|Botanical Nomenclature||Lactuca serriola|
|Common Name||Compass Plant, Milk Thistle, Prickly Lettuce, Scarole|
|Taxonomy- Family||Compositae or Asteraceae|
|Distinguishing Features of the Plant||Lactuca serriola is an annual or biennial, herbaceous plant growing from 60 to 120cm, with alternate, smooth, wide, green-yellow leaves and yellow, numerous flowers in inflorescences. The flowering and the harvesting take place from July to September.|
|Region Found||Ioannina (Smolikas, Gramos, Pindos, Vikos-Aoos)|
|Part of the Plant with Active Substances||Aboveground plant parts|
|Active Substances||The milky sap or latex, the plant contains, consists of sesquiterpene lactones (lactucopicrin, lactucorine, b-lactucorole), flavonoids (7-monoglucosides of luteolin and apigenin), cichorin (coumarin), mannitol, b-amyrin, isopulegol, alkaloids, triterpenes, iron, vitamin A, B1, B2, C. The milky latex has the same properties with opium and in Greece is commonly known as 'lettuce opium'. When the plant is in full bloom, the most active substance of lactucopicrin, achieves the maximum concentration.|
|Pharmacological Effects - Therapeutic Applications||The whole plant is administered as antispasmodic, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative. It is recommended for the treatment of insomnia, dry cough, rheumatism, gonorrhea, eye diseases and chronic wounds. The plant has also soothing, tranquilizing and slight narcotic properties and it is used to control child hyperactivity. In homeopathy it is recommended against runny nose, cough, disorders of liver and urinary tract.|
|Method of Administration||The plant is administered as anxiolytic and sedative in the form of infusion (0,5-4g of dried herb in a cup of boiling water, 3 times a day). In homeopathy, it is recommended in the form of tincture (1: 1.25 parts of dried herb and ethanol, 0,5-4mL, 3 times a day). Often, the plant is one of the ingredients in herbal cough syrups.
Warning: The use of herb preparations is not recommended without seeking advice from your physician or pharmacist. The substances they contain may interact with the subscribed drugs that the patient already takes, thus eliminating their therapeutic efficacy or inducing toxicity. They may also burden further weakened vital functions of the body thus exposing the patient to increased morbidity and life threatened conditions.
|Toxicity- Adverse Effects||Overdose may cause nervousness, while in larger doses may cause cardiac paralysis and death. Drowsiness may be observed even in therapeutic doses.|
|References||1)Βιβλίο: Οδηγός των φαρμακευτικών φυτών, Paul Schauenberg, Ferdinand Paris, Εκδότης Μ. Γκιούρδας, Αθήνα 1981, σελίδες 227 2)http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786410802267650 3)Katarina ?avikin, Gordana Zduni?, Teodora Jankovi?, Tatjana Stanojkovi?, Zorica Jurani? & Neboj?a Menkovi? (2009): In vitro cytotoxic and antioxidative activity of Cornus mas and Cotinus coggygria , Natural Product Research: Formerly Natural Product 4)http://montana.plant-life.org/species/lactuca_serrio.htm 5)http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/l/lactuca-serriola=prickly-lettuce.php|