POPPY POD TEA: INTRO
Poppy Pod Tea has been used for thousands of years. It was extremely popular until the early 2000’s when poppy pods became more difficult to find and people switched to other forms of tea. Poppy seed tea is an example of an alternative for poppy pod tea, which is why it has become more popular lately. Both forms of the tea are still used as today. Poppy tea is occasionally used as part of a home method for ‘detoxing’ off of other opiate / heroin addictions.
POPPY POD TEA USES
Poppy tea can be used for insomnia, cough suppression, pain, and recreationally as an intoxicant or a mild relaxant. The flavor straight poppy tea can be extremely bitter and strong and many people find the taste completely gross. This is why many people add juices or other flavoring agents to their tea. Nausea can be a possible negative side effect.
POPPY POD ACTIVE INGREDIENTS
The opium poppy plants (Papaver somniferum) contain a number of opiates, including morphine, codeine, papaverine, and thebaine. A majority of the opiate alkaloids in poppy pods are morphine.
Dried poppy plant heads are sold all over the world. This is despite several drug laws prohibiting the sale of this part of the plant. In the United States & Canada, the dried pods are commonly sold for floral arrangements, in art pieces, and in craft stores. The plants are also commonly grown around the United States as ornamental flowers. Over the past 10 years, the DEA has started cracking down on flower vendors selling the pods. Before this crackdown, many stores would often sell 10-20 dried poppy pods for $1/each.
The Opium poppy pods can vary in size. Some are small and marble sized, and others can grow to be larger than a golf ball. The size usually falls between 2 cm to 10 cm in diameter. The average is about the size of a walnut. Although the botanical names are sometimes mixed and confused, names of opium-containing poppies include: Papaver somniferum, Papaver setigerum, Papaver giganthemum and Papaver paeoniflorum. Some of these may actually simply be other names for sub-varieties of Papaver somniferum. Papaver giganthemums can have heads that are, well, gigantic.
NOTE: Potency of poppy pods varies dramatically from one variety to another, and from one crop to the next. Although experienced poppy drinkers learn to titrate their dose as they drink the tea, it takes time to get to know the material you’re working with. Start low, work up.
Choosing a dose is difficult the first time out. When working with a new batch, starting with 1-3 medium sized pods per person is probably right. Regular opiate users and those with high tolerance often use 5-15 poppy pods. However, at the higher end of dosages, those who are not tolerated to the effects are likely to experience significant, unpleasant nausea and could overdose themselves. Opium is not nice to OD on and it is certainly possible to die if enough is taken.
The first step is to remove the poppy heads from the stems and set them aside. Dried poppies often have a hole drilled through their heads through which the seeds have been removed. If the pods still contain seeds, crack them open and pour the seeds out. Ornamental dried poppy pods can sometimes be shellacked or coated — treated pods should be avoided. Average, totally dry and de-seeded poppy pods weigh around 1-2 grams. De-seeded giganthemum pods weigh between 2 and 4 grams, with the largest weighing over 5 grams.
The second step is to crush or chop the pods thoroughly. This can be done with a hammer, a heavy butcher’s knife, or a coffee/spice grinder. Many people prefer to turn the material into a fine powder, which can aid extraction, but this is not entirely necessary.
The third step is to boil the poppy mash briefly in a cup of water for every 3-5 pods used, depending on their size. The tea should not be left to boil, which can lead to more sludge and could reduce potency. Let stand to cool until drinkable.
The last step is to pour the tea through a wire mesh strainer or other filter. Stirring and pressing the mash may be necessary to get most of the liquid out. Fine particles will pass through the filter and you will have some particulate matter and globs in the bottom of the cup, these are generally swallowed with the tea. An alternate straining method is to use a french press, which is designed for coffee making, but can be used for any tea prepartion.
The taste is bitter and often considered foul. Many people mix other flavored teas into their poppy teas, such as licorice or other strong spicy flavor. A second steeping of the same crushed poppy mash can be done and the second extraction will be weaker, but still have some effect. Using less water for the second steep works well.
The stems can also be used in this process, but they are less potent than the heads. Many poppy tea drinkers don’t separate the heads and just use the whole stem and head together for their tea making. If you have access to leaves, sometimes these are used, but are not as well liked as the heads.
A NOTE ABOUT ADDICTION
Although this post doesn’t cover the topic in detail, I’m including this note about possible addiction to poppy pod tea (or any poppy tea). The effects of poppy pod tea aren’t as addictive-as smoked, snorted, or injected opiates. It is certainly possible to become addicted to the use of opium poppy tea. Just like any other opiate, it is a psychoactive drug containing several alkaloids that can lead to addiction. If you take any opiates for several days in a row, your body develops a tolerance to opiates, and when you stop taking them, your body can take several weeks . This adjustment can be hard and often leads people becoming fairly sick, especially if they have a large tolerance. Often individuals take more of the opiates in order to get rid of the sickness. There are several published reports of people who have attained severe opiate addictions after using only poppy pod tea. The emotional side of the addiction can be even worse than the physical addiction. Please use caution when considering the use of any opiates, including poppy pod tea.
Learn how to make poppy pod tea.
Discover whether poppy tea is a homebrewed high.
Learn about other types of herbal tea.