Papaver somniferum L.

Papaver somniferum L.

Botanical Name:       Papaver somniferum L.Papaver somniferum L.

Kingdom:                     Plantae

Order:                           Rannuculates

Family:                         Papaveraceae

Genus:                          Papaver

Local Name:              Khashkhash

English Name:          Opium seeds

Sindhi Name:            Khaskhas

Part Used:                  Inflorescence and pods



Papaver somniferum Lis an annual herb. Flowers are white with dark markings at the base.Leaves are lobed. Stem and leaves are covered with coarse hairs.Fruit is rounded and hairless1,2.


P.somniferumis distributed to Europe, Asia,Iran, Turkey, Holland, Romania, Czechoslovakia,India, Canada, and American3.

Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases


Mixture of Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb. (Beleric), Carum copticum L. (Bishops weed), Papaver somniferum L. (Opium) seeds, Foeniculum vulgare L. (Fennel) seeds, Terminalia chebula Retz. (Chebulic Myrobalan), Mentha pipperita L. (Peppermint) is taken orally for the treatment of scabies in District Ghotki (Sindh).


Seeds of P. somniferum are ground and the powder is mixed in the water. This water is taken orally for 1-3 days for the treatment of Measels in District Kamber Shahdad Kot (Sindh).


Paste of P. somniferum, Tritium aestivum L. (Wheat), Salvadora oleiodes Decne. (Salvadora) is applied for curing ringworm in District Khairpur(Sindh).


P. somniferum morphine,codeine,thebaine, sanguinarine, dihydrosanguinarine, papaverine, noscapine, and narcotoline4.

Chemical Structure:

Papaver somniferum


Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific Studies

P. somniferum is used in United State for healing wound. Plant contains several important constituents, used against cough, chest pain, and pneumonia but they are high addictive5. Papaverine, important constituent of opium, is widely useful in hypertension, angina pectoris, and abortion6. Morphine, another important constituent, is helpful in shortness of breath caused by cancer and non-cancerous incident. It is used in the preparations of tablets, capsules, syrups, injections, and suppository. It has various side effects such as, abdominal problems, breathing disorder, slow heartbeat, stiff muscles, convulsions, weakness, and unusual thoughts or behavior7.

P. somniferum is reported for analgesic, narcotic, cough suppressant, antineoplastic, antitussive, muscle relaxant, antitumoric, and antimicrobial activities4,6.


  1. Stace, C.A. (2010). New flora of the British isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University.
  2. Blamey, M., Fitter, R., and Fitter, A. (2003). Wild flowers of Britain and Ireland: The Complete Guide to the British and Irish Flora. A & C Black, London. 
  4. Frick, S., Kramell, R., Schmidt, J., Fist, A. J., and Kutchan, T. M. (2005). “Comparative qualitative and quantitative determination of alkaloids in narcotic and condiment Papaver somniferum cultivars”.Journal of Natural Product, 68(5), 666-73.
  5. Hoffmann, J. P. (1990). The historical shift in the perceotion of opiates: from medicine to social menace. Journal of Psychoactive Drug, 22(1), 53-62.
  6. Chalise, U. (2015). The Poppy Plant: Phytochemistry and Pharmacology, Indo Global Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 5(1), 58-65.