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Here’s about tiny little black seeds that are powerhouses of nutrition- Poppy Seeds. These seeds are black in colour and tiny like mustard seeds. Its scientific name is Papaver Somniferum. The cultivation of Poppy Seeds was initially done by ancient Egyptians. The poppy seeds harvesting is done from poppy fruit heads. They are less than a millimeter in length. The Arab civilization which were the trading class in the medieval period, have spread the cultivation across the world in places including Czech Republic, Turkey, Germany, France, India and East European region. These are kidney shaped seeds which are harvested from dried seed pods since times immemorial. These seeds are widely used all around the world especially in Central Europe. It is used as a whole or ground onto fine powder and added to breads pastry as well as used to extract poppy oil from the seeds.
In ancient times, poppy seeds were used as a sedative. It was mixed with milk, opium and honey in order to put crying babies to sleep and to calm them down. Poppy seeds have been used to improve fertility, aid sleeping and wealth in ancient civilizations.
Health Benefits of Poppy Seeds-
- Improves Fertility amongst Women:
Some studies support the view that poppy oil proves beneficial to fallopian tubes. There are chances that due to accumulation of debris or mucus in the fallopian tube, it may cause the tube to get blocked. This debris could be absorbed by the poppy seed oil as a result clearing the path of the tube and enhancing fertility. This technique is called hysterosalpingography. In this technique, poppy seed water is infused in the fallopian tubes thus causing them to be cleared of the blockages.
- Enhancing Sexual Health:
Poppy seeds have also proven to enhance libido amongst human beings. As a result, the sexual health and chances of conceiving increase. This is due to the presence of lignans.
- Enhance Digestion:
They are a source of insoluble fibre. Insoluble Fibres do not get assimilated in our body. They just act as roughage. This roughage then helps in excretion of unwanted materials from our body. A healthy excretory system means a healthy digestive system. Thus, poppy seeds help in improving the digestion of food in our body.
- Cure Sleeplessness:
Consumption of Poppy Seed drink reduces the level of cortisol in our body. This has in turn led to reduction of stress and calming down of the bodily system thus inducing sound sleep. It is also effective in this subject due to the presence of sedative properties of the seed. The fatigue levels seem to have declined in people consuming poppy seed.
Mixing a paste of poppy seeds with a bit of warm milk and consuming before going to sleep is a practice adopted by most persons facing sleep deprivation.
This mixture is known as Poppy Seed Tea.
- A Cure for Mouth Ulcers:
Not much of scientific research and study has been attached to this benefit, but using poppy seeds can be effective for curing mouth ulcers. Poppy Seeds are considered to have a cooling effect. As a result it treats mouth ulcers effectively.
Simply mix some crushed dry coconut, powdered sugar candy, and ground poppy seeds. Shape it into a pellet and suck on this for instant relief from mouth ulcers.
- Boosts Energy:
Poppy Seeds contain high content of complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the quickest source of energy for the body. They are easily broken down and provide instant energy for bodily activities.
- Good for the Health of the Brain:
Various nutrients work together in am efficient functioning of the brain system. These are iron, minerals, calcium, copper, etc. The Poppy seeds have are a storehouse these nutrients thus enhancing the brain health.
- Bone Health:
We are all aware of the importance of calcium for the bones and teeth in our body. Poppy seeds are calcium rich food, and coupled with copper in some amounts which leads to stronger bones. What makes it all the more healthy is that it’s a vegan source of calcium.
Phosphorous along with calcium develop towards development of bone tissues. Bone tissues are tissues that are attached to the bones and aid in the movement of the body. Manganese is also present in poppy seeds. This mineral when coupled with protein leads to the formation of collagen. Collagen prevents the bones from severe damages.
- Regulation of Blood Pressure:
Poppy seeds contain Oleic Acid. Oleic Acid reduces the blood pressure levels and regulates it.
- Improved Immunity:
Apart from individual benefits that are provided by the various nutrients and minerals present in poppy seeds, they all together contribute to boost immunity of our body. An improved immunity would mean that the body’s capacity to fight diseases enhances and thus keeps various common illnesses away from the body. Those with a good immunity do not succumb to problems of common cold, body aches, fever, viral contractions very often.
- Improves Heart Health:
The presence of Dietary Fiber not only does improve the digestion but also leads to a better heart health. It absorbs the cholesterol from our blood. Thus reducing the chances of blockages in arteries and veins. You could thus start using poppy seed oil in your diet.
