experiences with Wild Lettuce? - an effective home made pain killer

Marjory Wildcraft
Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,584 admin
edited October 2020 in Herbal Medicine-Making

Wow, I've been making some batches of Wild Lettuce tincture - Lactuca virosa and Lactuca serriola varities. It grows all over the place in this Colorado town (in alleyways, fields, yards, ditches...). And it is reported to grow everywhere.

Yup a weed!

I've been focusing on this pain killer as it is fairly strong, yet not addictive like opioids. And it's legal 🤤

The other night I came back from Karate training - sore and grumpy. Some of my toes were purple from being badly sprained. My arms and shoulders were hurting from computer work. And my back sore from some intense Kundalini exercises I was doing...

Just overall sore and tiredness.

I took a dropperful of my home wild lettuce and noticed within minutes I felt much better. Pain and soreness subsided measurably. Then, being the over achiever I am - I took another dropperful LOL. Yup, I was definitely feelin' good.

Have you had a chance to make this medicine and use it?

Would love to hear of your experiences. Down below are some photos of the plant.

this milky sap has the good stuff in it! And yes, it will definitely remind you of 'hearts of romaine'

THese spines on the back of the main vein of the leaf are the biggest ID characteristic of this plant.



  • brekkebounds758
    brekkebounds758 Posts: 1 ✭✭✭

    I've been calling this "spiky lettuce" at my home and various gardens I help with. Did not know that it could be used for pain relief! I'll have to look into it further. How are you making it to take?

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,584 admin

    Hi @brekkebounds758

    I am making a tincture from the fresh leaves and stalks ( the stalks have more of the white latex sap). Sincet eh leaves are fresh, I am using 180 proof (90%) alcohol... And please don't send me hate mail!!! I used Everclear (made from GMO corn, I know, I know). It's the only thing I had availalbe...

    WIth fresh leaves you have to use a high alcohol content to compensate for the leaves containing a lot of water (otherwise the thing gets moldy).

    Like most tincutres, stuf the jar full of the chopped up plant matter. Fill with alcohol. And the nice thing about this is... it only takes a day or two for the alcohol to completely dissolve the latex. I then doe a screening (keeping the alcohol mixture and discarding the plant roughage) and I stuff the jar full of a new set of stems and leaves. It makes for a stronger batch.

    I actually did that 3X for a super strong batch. SInce the alcohol dissolves it so quickly you can have a jar full ready in less than a week.

    Be careful though - the stuff tastes awful!!! LOL

    Also, with any new medicine, go slowly in small steps to find out how your body reacts - starft wqith a bit on the skin, then maybe a drop in the mouth, etc.

    In the northern hemispheres right now is the time to harvest and process. Ideally when it is flowering.

    I would love to her about your experiences with it.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Marjory Wildcraft - Thank you for the clear "spiked & milky" pictures. - That plant looks like it is as tall as you? There are several somethings or other Volunteer-growing around here too, over 5 feet tall. - So how tall are those you found ?

    One of them here is for sure some dandelion as it makes miniature Dandelion flowers, & white puff-balls that cast a million seeds all over the veggie-garden, sigh - But that is yet somehow different than the "spiked & milky" plant I posted about in the "poisonous plant" thread introduced a month ago, where in post#4 reported getting bloody urine from it.

    Today tried to clear my confusion by asking pubmed which says : Wild lettuce (fig 1), which is known as 'Laitue vireuse' in French, 'Wilder lattich' in German. and 'Allubbyne' in Arabic, is also known as “opium lettuce”. Its scientific name is Lactuca virosa; in Latin, lactuca means 'milky extract' and virosa means 'toxic'. 2 A biennial herb, wild lettuce grows on the banks of rivers and on waste grounds to a maximum height of 6 feet, flowering in July and August.1 ...

    Boy, that sure sounds alot like some weed around here. And to think there is a Wild lettuce with opium in it? Am ignorant of all that.

    re homemade painkillers: for someone who has steadfastly refused pharmaceuticals, but for years from an intentional Misaligned fracture is forced to endure continuous severe pain, what herbs can Stop that ?

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    @Marjory Wildcraft Thanks for sharing that as well as identifying it. Pretty sure there is a lot growing on my property so totally going to try it. I will post how it goes lol.

  • howell.susand
    howell.susand Posts: 2

    Thanks Marjory! I am going to research this and try it for fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis pain. -Susan

  • SandraR
    SandraR Posts: 9 ✭✭✭

    I bought a bottle Wild Lettuce Extract by Sunflower Botanicals on Amazon. I had to put the extract in a capsule to take it. Lol

    It did help my arthritis.

  • SandraR
    SandraR Posts: 9 ✭✭✭

    I will make my own next time.

