Rhoeados Petala, B.P. Red Poppy Petals.

Botanical name: 

Related entry: Opium - Meconic acid

Red poppy petals are obtained from Palaver Rhoeas, Linn. (N.O. Papaveraceae), a herb common in England and throughout Europe. The fresh petals are of a bright scarlet colour, with a short, dark violet claw, broadly elliptical, about 5 centimetres across. The upper surface is shiny, the margin entire, though often crinkled, on account of the crumpled aestivation. Odour, heavy and unpleasant; taste, slightly bitter. The drug yields when dried from 16 to 20 per cent. of ash. The long-headed poppy, P. dubium, Linn., is often mistaken for P. Rhoeas. Although widely distributed it is not so common as the latter, and may be distinguished by its oblong capsule. Its petals should not be substituted for the red poppy petals, as the plant contains an alkaloid resembling thebaine in action.

Constituents.—The chief constituent of the fresh petals is the colouring matter, which consists of rhoeadic and papaveric acids. All parts of the plant contain the crystalline, non-poisonous alkaloid, rhoeadine, and the presence of morphine has been alleged, but this has not been confirmed. Whether meconic acid is a constituent of the petals has not yet been definitely determined.

Action and Uses.—Red poppy petals are used in the preparation of Syrupus Rhoeados as a colouring agent.


Syrupus Rhoeados, B. P.—SYRUP OF RED POPPY.
Red poppy petals, 22.41; refined sugar 62.07; alcohol, 4.31; distilled water, sufficient to produce, by weight, 100. Heat 40 of the distilled water upon a water-bath; add the red poppy petals gradually, with constant stirring, then remove the vessel from the source of heat, allow the drug to infuse for twelve hours, press out the liquid, and strain. Add the sugar to the strained liquid, dissolve by the aid of heat, cool, add the alcohol, and make up the weight of the product to 100 by the addition of distilled water. Syrup of red poppy is mildly astringent, but is used principally as a colouring agent for mixtures and gargles. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).

The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.