|Lactuca scariola Linn. (Asteraceae) /
L. serriola Linn.
Lettuce appears to have been used for salads from a very early period. The Persian Kings used it 400 years before the Christian era. The Romans and Greeks considered the lettuce as unlucky and used it only at funerals as a food.
It is found wild in the western Himalayan region of India, from Murree to Kunawar.
Morphology Description (Habit)
It is an erect leafy plant, usually prickly towards the base. The leaves are sessile, pinnatifid, and prickly beneath on the midrib and nerves. The inflorescence is similar to that of cultivated lettuce. The seeds are grey and oblong. Lactuca scariola var sativa (Synonym: L. sativa) is the cultivated variety, cultivated throughout the world.
Lactupicrin has been isolated.
Lactupicrin, the active constituent is a bitter tonic.
In large doses it produce to a certain extent narcotic and sedative effects.
Lettuce is considered a rejuvenator.