Thu. Oct 22nd, 2020

Highlights

  • Poppy seed has a long history for its use in Ayurveda.
  • Poppy seed is a popular condiment and additive in foods across the world.
  • As such poppy seed does not contain the opium alkaloids but can be contaminated during harvesting and also as a result of pest damage.
  • It can be used as food and to produce edible oil. 

Poppy seed

Poppy seed obtained from the Papaver plant (Papaver somniferum).

Poppy seed as such do not contain narcotic properties and have long been considered safe and are nutritious and healthy.

Opium alkaloids such as morphine and thebaine were obtained from the latex of Papaver somniferum unripened buds.

Poppy seed can be cold-pressed to get poppy seed oil, which is rich in the omega-6 and omega-9 fats and a small quantity of essential omega-3 fat i.e alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Poppy seeds and its oil also possesses antioxidant (eg polyphenols) which lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Name of Poppy seeds in different languages

  • Poppy seeds in Hindi: In Hindi Poppy seed is known as Khasakhas (खसखस).
  • Poppy seeds in Kannada: In Kannada Poppy seed is known as Gasagase bījagaḷu (ಗಸಗಸೆ ಬೀಜಗಳು)
  • Poppy seeds Malayalam: In Malayalam, Poppy seed is known as pēāppi vittukaḷ (പോപ്പി വിത്തുകൾ)
  • Poppy seeds in Telugu: In Telugu Poppy seed is known as Gasagasālu (గసగసాలు)

Health Benefits of Poppy seeds

  • Rich source of minerals

Poppy seeds are a rich source of minerals such as iron, copper, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Calcium and phosphorus are good for the healthy bone.

Iron found in the poppy seed can increase hemoglobin production and sufficient blood flow. Enough oxygen and iron supply to the brain improves the perceptive performance and a decrease in cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The presence of copper and iron makes it effective against diseases like anemia, fatigue, and muscle weakness.

  • Poppy seeds for insomnia: Poppy seeds regulate metabolism and reducing sleep disorders and insomnia. Poppy seeds are rich in the nutrients which help in reducing the levels of cortisol (a kind of stress hormone) and improves the quality, and quantity of sleep.
  • The benefit to digestive systems: Poppy seeds can quench thirst, calm the stomach irritation, and reduce acidity.
  • Poppy seeds have analgesic, calmative, bactericidal, sedation, and antidiarrheal properties. 
  • Poppy seeds oil is very good for skin and hair health. Poppy seeds oil can be used in several cosmetic products such as lotion, creams, soaps, and hair care products.

How to include poppy seeds in the diet

  • Poppy seeds can be taken along with pieces of bread, buns, cakes, muffins, and also in salad dressings.
  • Poppy seeds can be soaked in water overnight and it paste can be added to the curry.
  • Water washed poppy seeds can be boiled with milk and consume for its great benefits.
  • The best way to consume poppy seeds before going to bed. It can be in the form of poppy seeds tea or homemade paste with milk.
  • Poppy seeds tea has a long history of its use for analgesic, anti-diarrheal, and anxiolytic effects.

Take home message

Poppy seeds are loaded rich amounts of minerals and other nutrients with significant health benefits. Since unwashed poppy seeds may be contaminated with morphine, codeine, and thebaine so it should always use after washing with water.

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