Wild Lettuce
Botanical name: Lactuca virosa
Other names: Bitter lettuce, Opium Lettuce, Poisonous Lettuce, Tall Lettuce, Great Lettuce
Lactuca virosa | herb info from the Happy Herb Company

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Wild Lettuce

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Wild Lettuce is a valuable remedy for insomnia and restlessness. As an antispasmodic, it can be applied as part of a holistic treatment for whooping cough and dry irritated coughs in general. It relieves colic pains in the intestines and uterus, and so may be used in dysmenorrhea (period pain). It also eases muscular pains related to rheumatism, and has been used as an anaphrodisiac. 

Wild lettuce has been used since the 19th century for pain relief, to help induce sleep and as a tonic for the nervous system. It was traditionally used by native North Americans for lucid dreaming purposes.

This relaxing herb can be beneficial for people needing help to get to sleep, calm restlessness or anxiety, and even as an aid when overcoming tobacco and cannabis habits.

Precautions / Contraindications: 

Avoid use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH): Don’t use wild lettuce if you have this condition. Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Wild lettuce may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family (ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds and daisies). If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking wild lettuce. Narrow-angle glaucoma: Don’t use wild lettuce if you have this eye condition. It contains a chemical that might make glaucoma worse. Surgery: stop using wild lettuce at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery as it may heighten the effect of anaesthetics.

David Hoffman (2003), Medical Herbalism, p.561