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Prickly Poppy (Argemone mexicana)

A. ochroleuca.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Prickly Poppy
Argemone mexicana

A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed, used for lighting, soap etc[46, 61, 103, 171, 272].

A medicinal fixed oil (essential oil?) is obtained from the seed[178].

  • Medicinal Use

    The whole plant is analgesic, antispasmodic, possibly hallucinogenic and sedative[46, 61, 178, 181, 192, 254]. It contains alkaloids similar to those in the opium poppy (P. somniferum) and so can be used as a mild pain-killer[254].

    The fresh yellow, milky, acrid sap contains protein-dissolving substances and has been used in the treatment of warts, cold sores, cutaneous affections, skin diseases, itches etc[207, 243, 254]. It has also been used to treat cataracts[254] and has been taken internally in the treatment of dropsy and jaundice[240, 243].

    The root is alterative and has been used in the treatment of chronic skin diseases[240, 243].

    The flowers are expectorant and have been used in the treatment of coughs and other chest complaints[254].

    The seed is demulcent, emetic, expectorant and laxative[240, 243]. An infusion, in small quantities, is used as a sedative for children, but caution is advised since the oil in the seed is strongly purgative[254]. The seed has also been used as an antidote to snake poisoning[240, 243]. The pounded seeds, mixed with mustard oil, are applied externally to treat itchy skin[272].

    The oil from the seed is demulcent and purgative[254, 272]. It has been used externally in the treatment of skin problems[240, 243, 272]. Caution is advised in the use of this oil, prolonged ingestion produces toxic effects resembling those occurring in epidemic dropsy[240].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves[177] No further details are given but caution is advised, see the notes on toxicity at the top of the page.

  • Cautionary Notes

    All parts of the plant, including the seed, contain toxic alkaloids[175].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow April in situ[200]. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 4 weeks at 15¡c[134].
Easily grown in a light soil in a sunny position[1, 134, 166]. Does best in a poor well-drained soil[134]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10¡c[200]. Usually grown as a hardy annual in Britain[1]. It resents being transplanted and should be sown in situ[134].
South-western N. America. Naturalized in C. and S. Europe[50].

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.