Wild Lettuce

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  • Whooping cough
  • Asthma
  • Urinary tract problems
  • Cough
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Restlessness
  • Excitability in children
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Excessive sex drive in women (nymphomania)
  • Muscular or joint pains
  • Poor circulation
  • Swollen genitals in men (priapism)
  • Opium substitute in cough preparations.
  • The seed oil is used for “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis) and as a substitute for wheat germ oil.
  • Some people apply wild lettuce latex directly to the skin to kill germs.
  • Some people inhale wild lettuce for a recreational “high” or hallucinogenic effect.


  • Wild lettuce has calming, relaxing, and pain relieving effects.


  • Wild lettuce seems safe for most people in small amounts. Large amounts, however, can slow breathing and might cause death.
  • Applying wild lettuce directly to the skin can cause irritation. Large amounts can cause sweating, fast heartbeat, pupil dilation, dizziness, ringing in the ears, vision changes, sedation, breathing difficulty, and death.
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of wild lettuce during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
  • Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH): Don’t use wild lettuce if you have this condition. It contains a chemical that can harm people who have trouble urinating.
  • Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Wild lettuce may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking wild lettuce.
  • Narrow-angle glaucoma: Don’t use wild lettuce if you have this eye condition. It contains a chemical that might make glaucoma worse.
  • Surgery:Wild lettuce can affect the central nervous system. There is a concern that it might cause too much sleepiness if it is taken along with anesthesia and other nerve-numbing medications used during and after surgery. Stop using wild lettuce at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


Major Interaction Do not take this combination:

  • Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with WILD LETTUCE: Wild lettuce might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking wild lettuce along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
    • Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

Other Names

Acrid Lettuce, Bitter Lettuce, German Lactucarium, Green Endive, Lactuca virosa, Lactucarium, Laitue Amère, Laitue à Opium, Laitue Sauvage, Laitue Scariole, Laitue Serriole, Laitue Vireuse, Lechuga Silvestre, Lettuce Opium, Poison Lettuce, Strong-Scented Lettuce.


Source: WebMD, “Wild Lettuce”, www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/

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