Red Poppy – Kohler’s Medical Plants – 1898
I noticed this post in various saved drafts I’ve got going. This draft was started back in May, when red poppies were everywhere. Now its wintertime and the nature around me is covered in gray hues: grayish brown, grayish blue, grayish green. Only red holly berries peak out from time to time to add a little sprinkle of bright color. And in this general absence of bright colors, dried poppy petals are a perfect touch to wintertime remedies (only petals and seeds can be used, as other parts of the poppy are slightly toxic). Unlike the more famous opium poppy Papaver Somniferum, used in making morphine and other such strong and widely-known medicine (and drugs), the red poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is a lot milder and can be used even for children or the elderly. Its primarily used to calm coughs and to help wind-down before curling up under warm blankets on winter nights. I’ve seen many different recipes for red poppy petals online: syrups and glycerites or mixed together with other herbs. But for me, I like to add a few dried petals to my herbal teas in the evening as a little extra sleep-aid. The red poppy is very mild, so its rarely used as a main therapeutic ingredient. But a little colorful throat-soothing aid or stress-reducing aid is always helpful on these long winter nights.