Poppy is an annual herb native to Southeastern Europe and western Asia. There are wild and cultivated varieties. Also known as opium poppy, the species is cultivated extensively in many countries, including Iran, Turkey, Holland, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, India, Canada, and many Asian and Central and South American countries.
The plant reaches a height of 1.2 meters, the erect plant can have white, pink, red, or purple flowers. Seeds range in color from white to a slate shade, blue-black that is called blue in commercial classifications.
A latex containing several important alkaloids is obtained from immature seed capsules one to three weeks after flowering. Incisions are made in the walls of the green seed pods, and the milky exudation is collected and dried. Opium and the isoquinoline alkaloids morphine, codeine, noscapine, papaverine, and thebaine are isolated from the dried material. The alkaloid substances can also be found in flower petals. In addition to codeine and morphine, narcotine (noscapine), papaverine, and thebaine were found in Indian and Netherlands poppy seeds (Papaver somniferum L). The concentrations of codeine, morphine, thebaine, papaverine, and narcotine were 44, 167, 41, 67, and 230 micrograms/g in Indian poppy seeds, and were 1.8, 39, 1.0, 0.17, 0.84 micrograms/g in Netherlands poppy seeds, respectively. (Paul 1996 ref.7427 1)
The poppy seeds and fixed oil that can be expressed from the seed are not narcotic, because they develop after the capsule has lost the opium-yielding potential. However, they are still present and can be detected in urine sampling.
Poppy seeds are used as a condiment with baked goods and pastries for their nutty odor and flavor. Poppy oil is widely used as an edible cooking oil. The oil is also used in the manufacture of paints, varnishes, and soaps. Opium is used in the production of morphine, codeine, other alkaloids, and deodorized forms of opium. Morphine is the raw material from which heroin is obtained. Poppy plants are important as ornamental plants in flower gardens.
Poppy is also regarded as an important medicinal plant. Traditionally, the dry opium was considered an astringent, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, diaphoretic, expectorant, hypnotic, narcotic, and sedative. Poppy has been used against toothaches and coughs. The ability of opium from poppy to serve as an analgesic is well known. Opium and derivatives of opium are used in the pharmaceutical industry as narcotic analgesics, hypnotics, and sedatives. These compounds are also used as antidiarrheals, antispasmodics, and antitussives. Opium and the drugs derived from opium are addictive and can have toxicological effects.
Papaver rhoeus L., known as corn or field poppy, is an annual herb native to Europe and Asia. Extracts of the plant are used in medicine and beverages. The alkaloids rhoeadine, morphine, and papaverine have been reported in this species. Papaver orientale L., formerly Papaver bracteatum Lindl., is a morphine-free alkaloid source used for medicinal purposes. Mexican or prickly poppy, Argemone mexicana L., has been reported to have toxicological properties but no substantial medicinal uses have been recorded.
Poppy seed is generally recognized as safe for human consumption as a spice or a natural flavoring.
Ten of 11 poppy allergic patients showed IgE binding to a 45-kDa protein, 4/11 to a 34-kDa, 5/11 to a 17-kDa, 5/11 to a 14-kDa, and 3/11 to a 5-kDa component. Furthermore, individual IgE binding to proteins of 20, 25, 30 and 40 kDa proteins could be observed. The 40- and 45-kDa allergens are glycoproteins and contain IgE binding carbohydrate moieties. Cross-reacting homologues of pollen allergens including Bet v 1 and profilin were detected in poppy seed extract. (Jensen-Jarolim 1999 ref.4072 3)
A major protein band with an estimated mol wt of 52 kDa was detected in workers with occupational asthma as a result of working with shells of P. somniferum. (Moneo 1993 ref.7430 4)
IGE AND IMMUNE:
Poppy seeds in food can induce immediate-type allergic reactions ranging from mild local symptoms to severe anaphylactic reactions. (Jensen-Jarolim 1999 ref. 4072) A patient with an immediate type hypersensitivity reaction against poppy seed is reported. Clinical symptoms consisted of swelling of the oral mucosa, vomiting, respiratory distress, and urticaria. Specific IgE antibodies were demonstrable by RAST. (Braun 1988 ref.289 34)
Allergic reactions - gastrointestinal, respiratory and skin.
Anaphylaxis. (Kalyoncu 1993 ref.430 43) Three patients are described who experienced severe allergic immediate-type reaction to poppy-seeds. (Gloor 1995 ref.1255 4) Crossreactive. (Vocks 1993 ref.123 43)
Immediate-type allergy caused by poppy seed in a 52 year-old man. Symptoms included epigastric pain, angioedoema, and respiratory distress a few minutes after eating poppy cake. Skin and blood tests were positive. (Frantzen 2000 ref.7423 5)
Anaphylaxis (Richter 2000 ref.3708 4)
Food-dependant exercise-induced anaphylaxis. (Kutting 2000 ref.6601 1)
Prevalence of allergy is increasing, probably due to increased number of vegetarian dishes.
Twenty eight workers of a pharmaceutical factory producing morphine and extracting other alkaloids from shells of Papaver somniferum were studied. Six of the exposed subjects had clinical symptoms of sensitization to this allergen and positive skin tests. A bronchial provocation test was found to be positive on 4 workers and specific IgE could be found on the 6 sensitized patients by an ELISA and a RAST test using an aqueous extract of P. somniferum. A histamine release using the same antigen was also positive in the 4 samples from sensitized patients available. An SDS-PAGE of the extract revealed a major protein band with an estimated mol wt of 52,000 d. This band had the highest IgE-binding capacity as shown by immunoblotting. All these facts suggest that P. somniferum allergy is mediated by an IgE mediated mechanism and not by a pharmacological or toxic effect of the alkaloids or polyphenols. (Moneo 1993 ref.7430 4)
Poppy seed was used as an ingredient in a typical cake and was ingested by nine volunteers. Several urine specimens contained morphine with concentrations higher than 1 microg/mL, and peak values of approximately 10.0 microg/mL were detected. Because the International Olympic Committee set a cutoff limit for morphine at 1 microg/mL, high-performance athletes could possibly test positive in doping control after consumption of products containing poppy seeds. (Thevis 2003 ref.7421 1) Urine concentration of greater than 0.3 mg/L can persists for as long as 35 h after consumption. (Pettit 1987 ref.7432 4)
A patient presenting with dependence on opium poppy tea infusion is reported. Poppy tea drinking, although previously described in certain parts of the UK, rarely presents in the form of a dependence syndrome. (Unnithan 1993 ref.7429 4)
Danish poppy capsules contain 0.3-5 mg morphine per capsule and the content of morphine in opium exuded from the capsules may amount to 24%. This has resulted in misuse as both fresh and dried poppy capsules have been used for the production of "opium tea". During the period 1982-1985, seven casualties occurred among drug addicts in Denmark which were solely or partly caused by these opium poppies. (Steentoft 1988 ref.7431 1)
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Allergy Advisor - Zing Solutions
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