Wild Lettuce – Cut & Sifted
Country of Origin: United States
Wild Lettuce (Lactuca virosa) is a plant species that is native to Europe but has also been naturalized in North America. It grows in various parts of the world, including Austria, Germany, Iran, Scotland, and France. Lactuca virosa is related to common lettuce (L. sativa), and is often referred to as wild lettuce, bitter lettuce, or prickly lettuce. The extract of the plant is made by drying and crushing the leaves and stems, and then extracting the active compounds using a solvent.
Wild lettuce is an herbaceous plant that can grow up to six feet tall. It thrives in sunny locations, especially along roadways and riverbanks. Wild lettuce leaves are long, narrow, and bright green with occasionally purple spotting on the stem. It has a slightly bitter taste. The plant contains several active compounds, including lactucin and lactucopicrin, which have calming properties. Other compounds found in the plant include flavonoids, coumarins, and alkaloids.
Historically, wild lettuce has been used as a bitter plant that supports digestion. Its use spanned geographically from Ancient Greeks and Romans, to ancient Egypt. Within ancient Egyptian history, the lettuce was believed to be a natural aphrodisiac and was often depicted in hieroglyphics being held by Egyptian gods. In the Middle Ages, it was used for its analgesic properties. Native American tribes, like the Hopi tribe of Arizona, would smoke wild lettuce resin before sleeping.
There are several health precautions associated with using wild lettuce extract. It should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as people with a history of liver or kidney disease. It may also interact with certain medications, such as sedatives and blood thinners.
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