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Image: Backyard medicine: Wild lettuce has many health benefits

(Natural News) Knowledge is power for a prepper. While it is important to keep a well-stocked cabinet of medicine, it also helps to be knowledgeable about natural remedies that can be rummaged out in the wild. Enter wild lettuce, a potent plant that has a variety of medical uses. Wild lettuce is common in the U.S. and grows all around the world; its ubiquitous nature has made it a reliable medicinal plant that has been used for centuries.

Wild lettuce is a weed that treats many ailments

Wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa) has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including insomnia and pain. When wild lettuce is scratched or cut, it secretes a milky white ingredient known as Lactucarium. This substance is well known for its pain-relieving properties. In fact, its analgesic effect is believed to be as strong as opium. (Related: The natural painkiller growing in your backyard: Wild lettuce is similar to morphine.)

Aside from being a strong analgesic, wild lettuce is also known for its wide array of benefits, such as:

  • Preventing cough
  • Decreasing symptoms of anxiety and manic behavior
  • Promoting sleep and preventing insomnia
  • Relieving pain and tension in the muscles
  • Promoting respiratory health by managing asthma symptoms
  • Lowering the occurrence of headaches and migraines
  • Preventing restlessness and excitability in children
  • Decreasing painful menstrual periods
  • Reducing excessive sexual drive in men and women (nymphomania)
  • Decreasing inflammation and joint pain
  • Improving circulation and energy levels
  • Reducing inflammation in male genitals (priapism)
  • Curing urinary tract problems


When using wild lettuce as a treatment for these ailments, it is important to identify the right dosage. While not many studies are available discussing appropriate consumption for humans, animal studies found that an effective dose of 30 mg/kg of body weight is needed in order to get the same effect as ibuprofen.

Wild lettuce can be prepared in several ways in order to reap its health benefits. The list below details some of the popular ways to use wild lettuce.

  • Wild lettuce tea: Dried wild lettuce leaves can be used to brew tea in various tea preparations. However, it should be noted that the leaves contain the least amount of sap; therefore, its pain-relieving property might not be as powerful.
  • Wild lettuce tincture: Normally, tinctures are made by dissolving dried wild lettuce sap in alcohol. But there are some people who skip the drying process and directly adds sap into alcohol.
  • Wild lettuce smoke blend: Aside from tea, a smoke blend can also be prepared using dried wild lettuce leaves, as well as stems.
  • Wild lettuce beer: Many people use wild lettuce leaves to make beer. The fermentation process takes about six to eight weeks.

Weeds that look similar to wild lettuce

If you’re looking for wild lettuce, you should watch out for these look-alikes. Although their overall features look very similar to wild lettuce, there are certain characteristics that you should search for that are unique to these plants.

  • Tall blue lettuce: This weed is also known as L. biennis. It can be found in similar places where wild lettuce is usually found. However, there are key differences between tall blue lettuce and wild lettuce. For one, it’s seed beak is much shorter and it has light brown hairs that are not found in wild lettuce. Secondly, the leaves of tall blue lettuce have winged stalks and hairs on more than just the midrib. Lastly, true to its name, the flower petals of this weed are normally pale blue in color.
  • Prickly lettuce: This weed looks very similar to wild lettuce and shares the same health benefits. Many people often confuse wild lettuce for prickly lettuce and vice versa. The prickly lettuce is characterized by a white taproot that grows fairly large in size. The stem of this weed has a waxy covering that looks like a whitish tint from afar.

Wild lettuce is not the only herbal medicine that offers many health benefits. has more about plants that can treat ailments during an emergency situation.

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