My mother makes this incredible wheat flour and jaggery ladoos (balls) which she then rolls in poppy seeds or khus khus. Every winter, she would make this ladoo and we would enjoy to our heart’s content.
After I moved to Mumbai, she still sends them to me. However, it was only when my sister moved to Canada, that we came to know that these poppy seeds covered wheat flour ladoos are banned there. That is because poppy seeds in many countries are considered to be narcotics. Heroin and poppy seeds are derived from the same source – opium poppy.
In India, khus khus is widely used in its cuisine and Ayurvedic preparations like traditional medicines and cough mixtures.
However, be informed that Khus Khus is different from khus or Vetiver grass from which Khus sherbet is made or the grass that is used in air coolers or traditional curtains to keep out hot air in the summer.
This herb is a rich source of omega-6 fatty acid and also has protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers.
Let’s look at the poppy seeds benefits:
- Heals eczema and inflammation
- Treats mouth ulcers. Ulcers are said to manifest due to excessive heat in the body, while khus khus is known to have a cooling effect on the body which helps in relieving mouth ulcers.
- Improves female fertility
- Helps treat kidney stones
- Enhances digestion
- Cures insomnia
- Regulates blood pressure
- Enhances thyroid function
- Boosts immunity
- Improves bone density
- Prevents respiratory problems
- Treats dandruff
- Moisturizes skin
- Relieves pain. The opium alkaloids present help in pain relief.
How to use poppy seeds?
- Khus khus has have a slight nutty flavor and are used to in breads, rolls, pastries, poppy seeds muffins, and confectionery.
- They are also used to thicken gravies or curries by soaking in warm water or milk for a few hours and then grinding them. These seeds are widely used in Bengali cuisine. It is called posto and some of the popular Bengali dishes that use white poppy seeds paste are Aloo Posto, Postor Bora, Chachuri, etc.
- Poppy seeds tea is also quite popular. Just steep a handful of seeds in hot water for some time. Strain. Add lemon and/or honey and enjoy this tea.
Where to buy poppy seeds?
I am very careful while buying Ayurvedic products. I buy only from a trusted source like an Ayurvedic shop from where I can buy authentic products. Also, you can buy from Amazon too. I buy many food items from Amazon especially when they are not available nearby. Once you buy khus khus, remove any small stones or dirt before using it.
Word of caution
Like with any food, these seeds are safe if consumed in moderation. Excess of anything is harmful. In some people, they can cause allergic reactions. Also, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers need to be careful and should consume only small amounts of khus khus.