The red poppy is a popular, small variety of wildflower. It is a herbaceous annual plant that generally grows to be between 12 and 14 inches in length. The blooms of the red poppy tend to be between 2 and 3 inches in width. Some other names for this bright red plant include American Legion poppy, corn poppy, Flanders poppy and Shirley poppy. It originates in North Africa and Eurasia.
The red poppy is both a sedative and an analgesic (painkiller). It consists of a sedative alkaloid that is nonpoisonous and known as rhoeadine. However, unlike its relative the opium poppy, the red poppy is not a narcotic. In traditional times, the sedative qualities of the red poppy were used by mothers when they fed their children food mixed with it in order to encourage them to sleep uninterrupted for long periods of time. The flowers' blossoms were also used as a childrens' cough syrup.
Some other conditions that red poppies are used to comfort and soothe include the respiratory disorder asthma, insomnia, suppressing cough irritation and nervous irritability. Red poppy is most commonly used for elderly individuals and small children. The red poppy is also beneficial for reducing over-activity.
The flowers of the red poppy are also commonly used as a sort of dye, due to their brilliant and bright red color. Red poppy flowers' are used to color medicines, teas, wines and inks.
Red poppies are also used for cooking. Dried seeds of the red poppy add a nutty taste and texture to baked items, including cakes, breads and muffins. The petals are often blended into hot water in order to introduce some kick into syrups, beverages and soups.