Etymology of Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds are oilseeds obtained from poppy plant. The botanical name of the plant is ‘Papaver somniferum’. It belongs to the ‘Papaveraceae’ family. While the poppy plant is also known to be the source of opium, the seeds that are extracted from the pods are completely harmless. It is known as ‘Khus Khus’ in Hindi, ‘Gasagasalu’ in Telugu, ‘Kasa Kasa’ in Tamil, ‘Kas Kas’in Malayalam, ‘Gasegase’ in Kannada, ‘Posto’ in Bengali and ‘Khush Khush’ in Punjabi. The poppy seeds are consumed extensively in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Types of Poppy Seeds
There are different varieties of poppy seeds. Some of the popular types are:
Usage of Poppy Seeds in Medicine
Poppy seed is widely used for culinary purposes. The seeds contain a plethora of nutrients and essential minerals that the body requires for the regulation of various processes. The most important benefit of poppy seeds is the prevention of heart disease. The iron and phosphorus in the seeds maintain bone health and muscles. Its seeds are demulcent and are used against constipation. The capsules are used as a sedative against irritant coughing and sleeplessness in the form of syrup or extract. Poppy seeds have anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce itchiness.
Usage of Poppy Seeds in Indian Cuisine
In India, the poppy seeds have found their way into many cuisines. In West Bengal, the white poppy seeds is much loved and used in plenty of preparations like ‘Aloo Posto’, ‘Posto Bora’ or eaten only as a paste, with chopped onions, chillies, mustard oil and rice. Poppy seeds make a good thickening agent and are often being added in curries. A Goan curry is made with poppy seeds. In Maharashtra, it is used in making ‘Pudachi Wadi’. A simple paratha made with poppy seed stuffing can be delicious with pickle on the side.