Opium Definition - What Is Opium ?

What is opium?

Opium is the dried milky juice of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum; 'somniferum "means" sleep bringing'), which contains a number of alkaloids of which codeine, morphine, noscapine and papaverine are the most important. Means mentioned opioids are extracted from opium, but not all opioids are extracted from opium, it is better to speak in this context opioids. Laudanum is the tincture of opium.

 which contains a number of alkaloids of which codeine Opium Definition - What Is Opium ?

Opiates and related substances

Heroin is a morphine derivative which is produced by acetylation of morphine. There are other opiates with similar properties: analgesic, sedative (hypnotic), cough suppressant and constipating (intestinal retardant). All of these substances are to a greater or lesser extent, addictive. Codeine is somewhat, morphine and heroin quite strong very strong. The related substance methadone, which is used in the withdrawal of heroin addicts, is a synthetic compound having a morphine like effect.

Opium was formerly untreated used by to eat it. That was in China until the 18th century the usual way of consuming opium. The smoking of opium in Taiwan according to Chinese sources would have been discovered. The opium pipe for smoking of pure opium was in use from 1800 to 1900. Opium in China itself for centuries in moderation was used as medicine or as a stimulant, but Marco Polo made no mention of opium. When the Dutch East India Company and the British East India Company went more and more the Chinese opium sales, got the Chinese Government attention to the disruptive impact of the opium trade. Attempts to stop the imports were in the opium wars by Western countries with much violence thwarted. Only after the seizure of power by Mao Zedong for China came to an end to the devastating massive opium addiction.

Addiction to opiates is everywhere in the world is still an important social and medical problem; morphine and heroin, however, in addition also still belong to the most effective pain relievers. The indications for codeine are above all the fight against moderately severe pain, cough and a low dose is effective against diarrhea.

Opium winning

The opium is extracted from the opium, or the capsule that forms the plant after it has finished, notching. It is white latex to drip out on the seed box brown dries. The solidified wondsap is then collected. By purification are here won morphine and codeine and heroin through chemical processes.

The opium is not difficult to grow in not too cold climates. Due to lack of a central government with sufficient authority nowadays especially in Afghanistan, in the Golden Sickle, rebuilt much opium. Until 1991, Myanmar, in the Golden Triangle, the largest opium producing country.

The Dutch East India Company drove for an important part on the lucrative trade in opium. They dropped the distribution after 1745 over to the society of the Amfioen trade.

The word opium

The word opium is derived from Latin, and dates in Dutch from the sixteenth century (1554). In addition, in earlier centuries the anglicized term heulsap usual; heul in this context, "poppy", and is related to the Latin oleum "oil". The strange word "opium" is moreover entered into Dutch by the Portuguese afiao (1596) and had the shape amfioen or, in an older spelling, amphioen.
The word "opium" is also used metaphorically. By Karl Marx and Lenin was described religion as "the opium of the people". Marx explained this: the religion was "the sigh of the cornered stocky creature, the sentiment of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions"; In short, he held the same role as opium.

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