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Poppy Seeds Health Benefits and Side Effects

The botanical name of poppy seeds is Papaver somniferum L. from the family Papaveraceae.Poppy seed, commonly known as ‘khus khus‘ in Hindi, khashkash‘ in Urdu, Gasagasalu‘ in Telugu, ‘Kasa Kasa‘ in Tamil, ‘Kas Kas‘ in Malayalam, ‘Gasagase‘ in Kannada, ‘Khuskhush‘ in Gujarati, ‘Khas Khas‘ in Marathi, ‘Posto‘ in Bengali and ‘Khush khush‘ in Punjabi. Poppy seeds are oil seeds obtained from the poppy plant. The poppy plant comes from Asia and the East Mediterranean.They are Tiny Kidney-shaped seeds, slate-blue in color, having a crisp texture and nut-like flavor. The seeds, indeed, are very safe to use as food, these are used in baking bread, cakes, rolls and cookies.The negative drawback of these seeds is that they are used by people for drug abuse. The effects have caused many people to become thorough addicts. Judicial and law enforcement systems have hence banned many of the substances.
Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening, but there are also several health benefits. Poppy seeds have been used by ancient civilizations for their medicinal benefits for a long time.

Health Benefits Of Poppy Seeds:

Despite the risks associated with this seeds, there are also many health benefits when it is consumed responsibly and in small amounts, health benefits of poppy seeds include:

  • Poppy seeds can also be very effective in preventing the formation of kidney stones. Oxalates present in poppy seeds can absorb excess calcium in the body thus help to prevent their crystallization in the kidney. All this process prevents the formation of kidney stones.
  • Poppy seeds help to strong bones and teeth because they contain high level of phosphorus and calcium, One teaspoon of poppy seeds contains four percent of the recommended daily intake of phosphorous and calcium. Therefore, if you eat poppy seeds on a regular basis, they will help to keep your teeth and bones healthy.
  • Poppy seeds can help to cure sleeping disorders.Drinking warm milk with poppy seed paste before going to bed is good for sound sleep and treating insomnia.
  • Poppy seeds also are used as narcotics to treat pain-related conditions and have been also been popularly used as a pain killer to relieve tooth aches, muscular and neuralgic pain.they are very effective as a pain killer.
  • Poppy seeds help to treat a respiratory disorder.It helps in the treatment of asthma and cough. Helps to reducing cough and along with sedative effect provides long lasting relief. It finds therapeutic use in various cough syrups.
  • Poppy seeds promote a healthy digestion.It contains 20-30 percent dietary fibers.The fibers support healthy bowel movements and help to treat constipation.
  • Poppy seeds are packed with a number of compounds that help in the production of neurotransmitters, thereby helping your brain function optimally.
  • The oil from the poppy seeds plant is useful in treating carcinoma as it contains monounsaturated fatty acids. According to a study done by Dr. Javier M. of NW University in Chicago that examined the effects that oleic acid has on cancerous cells. The results of the study showed that oleic acid helps block HER-2/neu, which is a gene that can potentially increase the risk of cancer. Because poppy seeds contain oleic acid, they may also help protect against cancer.
  • Poppy seeds reduce the risk of heart diseases.It is rich in Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and can reduce heart risk. Dietary fiber in poppy seed binds to bile salts and cholesterol in the intestine and prevents their absorption in the colon. There by reducing risk from cholesterol. The sedative impact of Poppy seed also helps in reducing blood pressure.
  • Poppy seeds are rich in zinc and iron. They both help in strengthening the immune system.It also helps transport oxygen throughout the body.
  • Poppy seeds have been found that awesome anti-oxidant properties due to a lot of antioxidants present in it. Anti-oxidants protect various organs and tissues from free radical attacks.

Poppy Seeds Side Effects:

  • They do not cause any serious side effects when consumed in moderate amounts. But eating high amounts of the seeds can cause serious health hazards.It is made from the same plant used to create opium, a powerful and highly addictive narcotic.  
  • Poppy Seeds increase depression when used with CNS depressants. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use. 
  • Poppy seeds eaten in large quantities can lead to impaired consciousness, lightheadedness, and complications with the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
  • Poppy seeds are best avoided in chronic urinary tract disorders, gastro enteritis, and nephritis.
  • Poppy seeds contain very small levels of opium alkaloids such as morphine, thebaine (paramorphine), codeine etc. Although these compounds produce the little effect when added to and consumed in foods they are known to show up on drug tests for drugs of abuse.
  • At high doses, this herb (Poppy seeds) is dangerous and can cause death through respiratory arrest or inhalation of vomit.Their high morphine contents can even cause death.
  • Intake of high quantities can cause comas.

Be careful if you consumed poppy seed pastry of poppy seed bagel and are traveling to countries where above drug test can be done at the airport. Some countries like Saudi Arabia have banned poppy seed and so should be avoided.


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