  • patty.phaneuf
    patty.phaneuf Posts: 1 ✭✭✭

    Marjorie-What is the best option for a medicine like this if you can't take a tincture due to alcohol content? I recently saw vinegar used to make certain medicines. In your experience does this work as well?

  • SherryA
    SherryA Posts: 314 ✭✭✭

    I've made this the last two summers from wild lettuce growing in the back yard. I pretty much did exactly what you describe here, but I added more plant material 4-5 times. That's some strong tincture! I didn't realize the pain killing elements would extract so quickly in the alcohol (I also used Everclear). I think my new batch must be ready!

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    I never thought to make an extract with it and had boatloads of it growing in my yard last spring. I would nibble on the outside of the leaves to ease back pain from the tops of the plants. You are right about it not tasting very great, strong and bitter! My chickens love it when it’s young. I had some that was well over 6 foot tall. I will be sure to make tinctures next time. I had so much I ended up pulling it and pitched it in the compost bin. Now I know better

  • Melissa Swartz
    Melissa Swartz Posts: 270 ✭✭✭

    It's great to know about the tinctures! Previously everything I had read said the extract the sap from the stem to get the painkiller I tried it but could get very little sap. It's nice to learn that tinctures are an option!

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    I have found some seed companies that have wild lettuce has any one tried purposely raising this plant? I have found it growing wild here but not in enough quantities to process and I am very interested.

  • WendySue
    WendySue Posts: 28 ✭✭✭

    Beautiful! I have been looking all over for this....I'm sure I have seen it, but? I even had to buy a few seeds online (organic, non-gmo), but they were way over-priced.

    I really want to start growing this but it says I have to wait until Spring?

    @Marjory Wildcraft , I love your 3-batch method and I can't wait to try it. Got enough to sell us some seeds????


  • Alison
    Alison Posts: 179 ✭✭✭

    Fantastic. Thanks for the exceptional pictures and description on how you do it.

    I anticipate there is a wild lettuce in Australia I can harvest. Not seen any in my yard. I generally use an organic vodka for my tinctures. I don't think they are that high in alcohol though. If the tincture was kept in the fridge to stop the mold would that be suitable?

  • DENISE Albertson
    DENISE Albertson Posts: 1 ✭✭✭


    Here is a link for a company that sells wild lettuce seed. They also sell dried lettuce? what would you use this for? The article mentions multiple uses. Nothing about the dried plant. Do you think the dried plant have any value?


  • Sandy Forest
    Sandy Forest Posts: 2

    Yes! This winter my husband had a terrible toothache. This inspired him to order your Alternatives to Dentists course. The Eq. hymale starts you sent us are slowly growing and will be very tenderly wintered in our new geodesic greenhouse. The treatment in the course was helpful, and when he got his next toothache a few weeks ago, my husband, who generally resists my lotions and potions reacted with unusual interest in the wild lettuce I brought in from the garden. For some reason our hens really like the flower buds (all spiny leaves removed) as a snack, so I scatter seeds around the garden and had plenty of the herb to pull and offer to him. We understand we do not have the most potent version of the herb, so are curious about the seed you mentioned. I often order seed from Strictly Medicinals, which offers organic seed for about twice the price per seed https://strictlymedicinalseeds.com/product/lettuce-wild-lactuca-virosa-packet-of-50-seeds-organic/ Their listing includes a shot of the lactuca virosa blossom, confirming it is indeed different from the verison that is growing with wild success in my garden. We made numerous batches of tea and have dried a good supply of it for any future pain emergencies. I remember hearing on that famous infomercial that it will be effective dried. Alcohol and glycerin have not worked for me in the past, and recently I had a reaction to "Extra Virgin Olive Oil" that led me to believe it had been blended with some other oil, which is not a regulated tactic. I am ordering an authentic Sicilian small farm pressing that costs more than the grocery store grade, but has never given me any problems, and works therapeutically: https://nuts.com/cookingbaking/oil-and-vinegar/extra-virgin-olive-oil.html I may experiment with other oils to make an oil infusion, but for now a husband who will take and praise an herbal tea I make is major progress! Thanks!

    RICHARD Posts: 22 ✭✭✭

    I haven't heard of this "painkiller" before. But, as there is a small river nearby, I'll be looking for it tomorrow, er, hmm. actually later today. If I find any, I will let you know. I've made dandelion tinctures in the past, using 80 proof vodka. But only one batch of green material or root. I can see where multiple additions of greenery would require a higher alcohol percentage.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,584 admin

    Hi Sandy, Wow, congrats on getting a husband interested :- that's major! You know I love Rico CHek's seeds. Yes,t they are a bit pricey... but he is doing such great work it is worth supporting him.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,358 admin

    News to me. I just recently learned about wild lettuce. I will have to look at my book to see if it is supposed to grow in my area, then hopefully go looking.

