The effects of poppy seeds

Updated November 21, 2016

Poppy seeds grow from an opium plant indigenous to the Mediterranean and are bluish grey in colour. They are nutty in taste and are often used to flavour pastries, desserts, sauces, vegetables and noodles. Poppy plants have been cultivated since antiquity for their opiate content, which is recognised for its narcotic properties and is sometimes used for medicinal purposes. Poppy seeds are now the commercial source for the opiate content in morphine and codeine. However, there may be some side effects to poppy seed consumption, including intoxication, hallucination and even death due to overdose. Always contact a doctor with questions about the nonculinary use of poppy seeds.


Because poppy seeds contain opium, a narcotic, they can be addictive, especially when consumed in large quantities.


Taking opium in any form, including poppy seeds, can result in feelings of fatigue, sluggishness and sedation. Poppy seeds may also relax muscles, resulting in reduced muscular control.

Abdominal Contractions

Poppy seeds have traditionally been used to treat diarrhoea by relaxing the abdominal muscles. However, abdominal contractions may occur as a result.


Allergic reactions have been reported, according to the website, including rashes and difficulty breathing. Contact a doctor immediately if you suspect an allergic reaction.


Poppy seeds contain trace amounts of natural morphine. When taken in large amounts, either through brewing into tea or consuming large amounts of the seeds themselves, an overdose of morphine can occur, resulting in death.

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About the Author

Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.