Wild Lettuce Tincture Making

By T.Voekler (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Wild Lettuce; Lactuca Virosa Preparation

 Here is a recipe for making a strong Lactuca, Wild Lettuce, tincture. It is prepared differently than a more traditional way to increase the effects of it’s sedative anodyne qualities. This plant is also known as Lettuce Opium or Wild Opium.

With preparing this form of Lactuca; Wild Lettuce tincture, it is important to have all aspects and equipment prepared beforehand such as knowing where there is a stand of Lactuca growing, having your equipment ready, and knowing that you have enough time during the days it takes to make it, which aren’t much, less than 2 hours per day for about 5 days. Read on.

Basically, I use this form of preparation to condense the latex in the plant which I assume contains most of its nervine qualities. Otherwise one ends up with a weak medicine due to all the ‘roughage’ that is a part of these stately plants. The goal is to maximize the concentration of latex. This is a bit of a challenge with Wild Lettuce, Lactuca, as there is a lot of plant matter to work around to get the latex without the mainly inert cellulose and other plant matter.

Always you make sure you identify the plant correctly before picking. Picture shows a botanical of Wild Lettuce

Tools needed for making Wild Lettuce Tincture

1.Pruners-to cut plants

2.Tincture press


4.Blender- a good sturdy one


6.Stainless steel pot with a lid


Preparation of Wild Lettuce Tincture

1.Find a stand of Wild Lettuce plants. I have used a number of species and they all seem useful, though some more careful observations of species may help figure this out. I have not used any close relatives that also yield latex, such as Sonchus.

2.The best time to make this tincture is when the plant is at its maximum latex yield, which seems to be around when it is just going to flower. It is easy to see the amount of latex, remove a leaf and the white milky latex should flow freely.

3.While all parts of Wild Lettuce contain this latex, I just make the medicine from the above ground parts, as it is just easier to not have to wash and cut up the roots, though I may be missing something here, as the roots do exude a fair bit of the latex.

4.Cut a few Wild Lettuce stalks

5.Bring them right away to where you will be processing them into tincture.

6.Cut them up into blender-size pieces

Picture shows the latex from the Wild Lettuce plant

7.Put them in the blender, and cover with ethanol


9.Add as much ethanol and material as you can to get a big wad of blenderized Wild Lettuce stem, saturated in ethanol

10.Let sit overnight (or longer)

11.Press tincture in tincture press

12.Cut more Wild Lettuce

13.Cut into blender-size pieces

14.Put in blender, add the menstruum that you recently pressed

15.Add this into the blender, along with enough 95% ethanol to cover and blend.

16.Let sit overnight.

17.Follow this process for a few days, cut, add menstruum from previously pressed tincture, blend, and add enough ethanol to get the juice out. And then press this for the next batch.

18.After a few days of this you should have a fair bit of fluid (menstruum)

19.Put this in a stainless steel pot with a lid on it

20.Bring to a high simmer

21.Evaporate and reduce the fluid so it gets more black and ‘tar-like’

22.This is your medicine

23.Be aware, that as you simmer, ethanol evaporates at a lower temperature than water, so make sure there is enough ethanol in your final product to keep it stable

24.Enjoy and let me know the results.

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