The field poppy has become a poignant symbol of war. The seed which can lie dormant for many years, germinated where land was disturbed by the battles of the First World War. Seeing poppies bloom on the battlefields inspired the Canadian medical officer Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae to write the poem In Flanders Fields
'In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row…'
The seeds are used in baking, notably poppy seed cake and bread.
The flowers have been used as a mild pain reliever in earache, toothache and neuralgia. A syrup made from red poppy flowers was used to help children sleep. Other species of poppy have a stronger sedative action.
I collect poppy flowers and several other flowers to make a blend to help relieve asthma symptoms.