Papaveris Capsulae, B.P. Poppy Capsules.

Botanical name: 

Related entries: Opium - Poppy Capsules - Cotarnine - Cotarnine Hydrochloride - Morphine - Morphine Acetate - Morphine Hydrochloride - Morphine Sulphate - Morphine Tartrate - Narceine - Narcotine - Red poppy petals - Meconic acid

Poppy capsules or heads are the dried fruits of Papaver somniferum, Linn. (N.O. Papaveraceae). They are cut from the stems when nearly ripe, before the seeds have escaped, and dried. They are ovoid or nearly globular in shape, sometimes depressed at the base and apex, 5 to 7.5 centimetres in diameter, crowned by a large stellate stigma, and contracted at the base into a neck which is enlarged near the peduncle; pale yellowish-brown in colour, and often marked with darker spots. From the inner surface of the thin, brittle pericarp, membranous placentas project into the cavity of the fruit. The seeds are numerous, small, white, reniform and marked with conspicuous raised reticulations. The capsules have no odour, but a slightly bitter taste.

Constituents.—The most important constituent of poppy capsules is the alkaloid morphine, of which they contain about 0.16 to 0.28 per cent. Meconic acid has also been detected in them, and codeine, narcotine, and other constituents of opium are probably also present. Whether the ripe or unripe capsules contain most morphine is undecided, the analyses showing great divergence. The seeds are devoid of alkaloid, but contain about 50 per cent. of a drying oil (poppy oil), which is used by artists and for various technical purposes; they should be rejected in making galenical preparations of poppy capsules. The slate-coloured seeds of a variety of poppy with dark petals are known as maw seed.

Action and Uses.—Poppy capsules are mildly sedative by virtue of the small proportion of the active constituents of opium they contain, but are very uncertain in strength. They are employed in the preparation of fomentations for bruises, and for dental and other abscesses. Decoctum Papaveris is similarly employed, and is also used as a vehicle for urethral injections. Syrupus Papaveris is a mild sedative for use in cough mixtures.


Decoction of Chamomile and Poppy

Decoctum Papaveris, B.P., 1885.—DECOCTION OF POPPY.
Poppy capsules, 10; distilled water, sufficient to produce 100. Add the bruised capsules to 150 of the water, boil for ten minutes, strain, and make up to the required volume, if necessary, by passing distilled water through the strainer. Decoction of poppy is a useful adjunct to astringent injections; it is also used as a fomentation to allay the pain of abscesses.
Extractum Papaveris, B.P., 1885.—EXTRACT OF POPPY.
Poppy capsules, freed from seeds and in No. 20 powder, 100; rectified spirit, 12.5; distilled water, boiling, a sufficient quantity. Digest the poppy capsules in 250 of the boiling water for twenty-four hours, stirring frequently; then transfer to a percolator, and exhaust by percolation with more boiling distilled water. Evaporate the liquid on a water-bath to 125, when cold add the alcohol, allow to stand for twenty-four hours, filter, and evaporate on a water-bath until a mass of pilular consistence is obtained. Extract of poppy is used internally in pill form as a mild sedative, and dissolved in hot water as a fomentation. Dose.—1 to 3 decigrams (2 to 5 grains).
Extractum Papaveris Liquidum, B.P.C.—LIQUID EXTRACT OF POPPY.
Poppy capsules, 45; alcohol, 25; distilled water, to 100. An ingredient of cough mixtures and syrups, being employed for its mildly soothing properties. It is sometimes added to astringent lotions and injections, 2 mils (30 minims) to 30 mils (1 fluid ounce). Dose.—2 to 4 mils (30 to 60 minims).
Syrupus Papaveris, B.P.C.—SYRUP OF POPPY. 2 (liquid extract) in 5.
A mildly sedative preparation used in cough mixtures. 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.