Master plant: Papaver somniferum L.
Papaveraceae (Poppy family)
Opium poppy is native to Southern Europe and Asia Minor and is cultivated in numerous countries for the extraction of the seed, oil and opium.
The poppy seed oil is produced by pressing out the ripe and cleaned poppy seeds. The ?red poppy seed oil? is won through a hot-press methodology whereby a considerably higher oil yield is obtained.
Characteristics and substances:
Poppy seed oil ranges from pale to dark yellow in color, has a pleasant smell and a delicate, nutty aromatic taste. It is rich in glycerides of alpha- and beta-linoleic acid, linolenic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid and stearic acid - that is why it ranks among the cholesterol-lowering edible oils. The oil has a limited shelf life and should be stored in a dark, cool place.
Poppy seed oil is used as edible oil. In pharmaceutics it is found mainly in ointments and emulsions due to its ability to penetrate the skin easily and mild odour. It is also used to produce light colours for artistic painting because oil colours on the basis of poppy seed oil hardly turn yellow.