(From the milky juice it produces on being wounded). Lettuce; marillium, eunuchion, is a plant with slender but firm stalks, which yield, as well as the leaves, a milky juice. The flower consists of a number of flat flosculi, set in a small scaly cup, followed by short flat seeds, pointed at both ends, and winged with down. It is also the name of some species of chondrilla.
Lactuca hobtensis. Lactuca sativa Lin. Sp. Pi. 1118. Garden lettuce.
Lactuca marina. (See Fucus.) In general lettuces are very slightly nutritious, refrigerant, and diuretic: they should be eaten raw. They are easily digested, but afford very little nourishment. Their milky juices inspissated resembles opium; but as a medicine they are of no importance, though the seeds triturated with water are mucilaginous, and supposed to be useful in ardor urinae.
Lactuca virosa. Strong scented wild lettuce; lactuca virosa Lin. Sp. Pi. 1119. The upper leaves only of this plant are jagged at the edges In Britain it is indigenous; found in hedges, and by the sides of ditches; flowers in June; smells strongly of opium; and appears to participate in no small degree of its virtues. The narcotic power, noticed by Haller, resides in its milky juice. It is said to quench thirst, to be gently laxative and diaphoretic, powerfully diuretic, not disordering the stomach; but during its operation plentiful dilution is allowed. Out of twenty-four dropsical patients, twenty-three were cured with this medicine, according to the account of Dr. Colin of Vienna. It is given in the form of an extract, made from the expressed juice, and recommended in small doses; though in dropsies of long continuance, from visceral obstructions, it has been administered to the quantity of half an ounce a day. This plant is, however, now neglected even in Vienna; Quarin and Plenciz have either spoken of it with faint praise or rejected it wholly. In this country it seems never to have been fairly tried.