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Wild Lettuce - Lactuca virosaWild Lettuce is primarily applied in herbal medicine as a mild sedative, pain reliever and to calm restlessness. It is sometimes added to cough remedies.
Wild Lettuce's soothing properties have also been applied to promote sleep, to ease nervous indigestion and other nervous conditions. Wild Lettuce also relieves spasms, and earlier herbal manuals suggest a syrup preparation for allaying coughs.
The effects of ingesting L. virosa are similar to opium, although no opiates are present in the plant. A latex however exists as an extract of the stem secretion of Lactuca virosa, a simple preparation in a manner resembling opium, which is called lactucarium. Effects are felt quickly but do not last long, between half an hour to a couple of hours. They dwindle slowly. The plant has been used as an anesthetic and a Sleep aid.
Many add the greens to salads, though the leaves of L. virosa are more bitter than other salad greens.
It is said to be also a mild diaphoretic and diuretic, easing colic, inducing sleep and allaying cough.