This one begins with a magnificent picture of a poppy field. A photo that my friend Lee, a passionate and accomplished photographer, recently took in Ticknall, Derbyshire.

Now, poppies are not my favorite flowers (lily-of-the-valley is my girl) but I do love the color red. And the image of a poppy field is always a glorious sight for reasons I just can’t seem to pinpoint. Could be the burst of color, the way the red and green combine or perhaps the sheer summer lightheartedness that poppies ooze.

Anyway…The stunning picture you see above made my fingers itch to produce an article. But I didn’t simply want to wax lyrical about it; I doubt anyone would want to read a bunch of schmaltzy outpourings. So, I started thinking. OK, I said to myself, everyone knows poppy seeds are used to make opium; that’s perhaps the first association we make upon glimpsing this flower. Outside of criminal territory, we can enjoy poppy seeds sprinkled on our bagels or buns and added to different meals. But there has to be more, I thought, and some research proved that to be indeed the case. Poppies, it turns out, are as useful as they are pretty.

Some people will probably know everything or at least a great deal about the use of poppies and their seeds. This text will obviously be worthless to them, but I’m pushing ahead in the hope that others will find something of value or at least mildly intriguing. Next time they see these perky red flowers, they can go: “Ah, so you’re the one that can help insomniacs and ensure regular bowel movement. Well done, little one!”

Don’t expect a comprehensive guide! I’m far too lazy for that, not to mention that I don’t really have the patience to explore the subject in depth. In all probability, you’re also too busy or too impatient to spare more than a few minutes to read this. What follows is basically a compilation of the facts I found to be useful, interesting or just plain weird. Let’s go then.

Poppies for your health

The list of nutrients that poppy seeds have is so long that I couldn’t get through half of it. If such things float your boat, treat yourself by checking the whole three miles of it here. It’s enough for me to know that the compounds found in poppy seeds help lower what we call “bad cholesterol” and control blood pressure.

Their high dietary fiber content also makes poppy seeds a great ally in fighting constipation. It might be a good idea to stock up on some to have at hand when your bowels refuse to cooperate.

Naturally, we can’t ignore the pain-killing properties of the poppy. Its active components include morphine and we all know a hospital inventory can never be complete without it.

Thanks to the minerals, vitamins and fatty acids found in them, poppy seeds are also useful in preventing heart disorders, maintaining bone strength, fighting inflammation, enhancing brain function and aiding red blood cell production. Impressive or what?

And how’s that for weird of sorts: poppy seed oil could be the answer to the prayers of many women struggling to get pregnant. No, I’m not getting into the details of it, you can check them out here. It’s perfectly legit, a university study and all.

Poppies for your beauty

Ladies and appearance-conscious gentlemen, prepare to be wowed by the power of the poppy seed as a beauty aid! Actually, acne-plagued teens might also want to pay attention because these tiny fellas are excellent at fighting skin infections.

In general, poppy seeds seems to be most useful for skin and hair care. Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, they can help with acne, eczema and assorted rashes. They also make a great face scrub and an excellent moisturizer, keeping your skin soft and clear.

Those anti-inflammatory properties I mentioned? They are the ones making poppy seeds a good remedy for dandruff. The little darlings are also effective in stimulating hair growth and getting rid of split ends. But I’m too lazy if you remember, so I’ll just refer you to a place where they’ve taken the trouble to explain how you actually go about deriving these benefits.


garden with poppy
Amazing, right? I want to wallow in that garden and then take the poppies home!


So, business and pleasure combined under that cheery red hood. I mean, adorable to look at and seriously useful to boot. Next time you see poppies, could you please think of something else first instead of “opium”? Thank you!