Opium: Biological Source,Medicinal Uses,Morphological features and MCQ


1. Biological source:

• The botanical name of opium- Papaver somniferum.
• The biological source is dried latex obtained from its seed capsule.
• It is commonly known as opium poppy or breadseed poppy.
• It belongs to the papaveraceae family.

2. Morphological features:

• It is a flowering plant and valuable ornamental plant.
• It is an annual herb having height upto 50-150cm.
• It have grayish green appearance and it is strongly glaucous.
• The stem and leaves of this herb contain a sparse distribution of coarse hairs.
• The leaves are lobed in shape.
• The lowest leaves have short petiole.
• The size of flowers are upto 30-100mm in diameter.
• Flowers have white, mauve or red petals and have dark marking at the base sometimes.
• The shape of fruits is round and capsulated.
• Fruits are hairless and topped with 12-18 radiating stigmatic rays or fluted cap.
• From the all parts of plant, latex exude in case of wound.
• Flowers are solitary and nodding in the bud and they also have caducous sepals.
• The ovary is unilocular which contains numerous ovules attached to parietal placentas.
• The capsule of fruit is opened by the means of small valves, which are equal in numbers to the carples ,
• It situated below the stellate stigma.

3. Chemical constituents:

• Opium contain alkaloids as chemical constituent.
• It contain 30 types of alkaloids which are largely combined with organic acid i.e. melonic acid.
• Other chemical constituents of opium are sugars ,salts(sulphates).
• They also contain albuminous substance as chemical constituent.
• Coloring matters and water are also present in opium.
• For example ,morphine contain alkaloids in which phenanthrene nucleus is present.
• The papaverine group have a benylisoquinoline structure.
• Opium consist of protopine and hydrocotarnine alkaloids mostly.
• Morphine molecule also consist of both phenolic and an alcoholic hydroxyl group.

4. Adulteration :

It is commonly adultered by sugary fruits, gum and powdered poppy capsules.

5. Uses :

• It is used to relieve pain widely.
• It have narcotic properties.
• As hypnotics,they work only on sensory nerve cells of the cerebrum.
• Codeine is used as mild sedative than morphine.
• They are also used to allying coughing.
• Morphine and codeine both are also used to treat diabetes, as they decrease metabolism and are used before the introduction of insulin.
• Opium also have diaphoretic property.
• It is also used to treat constipation.


1. What is the botanical name of opium?
(a) Brassica juncea
(b) Allium cepa
(c) Papaver semiferum
(d) Senecia cinerana

2. What is the biological source of opium?
(a) Root
(b) Dried latex of seed
(c) Leaves
(d) Bark

3. Match the following with respect to the chemical constituents of plant.
A. Caffeine I. Opium
B. Alkaloid II. Coffee
C. Psychotrine III.Ipecac
D. Ergometrine IV. Ergot

4. Choose incorrect statement with respect to the therapeutic uses of plants.
I. Opium is used to treat jaundice.
II. Ipecac work as expectorant.
III. Nux vomica is used to treat constipation.
IV. Ephedra contain anti-inflammatory action.
(a) Only I
(b) Only II
(c) Both III and IV
(d) Only IV

5. What are the common adulterant of opium?
(a) Sugar
(b) Salt
(c) Both a and b
(d) All of the above

6. What is the shape of leaves of opium?
(a) Needle shape
(b) Lobed shape
(c) Palm shape
(d) Elliptic shape

7. What is the height of opium plant?
(a) 100cm
(b) 80cm
(c) 50cm
(d) 60 cm

8. Opium is used to
(a) Relieve pain
(b) Treat constipation
(c) Treat diabetes
(d) All of the above

9. Opium is used to treat diabetes because
(a) It has an action on the insulin secretion
(b) It helps to decrease metabolism
(c) It has sedative effect
(d) All of the above

10. opium used as
(a) Diaphoretics
(b) Hypnotics
(c) Sedative
(d) All of the above


1. (c)
2. (b)
3. (d)
4. (a)
5. (c)
6. (b)
7. (a)
8. (d)
9. (b)
10. (d)


Evans W.C, Editors. Trease and Evans Pharmacognosy , New York, Saunders Elsevier; 2009, p.377


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

sixteen + seventeen =

Designed & Developed by ThemeXpert