Health Benefits & Medicinal Uses of Poppy Seeds

Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the poppy plant that is widely used as a traditional herb in various countries. 

Poppy seeds are used as an effective ingredient in many dishes. It is also an effective herbal medicine used to treat several diseases due to its powerful medicinal properties. 

Poppy seeds have been used as sedatives since ancient times. The mixture of poppy seeds and honey or milk can be given to the babies to calm their stomach, stimulate sleeping and it enhances fertility for women. 

The poppy seeds contain rich amounts of vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus and iron that help to improve bone health. Poppy seeds provide there are lots of health benefits.

About Poppy Seeds

Poppy seed is obtained from the poppy plant that is an annual flowering plant native to western Asia, southeastern Europe, and widely cultivated in Asia, Europe, China, and North America. 

The botanical name of poppy seed is Papaver somniferum that belongs to the Papaveraceae family. The poppy is a small shrub that grows up to 4.5 feet in height, and it grows in stream banks, fields, railroads, etc. 

It prefers rich and well-drained soils, and it withstands moderate acidic and alkaline soils. The poppy plant contains alternative leaves that are oblong and 7–25 cm in length. 

The veins of leaves are distinct, the upper leaves are amplexical and sessile, but the lower leaves are short petiolate. The flowers of poppy plants are large, attractive, 5–12 cm across, and pinkish or reddish, white, and rarely light violet in color. 

The fruit of this plant is an unique capsule that is 4-6 cm in length and 3-4 cm in diameter. It is oblong in shape and contains small holes in the top. 

The fruit is green in color in the beginning and turns into brown when it ripens. It contains many small, edible seeds that are kidney-shaped and black or deep gray in color. 

Approximately the number of seeds ranges from 10,000 to 60,000. The seeds of this plant are used in many dishes, and it can also be used to produce healthy edible oils.

Common Names of Poppy Seeds (Kasakasa):

Botanical Name: Papaver Somniferum
English Name: Poppy Seeds
Tamil Name: Kasakasa
Malayalam Name: Karappu
Telugu Name: Gasagasalu 
Kannada Name: Afim
Hindi Name: Aphim, Khuskhus
Marathi Name: Khuskhus, Posta
Bengali Name: Pasto 

Types of Poppy Seeds

There are three types of poppy seeds available such as blue poppy seeds, white poppy seeds, and oriental poppy seeds.

Blue Poppy Seeds: Blue poppy seeds are also known as European poppy seeds that can be mostly found on breads and other candies.

White Poppy Seeds: White poppy seeds are also known as Indian poppy seeds that are used in many dishes.

Oriental Poppy Seeds: Oriental poppy seeds are also known as Opium poppy that helps to produce opium and used in many commercial applications.

Health Benefits & Medicinal Uses of Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds contain various health benefits due to its powerful medicinal properties. The most important benefit of a poppy seed is that it prevents heart diseases. 

It contains rich sources of vitamins and minerals that help to strengthen your bones and decrease the symptoms of many diseases.

Prevents Cancer

According to research, the genes of opium seeds can be used in cancer medicine because that has the capability to fight against the cancer cells. 

The name of the medicine is noscapine that helps to prevent tumors and shrink the cells of breast and prostate. It also prevents the spreading of cancer cells. 

Many studies found that the poppy seeds improve the function of carcinogen-detoxifying enzyme called glutathione-S-transferase by 78%. 

According to the study, this action of poppy seeds helps to effective cancer treatment. The extracted poppy plant helps to cure the ulcers of cancer.

Promotes Female Fertility

The poppy seeds and their oil are an effective remedy to improve female fertility. The blocked fallopian tube doesn’t allow the fertilized egg in the uterine wall. 

The studies found that the poppy seeds oil helps to cleanse the fallopian tube by dissolving mucus or dust particles, clears the blockage and improves fertility. 

Many studies found that there are lots of women who use poppy seeds to improve their fertility and succeed. Poppy seeds also help to improve sexuality. 

Poppy seeds contain lignin that has an aphrodisiac effect that helps to increase libido and improves your sexual health.

Prevents Heart diseases

Poppy seeds contain rich sources of dietary fiber that helps to improve your heart health by decreasing the bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol. 

The poppy seed oil helps to reduce the cholesterol amount in food items so it can be widely used in the high-cholesterol foods. By adding the oil of poppy seed in your diet, you can improve the health of your cardiovascular system and prevent heart diseases. 

It also contains numerous amounts of iron that purifies your blood and helps to increase hemoglobin and the count of red blood cells in the blood. 

Poppy seeds contain omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids that help to improve the health of your heart and prevent diseases and blockages. Oleic acid present in poppy seeds helps to decrease the level of blood pressure.

Treats Sleeplessness

The numerous amounts of magnesium present in poppy seeds helps to decrease the cortisol level. It reduces stress and promotes duration, peace, and quality of sleep because that is the stress hormone. 

Drinking poppy water or consuming poppy seeds with milk helps to regulate metabolism in your body and stimulates sleep by preventing stress and other diseases. 

