Psychoactives in the Pale Part 2

In eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, soothing someone who was out of sorts was often treated with herbs. For example, chickens were kept from being too boisterous by sprinkling poppy seeds in their feed. Children who cried inconsolably or couldn’t sleep were sometimes given poppy preparations to help them relax. Cures included candies made with the flower’s seeds; boiled leaves or seeds were added to baths or applied as compresses; infusions or extractions of poppy seeds were put in milk, etc. These remedies were common among the peoples of the Pale of Settlement, including the Ashkenazim, and can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians.

The Hebrew word for Poppy comes from the Latin name, Papaver: פאפאויר

The Yiddish Word for Poppy: מאָן (cf., German _Mohn_)

Photo credit: Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO


They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland before the Holocaust by Mayer Kirshenblatt and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

Polish Herbs, Flowers and Folk Medicine by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab

Baba’s Kitchen Medicines: Folk Remedies of Ukrainian Settlers in Western Canada by Michael Mucz

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