Lactuca Serriola Prickly Lettuce Uses, Effects and Precautions

Lactuca serriola introduction

Lactuca Serriola as unani medicine is widely used in the prevention and treatment of various diseases due to its less side effects and cost effectiveness. It is an important herbal medicine and is recommended for various disorders like headache, insomnia, infectious fever etc. Traditionally, it has been used to manage intestinal, respiratory, and vascular ailments. Lactuca serriola can potentially act as a strong traditional herbal drug due to its multiple pharmaceutical effects and therefore many researches have been conducted for the development of its new formulations. It is prickly plant found at the Western Himalaya, at an altitude of 6.000 to 11.000 feet. The parts that are mostly used for medicinal purposes are dried leaves, seed oil and its milky juice.


Different names of lactuca serriola

  • Hindi: Kahukrbinj
  • English: Prickly lettuce or Wild lettuce
  • It is also known as milk thistle, compass plant and scarole.

Effects of lactuca serriola

  1. The seed oil of it has been known to show sedative effects in locomotor activity due to potentiation of the hypnotic effect of barbiturates, analgesic effects in acetic-acid induced writhing test and anticonvulsant activity against pentylenetetrazole-induced convulsions.
  2. It effects can be seen in blood purifying, hepatoprotective in addition to diuretic activities.
  3. The methanol extract of Lactuca serriola shows its impacts upon spasmogenic, spasmolytic, bronchodilator, and vasorelaxant activities.

Bio-chemical substances

  • Variety of alkaloids
  • Lettuce
  • Oxalic acid
  • Lactucopicrin
  • Sesquiterpene esters
  • Lactucin
  • Triterpenoid saponin

Dosages lactuca serriola

As far as its dosages are concerned, its quantity differs according to the part used for different medicinal purposes. On the other hand, the different unani physicians recommend different dosages. 6-12 gm has been advised by Ghani 1996, Hakeem 1953 and Sadique 1927 while 3-5 gm has been advised by Kabiruddin 1951 and Ansari 1885.


8 Uses of lactuca serriola

  1. It has therapeutic effects, which had already been proved through different clinical trials. Based on established knowledge, lactuca serriola can be used in the management of insomnia, neurosis, anxiety, rheumatic pain and dry cough.
  2. The complete plant is used for treating stomach issues and to stimulate digestive process.
  3. It is known to enhance the appetite and reduce inflammatory tendencies.
  4. The latex of it contains bio-chemical substances viz. oxalyl and sulphate conjugates of the guaianolide sesquiterpene lactones, which is known to possess anti-microbial qualities.
  5. The anti-oxidant activity of the lactuca has assisted in prevention of chronic diseases connected to oxidative stress such as cancer.
  6. It is also beneficial for ulcer treatment and for burns.
  7. Nutritionally, it is also rich because of the presence of calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, fluorine in its leaves.
  8. The aqueous extract of roots give guanine-type sesquiterpene glycosides, lactoside C along with known glycosides, lactoside A and macro-cliniside A.

Medicinal uses of lactuca serriola

  • Sedative
  • Hypnotic
  • Expectorant
  • Cough suppressant
  • Purgative
  • Demulcent
  • Diuretic
  • Antiseptic
  • Vasorelaxant
  • Antispasmodic

Scientific evidences of lactuca serriola

The medicinal plant lactuca serriola has been tested from pharmacological point of view. Many researches have been conducted on its roots, seeds and leaves. It is widely accepted for antibacterial, antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and sedative effects. The drug has been in use from a long time in traditional medicine and its reference can also be traced to Hippocrates, Galen, Tabri and Dioscorides. Current clinical trials and various animal studies have now proven that it can be used to cure a number of diseases.

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