This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol1", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
These are the dried ripe capsules of the poppy. They owe all their medicinal virtues to the narcotic principles of opium they contain, among which is morphia in variable, but always small proportion. Their seeds, which are white in the white variety of Papaver somnif-erum, and dark in the black variety, are perfectly free from narcotic properties, but yield by expression a bland fluid oil, much used on the continent of Europe, and for which the poppy is largely cultivated in France and Germany. The capsules are used for obtaining the slighter effects of opium, particularly in children. The preparations are the decoction, extract, and syrup.
The Decoction (Decoctum Papaveris, Br.) is made by boiling four ounces of the capsules, deprived of their seeds, in three Imperial pints of water, for ten minutes. It is used as a fomentation, or mixed with emollient cataplasms, in painful tumours and superficial inflammations.
The Syrup (Syrupus Papaveris, Br.) is made by adding sugar to a concentrated decoction, and a little spirit to enable it to keep better. It is considerably used in England to allay cough, quiet restlessness, relieve pain, and produce sleep, in infantile cases. But a syrup made with one of the salts of morphia is much to be preferred, as of a more definite strength. The dose is from half a fluidrachm to a fluidrachm for an infant, and from half a fluidounce to a fluidounce for au adult. The preparation is very little used in the U. States, but is often referred to by British writers on medicine.