The poppy flower is one of those few flowers full of mystery and beauty; many fear them, although this same fear is what usually also generates attraction.
However, it is worth noting that there is not only one species of poppy, although both are fragile, but in most cases we stumble upon a poppy that is harmless and has nothing to do with the one from which harmful substances are extracted.
Be that as it may, this peculiarity has made the poppy to be seen as a fragile and beautiful flower, but also dangerous. In many texts, writers have even compared certain people to this type of flower because, while they are beautiful, they can also cause injuries.
Of course, since Antiquity, its properties were already known. Its scientific name is
papaver rhoeas, and it is a wild plant whose height can reach seventy centimeters. In the Iberian region it is where it is usually more abundant. The most beautiful thing about the plant, without a doubt, are its four-petal, bell-shaped flowers with an intense red hue.
It is believed that this plant originally came from the Asian continent to Europe. Its leaves can have a slight toxicity, especially for animals that eat plants, but its seeds are better received, especially as a condiment. Despite this, it is a plant that must be known very well before being treated.
The properties for which the poppy flower is usually recognized are its emollient and sedative capacities. In some cases, it is used as a syrup to treat conditions such as coughs or bronchitis. But, this use is ancient, because, in the past it was used to calm lung discomfort.
The poppy flower is also used in certain cases to color liqueurs, but its flavor is not sweet, but rather bitter. It has also been used to stabilize the nervous states of people when they are upset.
The spiritual meaning of the poppy flower is very varied. Some take it so literally that it is common to see in countries, such as Ukraine, that this flower is widely used as a decorative element in some pieces of clothing, especially in traditional dresses for women, the vishivankas, whose embroidery is special.
But its predilection is not only reduced to Ukraine, but in other countries it has also been well received, even since ancient times. The Egyptians, for example, associated this flower with the youth and beauty of women, perhaps also considering that both are fragile and have the power of seduction over humans.
For the Egyptian people the theme of youth was also important, which was highly desired. Not in vain have so many myths arisen that associate Queen Cleopatra with different beautification rituals.
But youth was coveted not only by women, but also by men. For this reason, when a pharaoh died, their tombs had large quantities of this flower, so that they could always be kept young, even when the trip was long.
The fields of the Egyptians were cultivated with this mythical flower, for cases of departure to the afterlife, and also to treat the sick by means of syrups. Myths in which the poppy flower plays an important role also abound in the culture of Greece and Rome.
For example, one of these myths relates that the goddess Venera cried for many days, immediately, when she found out that her beloved Adonis had died, and from each tear that fell on the ground, a poppy flower emerged, therefore fragility of the petals of it.
For the Greeks, the poppy flower was more related to Gipnos, the god of sleep, who they imagined as a young man with a crown made of poppies because, unlike Egyptian culture, the Greeks did have knowledge about the effects narcotics produced by the seeds of the flower.
In Persia, the poppy flower signified happiness, love and sexuality, while in Chinese culture it was associated with loneliness, wealth and periods of rest.
But this was changing in China, because as time went by, the poppy flower became a sign of nightlife and women with licentious lives.
The poppy flower was acquiring another meaning after the war, and some came to associate it with aggressiveness and evil. But, the most predominant meaning is that of beauty, since its beauty has captivated humanity since ancient times.
Poppy flowers can be white, although the most precious are the red ones, which are preferred for decoration. Depending on its color, this flower can also take on other meanings.
Generally, the meaning of white flowers is that of deep sleep, while red flowers are used to give comfort to some people, especially because of the prevailing belief that the red tone of this flower is due to the blood that many soldiers shed during wars. In fact, in many countries, it is widely used during commemorative patriotic events.
The papaver somniferum, It is the poppy whose toxicity is high, and it is the most valued by those who obtain derivatives of it that can be lethal.
Finally, the myth of Persephone, daughter of Demeter -the goddess of fertility and the earth-, gives a meaning to this flower associated with fertility, since she was picking poppies when Hades, the god of the underworld, kidnapped to marry her.
According to the myth, her mother was desperate and forbade fruit to be grown until her daughter appeared, but Zeus intervened and ordered Persephone to be six months of the year with her mother, on earth, and six months with Hades. Therefore, the earth sleeps when it is not found and then wakes up.