What is Poppy Seed Tea?
This is an herbal tea infusion using seeds from Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy plant. The active opiate alkaloids are extracted into the beverage by agitating a mixture primarily containing the seeds and water. The process of making the tea usually takes 30 minutes for beginners. Once the tea is consumed, the effects are normally felt between 30-60 minutes. I have detailed the entire process How to Make Poppy Seed Tea on this site.
This post is for informational purposes only, I do not suggest growing or ingesting poppy plants in any form. It is dangerous and can lead to possible addiction, especially if consumed regularly over long periods of time.
The Opium Poppy Plant
The poppy plant grows up to 5 feet tall. The plant thrives with fertile soil and full sunlight. Papaver somniferum is unique because it produces opiate alkaloids as a natural defense against predators. The seeds come into contact with alkaloids contained in the seed pod. This results in the seeds carrying the same active compounds. The amount that the seeds carry can vary from plant to plant. The most common alkaloid found in poppy seeds is morphine, comprising 8%-14% of the total alkaloids. Its effects derive from the fact that it binds to and activates opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, stomach and intestine.
The poppy seeds used for tea are obtained from the Papaver somniferum poppy plant. The seeds also are unwashed and are relatively dark in appearance. Most unwashed seeds are dark blue or black in color. Consumers make sure to verify that the poppy seeds are actually labeled as unwashed. This can usually be found by checking the outside of the package or bottle. Some individuals attempt to purchase the seeds in bulk from a local grocery store. They often must ask employees whether or not the seeds are unwashed. Another way individuals determine whether the seeds are unwashed is by looking for crushed up bits of the pods or stems in the bag or container. These small pieces of sediment are usually light or dark brown and are can be very tiny. Most people have started purchasing the seeds online due to convenience and expedited shipping times.
There is still a large number of consumers that purchase the seeds from grocery stores. Tea drinkers find it easiest to check the natural or health food stores first. Many of the national stores have already stopped selling bulk poppy seeds because they have lost money from people stealing the product. Some individuals also run into another common problem. Local stores may carry the seeds, but they don’t have the item in stock. Chances are that there are several people in the average town/city looking for unwashed poppy seeds. There may be hundreds in larger cities. The stores also may carry unwashed seeds that are not very tasty or strong, and you can end up wasting your money. Someone new to the tea can spend hours searching for seeds, which is why many tea drinkers suggest purchasing online. It takes a little longer, but then it is delivered to their doorstep.
Poppy seed tea has become more popular over the past ten years as opiate use has increased. It has become harder for people to make other forms of poppy tea, and it has become easier to obtain unwashed seeds online and have them delivered quickly. There are several other factors that have helped contribute to the rise in popularity as well. Poppy seeds are relatively cheap and easy to obtain, and they are sold legally in the United States and around the world. Many analysts are anticipating a further increase in poppy seed tea use as it becomes even harder for people to obtain other pain relief products.
Why Poppy Seed Tea is Consumed
Poppy seed tea is primarily consumed for its euphoric and narcotic effects. Use of poppy seed tea originated in parts of Central and Eastern Europe and Central and South Central Asia thousands of years ago.
Tea drinkers consume this beverage to obtain the following possible benefits: pain relief, anxiety reduction, lower blood pressure, mood improvement, anti-diarrheal, and sleep improvement. Some people consume poppy seed tea to help with the withdrawals from other opiates.
Poppy seeds contain several vitamins & minerals such as calcium, copper, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc.
I have written an analysis of the Benefits of Poppy Seed Tea which includes even more details. The link is located at the bottom of this article.
Possible Negative Effects
There are also possible negative effects associated with poppy seed tea. This includes possible addiction. For long term addictions, users may experienced severe prolonged withdrawal. Specific negative side effects that may occur when drinking poppy tea include: feeling drowsy or sleepy, constipation (as with all opiates), urinary retention, slow breathing, and possible nausea. The nausea could possibly be due to noscapine, and this negative effect is usually more common with first time uses.
For people that use poppy seed tea to help them with the withdrawal symptoms from other opiates, they are at high risk for becoming addicted to the tea. In the end, they are just replacing one form of opiates with another.
Poppy seed tea is a fairly popular and easy to make. There are several benefits and negative aspects associated with this potent drink, so potential consumers must be very vigilant and attentive. People need to weigh all aspects before consuming anything related to poppy seed tea.
Please leave a comment below if you have any information to help further this discussion!
Follow us on Facebook!
Follow us on Twitter!