wild lettuce is also said to exhibit potent antimicrobial activity.

Most adults take 1-2 500mg capsules as needed every 6-8 hours.