You can also drink poppy seeds tea before going to sleep. The opium poppy is more beneficial in stimulating sleep compared to others.

Strengthens Bones

Poppy seeds contain rich sources of essential minerals for bone health, such as copper and calcium, that helps to strengthen your bones and the connective tissues of your bone. 

It helps to increase the mineral density of your bones and prevents fractures. Another rich source present in the poppy seed is phosphorus that combines with calcium to make the bone tissue stronger. 

The manganese is one the minerals in poppy that helps to produce collagen in bones that manage the overall health of your bone and prevent severe fractures.

Treats Diabetes

Due to the numerous amounts of dietary fiber, poppy seeds are the perfect addition for the diabetes food. The manganese presents in poppy seeds helps to treat diabetes. It effectively helps to control the level of sugar in the blood.

Treats Digestion

Poppy seeds contain a bulk amount of dietary fiber that helps to improve your digestion system and increases the absorption of nutrients in food. 

It also helps to increase the loose stools and treats constipation or diarrhea. It regulates your bowel movements by improving peristaltic motion and relieves inflammation. Thus, it improves the normal functions of your gut.

Boosts Brain Health

Poppy seeds contain important minerals such as iron, calcium, and copper that helps to regulate neurotransmitters and improves the functions of your brain. 

The proper supply of red blood cells and oxygen helps to promote brain health and decreases the risk of cognitive-related diseases. The bulk amount of iron present in the poppy seeds purifies your blood and increases the count of red blood cells and hemoglobin. 

Thus, poppy seeds are one of the effective natural herbs to improve brain health and cognitive functioning.

Treats Kidney Stones

Poppy seeds contain rich amounts of potassium that is the one effective mineral that helps to fight against kidney stones. 

According to research, people who have hyperoxaluria should limit the amount of poppy seeds in your food because poppy seeds contain a high level of oxalic acid.

Improves Immune

The zinc is one of the minerals present in poppy seeds that plays a major role in improving your immune system. 

It also helps to improve the production of immune cells in your body that helps to fight against various disorders and makes your body strong. Zinc also helps to treat many respiratory diseases.

Treat Mouth Ulcers

According to research, it is found that poppy seeds are able to treat mouth ulcers. Poppy seeds provide cooling effect to your body that plays a main role in treating mouth ulcers. 

Take a mixture of poppy seeds, crushed dry coconut, and sugar candy powder that helps to provide great relief from mouth ulcers.

Promotes Thyroid Function

Zinc is the most effective mineral that helps to improve the functions of the thyroid. Thus, poppy seeds play a major role in thyroid functioning due to the rich sources of zinc. 

Moreover, iodinated poppy seeds can be widely used in many countries to treat diseases that occur due to the iodine deficiency and thyroid dysfunction.

Treats Eczema and Inflammation

Poppy seeds contain a high level of linolenic acid that is an effective remedy to treat eczema. Poppy seeds are an effective painkiller, so that it provides great relief from pain that occurs due to skin inflammation. 

Soak the poppy seeds in water or milk and grind it after soaked along with lime juice to make a soft paste. Apply this paste on the inflamed area that cures burns and skin itchiness.

Improves Vision Health

According to age, the power of vision may decrease naturally, but we can delay this process by consuming healthy nutrients rich foods. 

Antioxidants are the effective remedy to protect your eyes and improve the vision of your eyes. Zinc is present abundantly in poppy seeds that decreases the risk of macular degeneration and improves your vision.

Analgesic action

The poppy seeds have been used as an analgesic or painkiller since ancient times that helps to decrease pain. Drinking poppy tea provides powerful analgesic action to provide great relief from pain. It also helps to relieve headaches.

Improves Psychological Health

Consuming nutrient-rich foods help to promote your psychological health. Poppy seeds contain numerous vitamins and nutrients, such as iron, calcium, and copper. 

The regular consumption of poppy seeds helps to improve concentration and cognition by regulating neurotransmitters. It also helps to delay the diseases associated with age, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Benefits of Poppy Seeds for Skin & Hair

Poppy seeds contain powerful antioxidants and other effective nutrients that help to improve the health of your skin. The poppy seeds help to cleanse your skin and make glow. 

It also treats inflammation on the skin and moisturizes your skin. Moreover, the unsaturated fatty acids present in poppy seeds help to decrease inflammation on the scalp, prevent hair fall, promote hair growth, treat dandruff and make your hair healthy.

Moisturize your Skin

The paste of poppy seeds works as an excellent moisturizer that makes your skin smooth and soft. 

Make a paste by grinding poppy seeds with some milk, and also, you can add some honey if you have dry skin. Wash it after 10 minutes and repeat this once in a week to get a moist skin.

Provides Clear Skin

Scrubbing poppy seeds help to clean your skin and make your skin blemish-free and clean. Make a face scrubber using the mixture of poppy seeds and curd. 

Apply this scrub on your face and neck and massage well in a circular motion for 10 minutes. Wash and wipe it using a cotton cloth. This makes your skin clean and glow.

Promote Hair Growth

Poppy seeds help to improve the growth of your hair. Prepare a hair pack by mixing soaked poppy seeds with onion pulps and extracted coconut milk. 

