Poppy Seed

Other Name(s):

Abou en Noum, Abu el Noom, Abu el-Num, Adormidera, Afyun, Ahiphenam, Amapola, Amapola Real, Anfiao, Aphioni, Aphukam, Bhainzi, Birkes, Blauwmaanzaad, Breadseed Poppy, Dormideira, Edible-Seeded Poppy, Garden Poppy, Garten Mohn, Graine de pavot, Hashhash, Herba Dormidora, Keshi, Khishkhash, Maankop, Maanzaad, Mak, Mak Lekarski, Mak Sety, Medicinal Poppy, Mohn, Oeillette, Oilseed Poppy, Oopiumjunikko, Opievallmo, Opium Poppy, Opiummohn, Opiumpapawer, Opiumvallmo, Opiumvalmue, Papaver somniferum, Papavero da Oppio, Papavero Domestico, Papavero Sonnifero, Papoula, Paragtarbuti, Pavot Officinal, Pavot Somnifère, Pavot A Opium, Pavot de Jardin, Pintacoques, Pioniunikko, Pionvallmo, Schlafmohn, Semilla de amapola, Slaapbol, Slaappapver, Small Opium Poppy, Small-Flower Opium Poppy, Uniko, Vallmo, Valmúafræ, Valmue, Valmue Frø, Vrtni Mak, White Poppy, Wild Poppy, Yanggwibi, Ying Su, Za Zang.


Poppy seed is the seed from the poppy plant.

People take poppy seed by mouth for asthma, constipation, cough, diarrhea caused by infection, difficulty sleeping, and to diagnose a condition called vesicoenteric fistula.

In foods, poppy seed is used to make cakes, pastries, filling, glaze, or porridge.

In manufacturing, poppy seed oil is used to make soap, paint, and varnish.

How does it work?

Poppy seed might help prevent some types of cancer from developing.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Likely Effective for...

  • Diagnosing vesicoenteric fistula. Research shows that the poppy seed test can be used to diagnose a condition called vesicoenteric fistula. For this test, people who might have vesicoenteric fistula eat 35-250 grams of poppy seed mixed in a yogurt or beverage. The person's urine is monitored for 48 hours afterwards. If poppy seed is seen in the urine, the person is diagnosed with vesicoenteric fistula.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Asthma.
  • Constipation.
  • Cough.
  • Diarrhea caused by infection.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of poppy seed for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Poppy seed is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food.

Poppy seed is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts used for medical purposes. A single beverage or yogurt containing 35-250 grams of poppy seed has been used safely.

Although uncommon, eating poppy seed can cause allergies in some people. Symptoms include vomiting, swelling of the inside of the mouth, hives, eye swelling (conjunctivitis), and breathing difficulty. Inhaling poppy seed might also cause allergy symptoms, including skin redness and swelling under the skin.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Poppy seed is LIKELY SAFE for pregnant and breast-feeding women in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts should be avoided until more is known.

Allergy to other plants: People who are allergic to poppy seed might also be allergic to hazelnut, rye grain, kiwi, sesame, or buckwheat. If you are allergic to poppy seed, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking these other foods or supplements.


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


For diagnosing vesicoenteric fistula: 35-250 grams of poppy seed are mixed with a drink or yogurt and taken by mouth. Urine is monitored for 48 hours thereafter.

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