    I recently learned that bear grease will heal pain. Now, if you tinctures the wild lettuce & could mix it with bear grease, I wonder if that would make it even better?

    I will be following this thread.

  • Karyn Pennington
    Karyn Pennington Posts: 71 ✭✭✭

    Oh my word! Just this past weekend, I pulled some of this from my newly established butterfly garden. I had planted a lot of things and wasn't sure what was and wasn't a weed or flower. I determined this was a weed because I found the same thing on the side of my house where I didn't plant anything new. I just googled an image of it because I wanted to see the seed heads and that confirms that's what I have. (I will also check for the spiny back when I get home.) Could I still use the leaves if they've been laying next to the compost pile for a few days? I know I still have the one on the side of the house and possibly 1-2 more in the butterfly garden that aren't as tall. I just knew I'd better pull it before it seeded. Now that I know what it is I can use it.

    Thanks for the timely post.

    BTW, has anyone tinctured with moonshine? Especially, if it's already flavored? I happen to have some (don't ask -- LOL), and have no desire to "drink" it, but would love to improve the flavor of a tincture. It's grape flavored.

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @Marjory Wildcraft I stock this in my dispensary. It's an invaluable aid for insomnia / pain relief. I combine it with skullcap and hops for people who are unable to get to sleep due to grief, or with valerian and passionflower for people who are unable to switch off a busy mind. The leaves combined with chamomile flowers would make a mild calming tea for anxiety and stress. It can also be combined with California poppy for toothache and muscular pain. Being a nervine I've also found it helps relieve the twitching of restless leg syndrome in some (but not all) individuals. You do need to be careful with the dosage however as it is a hypnotic (think Peter Rabbit.....) As the label states, this extract is made using 45% alcohol and is 1 part plant to 3 parts menstruum.

  • I love bitter tasting stuff. So, it's funny to me that people think this stuff tastes awful. I think it's delicious! It's also works great for me. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with thoughts racing through my head. A dropper and a half full of a triple extraction of this stuff slows my thoughts and relaxes me enough to get back to sleep. It doesn't seem to have any kind of lingering side effects that some other sleep aids have. It also doesn't make me have crazy dreams like some other herbal remedies I've tried.

  • Heather
    Heather Posts: 6 ✭✭✭

    I think I learned about the pain killing properties of wild lettuce from a grow network speaker spring of 2018. Anyway... I've had a lot of dental work done over the last couple of years and have had good success with diminishing discomfort with wild lettuce. I don't mind the bitter taste so just grab a leaf or two along with a couple of leafs of plantain and munch away. I'm very excited to learn that I can make a tincture with it and am thankful to know I will need to use a higher proof alcohol.

    I learned This summer than one can also make medicines with vinegar or as a honey infusion. I don't have much experience at all yet with any of these methods but am looking forward to doing more and more of that. I'll definitely be trying all three methods with wild lettuce and will get back to y'all in a few weeks. Blessings to you all!


  • Heather
    Heather Posts: 6 ✭✭✭

    PS: my herbalist recommended putting tinctures in a bit of water and then swallowing for better absorption, especially if one has used grain alcohol. Anyone have any thoughts on that?

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,584 admin

    Hi @rainbow

    Regarding the height, I am kneeling down by the plant in that photo. Most of the plants I see around here - and they are everywhere! are 3 to 5 feet tall.,

    Note that wild lettuce is NOT an opioid... I specifically have been looking for a pain killer that is easy to make, legal, effective, and that has no addictive qualities.

    Wild lettuce is quite good IMHO.

    I have (accidently) made opioid pain killers that were very effective. The info is all over the net, and you can even buy the critical ingredients - the poppy dried ovaries - from craft stores or Amazon. Yup, the big decorative dried ovaries sold for flower arrangements. The dried ovaries have quite a bit of the opioids in them - you simply tincture them and get a very effective pain killer. But making the medicine is illegal pretty much across the entire planet. And I'm not into attracting any kind of trouble like that. I don't think it likely anyone would get addicted to the tincture versions as while they are effective, they aren't the pharmaceutical grade stuff. But I just don't want to tread in that direction.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,584 admin

    Oh wow, what a story! I once sacraficed an apple tree in the far area of my orchard to the doe who gave birth there. sigh. It was only a young tree. I figured shee needed the space more than I did.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,584 admin

    Hi @Karyn Pennington if you've got it growing on the side of your house I bet it is all over the place. Ah... I wouldn't use the ones that are a few days old.

    I know, isn't it totally fun to realize that there is powerful medicine growing - right there 👇 LOL

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,584 admin

    Hi Anita,

    I haven't heard of that.

    Sometimes I've been known to slightly heat a tincture to let the alcohol evaporate off. I'm not a big fan of drinking alcohol.