- Helpful for treatment of Diabetes :
It is least advisable that you consume poppy seeds for diabetes treatment without consulting your doctor. However, presence of manganese as well as the dietary fibres could possibly aid in controlling the levels of sugar in your body.
- Efficient Treament for Kidney stone:
Presence of Potassium could help you deal with your kidney stone problems. But again, it is important that you do not proceed to consume them before taking advice from your consulting doctor.
- Relieves Pain:
Since ancient times, poppy seeds are used as an analgesic to relieve the pain from our body. The opium variety have specially found to have pain relieving effects on consumption.
SKIN BENEFITS of Poppy Seeds:
- FIGHTS ECZEMA AND INFLAMMATION: Eczema is a medical condition in which patches of skin become rough and inflamed with blisters which cause itching and bleeding. Poppy seeds work wonders in treating this condition. This is because poppy seeds contain high levels of linoleic acid. For best results, soak poppy seeds in water or milk. Grind the seeds into a fine paste. Rub it along your skin with a few drops of lemon added to the paste. This paste could also be used to apply on skin burns and to ease skin irritation and itching.
- MOISTURIZER: The aforesaid paste acts as a skin moisturizer. For special effects, combine the seeds with milk and grind it into a fine paste. Honey also gives amazing results when applied to the skin along with this paste. After application, let the paste rest over your skin for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse off using water. Doing this once a week rejuvenates the skin.
- CLEAR,SPOTLESS SKIN: We are all struggling with problems of blemishes, uneven skin tones, tanning due to the urbanization and the rising levels of pollution. No matter the complexion, everyone needs a clear, healthy skin which is void of any marks or acnes. Poppy Seeds could indeed help you achieve the optimal skin health due to its anti -inflammatory qualities. Grind curd and poppy seeds into a paste and rub it on affected areas gently. You will experience the glowing skin for yourself!
- ANTI DANDRUFF TREATMENT: Flaky, dry scalp is a leading cause of dandruff amongst men and women alike. It leads to an itching scalp and stunt hair growth. Applying Poppy Seed paste consisting of hung curd and white pepper powder works as an effective treatment against dandruff. Not only will it wipe the dandruff off, it will prevent the reoccurrence of the problem to your scalp.
- STIMULATES HAIR GROWTH: A healthy, dandruff free scalp naturally will result into a fuller volume and long hair. Try the combination of soaked seeds along with coconut oil and apply for best results.
It is important to be able to choose and differentiate between the right and the wrong types of poppy seeds considering the amount of adulteration that has increased amongst food items. Several varieties are available that vary in color from ivory to beige, light grey to dark grey, black or bluish, depending on the cultivar type. The European variety called Maw is dark grey, the Indian variety is ivory to beige, while the Turkish variety is tobacco brown. Each of the variety has more or less equal benefits. While the external application of poppy seeds is safe, it is advisable that before consuming the seeds in any form, you consult your doctor.
Cultivation of Poppy Seeds:
Poppy plant requires full sunlight and fertile soil in order to flourish. The poppy plant grows upto 5 feet in height. Each globular poppy fruit head (capsule) measure about 4-6 cm in length and 3-4cm in diameter. Poppy seeds are found in grey and white colour along with black colour as well depending upon the cultivar type. They contain negligible quantities of toxic alkaloids of the opium poppy.
Poppy seeds grow best in sandy or loamy black soil with pH 6 or above. It does better in soils that are less acidic. It can also be grown in your garden.
Different Types of Poppy Seeds:
Poppies are of various kinds. The names of various kinds of poppies are as under:
- Field Poppy: They are annual species. It has bright scarlet red flowers.
- Opium Poppy: They are the seeds containing sedative properties.
- Oriental Poppy: They are the most preferred for gardening. They have large blousy flowers which provide an aesthetic pleasure to the gardens.
- Icelandic Poppy: They are also hard to ignore with bright colour flowers and showy blooms.
- Japanese Poppy: They are more lacy, beautifully shaped, intricate and finely cut foliage.
- Blue Himalayan Poppy: this type does not belong to the family of Papaver. Its flowers are blue in colour.
Amongst the various types of Poppy seeds we are particularly going to discuss the Opium Poppy, its health benefits and advantages to the human body.