Wild Lettuce: A Natural Pain Reliever and Supplement for Alzheimers!

Updated on March 30th, 2020
wild lettuce

Wild-lettuce is one such plant that has been extensively used for its medicinal properties and its ability to numb the pain. It is an extensive part of Chinese medicine and has been used topically as an antiseptic, and the wild lettuce seeds are used to increase the breast milk of lactating mothers.

It has got the name “opium lettuce” due to its psychotropic effects and pain-relieving activities. There are various products available made with extracts of the lettuce. They are used to treat various ailments like insomnia, respiratory troubles, joint pain, and anxiety.


  • Wild lettuce contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, beta-carotene, and fiber.
  • It belongs to the Asteraceae or Sunflower family.
  • It is called Bitter lettuce, opium lettuce, and prickly lettuce.
  • They grow in grassy fields and grow up to two meters in height.
  • It has therapeutic uses as the lactucarium; an extract has sedative and analgesic properties.

Why Is This Considered An Excellent Supplement?

1. Boasts of Antioxidants

Wild lettuce is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants play a vital role in our body, as it helps to boost immunity. The molecules fight against the free radicals of the body that damage healthy cells.

2. Relieves Pain

The plant excretes a substance called lactucarium, which presents itself as a milky white substance. The compounds found in it are lactupicirin, lactucin, lactucopicrin(1). These compounds have sedative and analgesic properties that help in reducing the intensity of pain. They function similarly like morphine and have a direct impact on the Central Nervous system that numbs the pain.

A study stated that wild lettuce supplements of 30 mg dosage of lactucopirin are equivalent to 60 mg dosage of ibuprofen.

Many holistic practitioners advise the use of this due to its effectiveness in treating migraines and menstrual problems.

3. Improves Respiratory Health

Respiratory Health

Wild lettuce treats respiratory disorders like asthma, bronchitis, cough, etc. It reduces irritation in bronchial tubes. It helps to loosen mucus in the lungs and helps to breathe better. It also treats breathing problems associated with asthma.

4. Works as Sedative

Lettuce has pain-relieving properties. The added advantage is it functions as a sedative. This characteristic makes it an apt ingredient to treat insomnia and anxiety without disturbing the digestive system. It has a very dreamy influence on the body and helps to sleep. It is also good to treat hyperactive children.

5. Treats Alzheimer’s

The extract called lactucopicrin found in wild lettuce is a robust acetylcholinesterase(2) inhibitor.

A study in 2016 stated in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology that this compound promoted neuritogenesis in the brain cells that were extracted from rats for the research.

6. Relieves Menstruation Pain

A study showed that this lettuce could reduce menstrual cramps, pain in the lower abdomen, and PMS associated with the menstrual cycle. This lettuce has sedative effects and causes insomnia and reduces symptoms of discomfort in the menstrual cycle.

This lettuce is entirely anecdotal, and some believe it has no therapeutic effects whatsoever.

7. Treats Malaria


It contains an agent that helps to fight malaria known as artemisinin. It reduces the symptoms of shivering and body pain caused by malaria. However, more research needs to be done to conclude how the compound works against malaria.

Possible Side Effects:

Few studies show that it can be harmful.

Consuming raw lettuce may cause symptoms of

  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Palpitation
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea

Due to a lack of extensive research, it is unclear how it may react with other medications. Thus, it is advised that you always check with your doctor before consuming the lettuce or its supplements.

What’s the Right Dosage?

There’s no fixed dosage of wild lettuce. It depends on several factors including environmental, health, age, etc. Despite being a natural treatment against malaria, Alzheimers and respiratory problems, it could prove detrimental. Thus, when consuming wild lettuce, ensure to adhere to the dosage mentioned on the product label or consult a physician to know the appropriate dosage.


If you are looking for a natural method to treat pain, this lettuce might be a great option. However, you can also take a look at other alternatives like CBD oil, Omega 3 fatty acids supplements, exercise, and yoga to alleviate pain. This lettuce can be consumed raw and also used also for culinary purposes. The raw lettuce is often used in wraps or sandwiches.


1. Is Milkweed and Wild Lettuce the Same?

Not really. The lettuce can branch itself out, unlike milkweed. The leaves of the lettuce plant are shorter and narrower compared to milkweed.

2. Is Spinach Better Than Lettuce?

The nutrition profile of both is very different. Spinach has more potassium, iron, calcium, and protein compared to any leafy vegetable. Compared to lettuce, spinach has more benefits.

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