Papaver rhoeas / Klaproos

Corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is well known for its showy red flowers and should not be confused with the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). In the Mediterranean, corn poppy greens are eaten as a vegetable.

Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Antioxidant, chelating agent (heavy metals), food uses, gastric ulcers, morphine withdrawal, sedative.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Corn poppy is likely safe when the leaves, petals, and seeds are used in food amounts.

There is little information currently available about the adverse effects associated with corn poppy. However, there have been reports of contact urticaria (hives) due to the flowers.

Use cautiously in patients undergoing chelation therapy, with thalassemia (blood disorders), or with anemia (red blood cell deficiency), as corn poppy may have iron-chelating activities.

Use cautiously in patients taking sedatives, as corn poppy may cause drowsiness.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Corn poppy is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Corn poppy may have antioxidant properties.

Corn poppy root may have potent antiulcerogenic effects. Use cautiously with anti-ulcer herbs and supplements due to possible additive effects.

Corn poppy greens may possess iron-chelating activities. Use cautiously with heavy metal antagonists, chelating agents, and iron supplements.

Corn poppy extracts may decrease morphine withdrawal symptoms.

Corn poppy may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.


  • Awe W, Winkler W. [Alkaloids of corn poppy.]. Arch Pharm Ber.Dtsch.Pharm Ges 1957;290/62(8-9):367-376.

  • El Masry S, El Ghazooly MG, Omar AA, et al. Alkaloids from Egyptian Papaver rhoeas. Planta Med 1981;41(1):61-64.

  • El SN, Karakaya S. Radical scavenging and iron-chelating activities of some greens used as traditional dishes in Mediterranean diet. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2004;55(1):67-74.

  • Franchi GG, Franchi G, Corti P, et al. Microspectrophotometric evaluation of digestibility of pollen grains. Plant Foods Hum.Nutr 1997;50(2):115-126.

  • Gamboa PM, Jauregui I, Urrutia I, et al. Allergic contact urticaria from poppy flowers (Papaver rhoeas). Contact Dermatitis 1997;37(3):140-141.

  • Gurbuz I, Ustun O, Yesilada E, et al. Anti-ulcerogenic activity of some plants used as folk remedy in Turkey. J Ethnopharmacol 2003;88(1):93-97.

  • Hillenbrand M, Zapp J, Becker H. Depsides from the petals of Papaver rhoeas. Planta Med. 2004;70(4):380-382.

  • Pfeifer S. [On the occurrence of glaudine in opium and Papaver rhoeas L.]. Pharmazie 1965;20(4):240.

  • Pourmotabbed A, Rostamian B, Manouchehri G, et al. Effects of Papaver rhoeas extract on the expression and development of morphine-dependence in mice. J Ethnopharmacol 2004;95(2-3):431-435.

  • Sahraei H, Faghih-Monzavi Z, Fatemi SM, et al. Effects of Papaver rhoeas extract on the acquisition and expression of morphine-induced behavioral sensitization in mice. Phytother Res 2006;20(9):737-741.

  • Sahraei H, Fatemi SM, Pashaei-Rad S, et al. Effects of Papaver rhoeas extract on the acquisition and expression of morphine-induced conditioned place preference in mice. J Ethnopharmacol 2-20-2006;103(3):420-424.

  • Schaffer S, Schmitt-Schillig S, Muller WE, et al. Antioxidant properties of Mediterranean food plant extracts: geographical differences. J Physiol Pharmacol 2005;56 Suppl 1:115-124.

  • Soulimani R, Younos C, Jarmouni-Idrissi S, et al. Behavioral and pharmaco-toxicological study of Papaver rhoeas L. in mice. J Ethnopharmacol 3-3-2001;74(3):265-274.

  • Winkler W, Awe W. [On the structure of rhoeadine isomers isolated from Papaver rhoeas.]. Arch Pharm 1961;294/66:301-306.


Papaveris rhoeados flos


Dried, whole or fragmented petals of Papaver rhoeas L.


Macroscopic and microscopic characters described under

identification tests A and B.


A. The petal is dark red to dark violet-brown, very thin, floppy, wrinkled, often crumpled into a ball and velvety to the touch. It is broadly ovate with an entire margin, about 6 cm long and 4 cm to 6 cm wide, narrowing at the base where there is a black spot. The vascular bundles radiate from the base and they anastomose in a continuous arc, all at the same short distance from the margin.

B. Reduce to a powder (355). Examine under a microscope using chloral hydrate solution R. The powder is an intense reddish-pink and shows fragments of epidermis composed of elongated, sinuous-walled cells with small, rounded, anomocytic stomata (2.8.3), numerous vascular bundles with spiral vessels embedded in the parenchyma ; occasional fragments of the fibrous layer of the anthers; rounded pollen grains, about 30 µm in diameter, with 3 pores and a finely verrucose exine.

C. Thin-layer chromatography (2.2.27).

Test solution. To 1.0 g of the powdered drug (355) add 10 ml of alcohol (60 per cent V/V) R. Stir for 15 min.

Filter through a filter paper.

Reference solution. Dissolve 1 mg of quinaldine red R and 1 mg of sulphan blue R in 2 ml of methanol R.

Plate: TLC silica gel plate R.

Mobile phase: anhydrous formic acid R, water R, butanol R (10:12:40 V/V/V).

Application: 10 µl, as bands.

Development: over a path of 10 cm.

Drying: in air.

Detection: examine in daylight.

Results: see below the sequence of zones present in the chromatograms obtained with the reference solution and the test solution. Furthermore, other bands may be present in the chromatogram obtained with the test solution.

Top of the plate 2 yellow zones

Quinaldine red: an orange-red zone

_______ _______

A violet principal zone

A violet zone

A yellow zone

Sulphan blue: a blue zone

_______ _______

A compact group of violet zones

Reference solution Test solution


Foreign matter (2.8.2): maximum 2.0 per cent of capsules and maximum 1.0 per cent of other foreign matter.

Loss on drying (2.2.32): maximum 12.0 per cent, determined on 1.000 g of the powdered drug (355) by drying in an oven

at 100-105 °C for 2 h.

Total ash (2.4.16): maximum 11.0 per cent.

Colouring capacity. Place 1.0 g of the powdered drug (355) in a 250 ml flask and add 100 ml of ethanol (30 per cent V/V) R. Allow to macerate for 4 h with frequent stirring. Filter and discard the first 10 ml. Transfer 10.0 ml of the filtrate to a 100 ml volumetric flask and add 2 ml of hydrochloric acid R. Dilute to 100.0 ml with ethanol (30 percent V/V) R. Allow to stand for 10 min. The absorbance (2.2.25) measured at 523 nm using ethanol (30 percent V/V) R as compensation liquid is not less than 0.6.