Apply this mixture on your scalp and rinse your hair with a gentle shampoo after an hour. Regular use of this pack promotes your hair growth. It also helps to cure split ends.

Treats Dandruff

Dandruff is one of the common problem faced by many people that may causes hair fall. Prepare a mixture with soaked poppy seeds, white pepper, and curd and apply this mixture on your scalp. 

After half an hour, wash your hair. Regular use of this method helps to reduce dandruff.

Nutritional Values of Poppy Seeds (Kasakasa)

The various nutritional contents and their values in 100 grams of Poppy Seeds.

Total Fat41.56 g
Carbohydrates49 g
Protein17.99 g
Sodium26 mg
Potassium719 mg
Calcium1438 mg
Iron9.76 mg
Magnesium347 mg
Manganese6.707 mg
Vitamin C1 mg
Vitamin E1.77 mg
Vitamin K0 mg
Niacin0.896 mg
Total Fat41.56 g
Dietary Fiber19.5 g
Folates82 µg
Phosphorus870 mg
Thiamin0.854 mg
Riboflavin0.100 mg
Pyridoxine0.247 mg
Zinc7.9 mg

Culinary Uses of Poppy Seeds

  • Poppy seeds can be widely used in many dishes in various countries.
  • The seeds may be used as the main ingredient or flavoring agent on breads, candies.
  • The extracted oil of poppy seeds can be used in cooking.
  • The poppy seeds are mainly used in various food items such as cakes, bialys, muffins, bagels, and pretzels.
  • Poppy seeds can be used as whole or roasted, soaked forms, and they can be a grind to add other dishes.
  • It can be dried in butter to add in pasta or noodles.
  • In some places of Asia, the oil extracted from poppy seeds is used to make sweets.
  • The poppy seeds can be cooked with coconut and jaggery in the form of flaky pastry and deep-fried to make a sweet called karanji.
  • The rural areas in Southeast Asia use the leaves of poppy seeds as vegetables.
  • Poppy seeds can also be used in bread, cake, and fruit salads.
  • The ground and dry roasted poppy seeds are used in dry curry or wet curry in chutneys.
  • The poppy seeds can be added with vegetables in sauces and salads.

Traditional Uses of Poppy Seeds

  • Poppy seeds are an effective herbal medicine that helps to treat various diseases.
  • It contains a wide range of alkaloids that have been used as an effective remedy to relieve pain.
  • The rich amounts of nutrients present in poppy seeds help to treat many diseases effectively.
  • It provides effective treatment for various nervous disorders.
  • Poppy seeds can be considered as analgesic, antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant, aphrodisiac, bacterial, calmative, hypnotic, anodyne, demulcent, nervine, hypotensive, diaphoretic, narcotic, emollient and sedative.
  • Poppy seeds contain high amounts of dietary fiber that helps to regulate your bowel system and treats constipation.
  • It acts as a natural blood purifier and removes unwanted toxins from your body.
  • It stimulates the production of insulin that controls the level of blood sugar.
  • Poppy seeds are an effective pain killer, and it decreases the inflammations, skin irritations, itchiness, rashes, etc.
  • It improves urination and dissolves kidney stones.
  • It is an effective remedy for breast cancer and prevents the formation of cancer cells.
  • It decreases bad cholesterol in your body and improves the health of your heart.
  • It stimulates hair growth, treats dandruff, and prevents hair fall.
  • Poppy seeds have been used as an effective remedy in many folk medicines and Ayurvedic medicines since ancient times.
  • The fruit of poppy is used to treat fever, anemia, dysentery, and chest pain in Unani medicines.
  • It contains effective cooling action that calms your mind and relieves stress, tension, and other mental disorders.
  • Poppy seeds also help to treat various skin diseases, cleanses your skin, and makes your skin glow.

Side Effects of Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds are considered as safe if taken by mouth with the proper dosage. The overdosage or prolonged usage of poppy seeds may cause some side effects because it has large amounts of alkaloids like morphine that may affect. 

Consuming a large amount of poppy seeds may block your bowel system. Thus, it is better to consume under the supervision of a doctor or health provisioner. 

Pregnancy & Lactation

Poppy seeds are considered as safe for pregnant and lactating mothers if taken in the proper dosage. The overdose of poppy seeds should be avoided during this period.

Allergy Reactions

For some people, consuming poppy seeds can cause some allergic reactions such as vomiting, difficulty in breathing, skin rashes, hives, and skin swelling. People who face allergies when eating other foods such as sesame, hazelnut, kiwi, rye grain should also have an allergic reaction while eating poppy seeds.


Poppy seeds are filled with many rich nutrients that help to treat various health conditions due to their effective medicinal values. Due to the distinct and excellent aromatic flavor, it can be used in many culinary applications whole over the world. The carbohydrates, dietary fiber present in poppy seeds help to treat kidney stones, and prevent heart diseases and lung disorders. It is an effective painkiller that helps to relieve pains and inflammations. It is also used to treat various skin diseases such as skin irritation, rashes, and makes your skin glow.

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