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Pronunciation: o'pe-um

Definition: The air-dried milky exudation obtained by incising the unripe capsules of Papaver somniferum (family Papaveraceae) or the variant, P. album. Contains some 20 alkaloids, including morphine, noscapine, codeine, papaverine, and thebaine, about 10% all in varying amounts. Used as an analgesic, hypnotic, and diaphoretic, and for diarrhea and spasmodic conditions.

Synonym(s): gum opium, meconium2

[L. fr. G. opion, poppy-juice]

Further information

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© Copyright 2019 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review date: Sep 19, 2016.