The nearly ripe dried capsules of the white poppy, Papaver somniferum. Cultivated in Britain.

Fig. 179.   Poppy capsule, half the natural size.

Fig. 179. - Poppy capsule, half the natural size.

Characters. - Globular, two or three inches in diameter, crowned by a sessile stellate stigma, which distinguishes them from colocynth and bael fruits.

Preparations.

B.P.

Dose.

Decoctum Papaveris (2 oz. boiled for ten minutes in 1 1/2 pint of water, strained, and made up to 1 pint)

For fomentations.

Extractum Papaveris ....................................................................

2-5 gr.

Syrupus Papaveris .....................................................................

1 fl. dr.-1/2 fl. oz.

Composition. - The capsules contain a small amount of morphine (more being found when they are unripe than when ripe), together with meconic acid, and very minute quantities of papaverine and papaverosine. The seeds are devoid of these principles, but contain much bland oil.

Action and Uses. - Poppy capsules act in a similar manner to opium, but are much weaker, and not so certain in their action. They are employed in the form of syrup of poppies, and given chiefly to children as an opiate. Considering the uncertainty of its action, and in view of the fact that children are very readily affected by any preparation of opium, the drug should be used with caution. Externally the decoction is used for sedative fomentations to allay pain.