Detailed Plants Dravya Guna Adil Farooq Malik  

Ahiphena |Papaver somniferum Linn. |DravyaGuna

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Papaver somniferum is commonly known as the opium poppy or breadseed poppy.

It is the species of plant from which both opium and poppy seeds are derived and is also a valuable ornamental plant, grown in gardens.

Its native range is probably the eastern Mediterranean, but is now obscured by ancient introductions and cultivation, being naturalized across much of Europe and Asia.

Botanical name : Papaver somniferum Linn.

Family : Papaveraceae

Vernacular Names

Hindi : Postha

English : Opium/Poppy seeds

Bengali : Postodheri

Telugu : Nalla mandu

Synonyms In Sanskrit Language

Apuka for niryasa, Khasa tila, Tila bheda, Khakhasa for seeds

Categorization In Classical Texts

Charaka : nil

Sushruta : nil

Vagbhatta : nil

Important Mentions

Brhat trai did not mention ahiphena.

Sarangdhar qouted it as example for “vyavayi dravya

Raja Nighantu mentioned ahiphena under the “upa visha gana

Different Varieties

In Nighantu Ratnakaram, four varieties are mentioned as :

1.JananaWhite varietyDigestive
2.MaranaBlack varietyCauses death
3.DharanaYellow varietyRasayana (Tonic)
4.SaranaDifferent colorsRemoves metabolic residue from body

Botanical Description

An erect, rarely branched, annual herb, 60-120 cm in height.

Leaves are amplexiculate, lobed, serrate or dentate, ovate or ovate-oblong.

Flowers are usually bluish white with a purple base.

Seeds are reniform, black or white.


A native of West Asia, now grown in Punjab, UP, Hoshiarpur, Rajasthan and M.P.

Properties (Guna-Karma)

Rasa – Tikta, Kashaya

Guna – Laghu, Ruksha, Sukshma, Vyavayi

Virya – Ushna

Vipaka – Katu

Karma – Kapha hara, Madakari, Grahi, Sukra-stambhaka


  • Atisara
  • Kasa
  • Darunaka jwara
  • Shoola
  • Kailibya
  • Nidranaasha

Therapeutic Uses

1) Vajikarana :- A combination of ahiphena, jatiphala, ela, lavang, & kumkuma each 10 grams along with 5g of karpura are grinded together and administrated orally. (Yo. Rat.)

2) Kasa :- khaskhasa niryuha (S.B)

3) Atisara :- Ahiphena and bark of kupillu are mixed with honey and administrated orally (Vai.Ma.)

Part Used

Seeds, seed oil, unripe capsules, fruit exudates and flowers

Major Chemical Constituents

Crude opium contain 25 alkaloids. Some of them are:-

Morphine(10%), codeine (0.05%), papaverine, nicotine, meconic acid, apomorphine etc. (Ref. A textbook of DravyaGuna Vigyana by Dr. J.L.N. Sastry & Dr. Tanuja Nesari)


30-125 mg

Poisoning Effects

1) It’s contact with skin may produce erythema, urticaria, and itching.

2) When consumed orally, symptoms manifest with in half and hour.

3) When injected, symptoms manifest with in 3-4 minutes.

Stages Of Manifestation Of Symptoms

Symptoms will manifest in 3 stages:-

1) Stage of excitement : Increased sense of well-being, mental activity, flushing of face, tachycardia etc.

2) Stage of stupor : Symptoms like headache, nausea, vomiting, sense of weight in the limbs, giddiness, stupor, contracted pupils, cyanosis of lips etc.

3) Stage of coma : deep coma, flaccid muscles, diminished reflexes, pin-point pupil, chyene-stokes breathing etc.


1) Stomach wash with 1:5000 potassium permangnate solution.

2) Administration of N-allyl-normorphine (lethidrone) 5-10 mg I.V. Repeated every 15-30 min. I. M or I. V until respiration returns.

Research Work

1) Papaverine is used as muscle relaxant.

2) Codeine is used as antitussive agent.

3) Morphine is used during acute angina and has analgesic properties.

Important Formulations

  • Karpuradi rasa
  • Ahiphena asava
  • Yavanyadi-kvatha
  • Nidrodayavati
  • Vednaantakavati

Sanskrit Verses Mentioning Ahiphena

१. अफूकं तद्रवीभूतमहिफेनमफेनकम्। अफूकं शोधनं ग्राहि श्लेष्मध्नं वारतपित्तलम्। (ध.नि.६/१०८) २. खस्तिलस्तिलभेदस्तु शुश्रपुष्पो लसत्फल: । वृष्यो बल्यश्च खस्तिल: श्लेष्पघ्नो वातजिद्वरुः ॥वल्कलस्तत्समो ज्ञेयो हृक्षो ग्राही विशोषण: ॥ (ध.नि.६/१०६-१०७) ३. खसबीजानि बल्यानि वृष्याणि सुगुह्वणि च । जनयन्ति कर्फ तानि शमयन्ति समीरणम् ॥ (भा.प्र.)

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