- Poppy (Papaver Somniferum):
- translation: pap, the milky juice; sleep bringer.
synonyms: Opium Poppy, Mawseed.
definition: consolation; fantastic extravangance; sleep; sleep of the heart; sleep: oblivion; sleep, my bane, my antidote.
According to the Romans the Poppy could heal a love wound, the ancient Greeks also used it in love charms. The God of Sleep, Morpheus, would use a wreath of Poppies to put people to sleep. The twin brothers Hypno and Thantos (Sleep and Death) were represented as crowded with Poppies or as holding them in their hands. The word opium is derived from the Greek Opos (juice). All parts of the plant, but especially the walls of the capsules, contain a system of laticiferous vessels, filled with a white latex. Opium is extracted from the Poppy heads before the capsules ripen. Dry, pure opium is a black red in colour. Morphine (named after Morpheus) is procured from opium produced by Poppies. It is unexcelled as a hypnotic and sedative, and is frequently administered to relive pain and calm excitement. Small doses of opium and morphine are nerve stimulants. In cases of overdose, atropine may be administered hypodermically to maintain cardiac action, but it must be used cautiously.
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