Scientific name – Papaver somniferum

Family – Papaveraceae
Poppy Seeds are the nutty oilseeds obtained from the poppy plant, which is a staple condiment apart from garlic and mustard, found in Indian kitchens.
Known by the vernacular names khuskhus in Hindi, kasakasa in Tamil and Gasagasalu in Telugu, this flowering plant is widely cultivated across South eastern Europe and eastern and southern Asia.


Papaver species are erect, annual, biennial or perennial herbs, with milky white, yellowish or orange fluid. Stem simple bristly or rarely glabrous. Leaves mostly pinnatipartite, pinnatifid, pinnatilobed, basal leaves petioled, cauline ones sessile, margin incised, dentate or serrate rarely entire, bristly or glabrous

Properties –

  1. Guna (qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Rooksha (dryness), Sookshma (minuteness), Vyavayi (spreads to all parts of the body swiftly),
  2. Rasa (taste) – Tikta (bitter), Kashaya (Astringent)
  3. Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion)
  4. Veerya – Ushna (Hot potency)
    Effects on Tridosha
  5. Opium latex is Kaphahara balances KaphaDosha and increases Vata and Pitta Dosha.
  6. Poppy seeds increase KaphaDosha and decrease VataDosha
    अफूकंतद्द्द्रवीभूतमहिफेनमफेनकम्।अफूकंशोधनंग्राहिलेष्मघ्नंवातपित्तलम् ||११४|| ध. नि.
    Chemical composition –
    In a 100 gram amount, poppy seeds provide 525 calories and are a rich source of thiamin, folate, and several essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc (table). Poppy seeds are composed of 6% water, 28% carbohydrates, 42% fat, and 21% protein.

Benefits –

  1. Promotes Female Fertility
    Poppy seeds and their oil is extremely beneficial for boosting female fertility. A blocked fallopian tube doesn’t allow the fertilized egg to attach itself to the uterine wall.
  2. Treats Insomnia
    The abundance of magnesium in the poppy seeds help reduce the levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone and thereby attenuates stress and improves the quality, duration and provides a peaceful sleep.
  3. Improves Cognitive Functioning
    The abundance of iron in poppy seeds makes it a natural blood purifier and increases red blood cell and haemoglobin count in blood.
  4. Boosts Bone Health
    Poppy seeds are incredibly rich in calcium, besides the trace minerals copper and zinc. These are essential in improving bone mineral density, strengthening the bones and connective tissue and preventing them from breaking.
  5. Digestion
    Being an excellent source of fiber, poppy seeds are extremely beneficial in promoting digestion and increases absorption of nutrients from the food.
  6. Enhances Cardiovascular System
    The immense amount of dietary fibres in poppy seeds reduce bad cholesterol levels and keep good cholesterol up. Loaded with iron, it acts as a natural blood purifier and helps in increasing the haemoglobin and red blood cell count of the blood.
  7. Augments Skin and Hair Health
    Poppy seeds being a powerhouse of antioxidants and essential nutrients reduce skin inflammation, scalp infections and promotes overall skin and hair health.
  8. Prevents Ulcers
    The anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of poppy seeds play a pivotal role in treating different types of ulcers like ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcer, canker sores or mouth ulcers, etc.
  9. Regulates Blood Pressure
    The presence of oleic acid in poppy seeds actively helps in normalizing the blood pressure levels and keeps it under check. It is extremely pivotal in both high and low blood pressure conditions.
  10. Immunity
    Thanks to the wealth of antioxidants and bioactive components, Poppy seeds offer several folk remedies for improving the immune system, resisting microbes and shielding the body against various infections.