Our Story of Wild Lettuce

Our Story of Wild Lettuce

In Woodland Herbal we often mention the many generations of healers in our family. Our Wild Lettuce Tincture is an extract originally created by Jeff and Barb Keith at their Ohio home, The Twisted Post Ranch. They are the parents of Jenni, grandparents to Leah, and Great Nana and Pap to little Rowan.

In early spring the couple carefully prepared the soil in their herb garden to plant wild lettuce seeds. While many types of lettuce grow wild in the area, they were careful to plant Lactuca Virosa, the strongest medicinal lettuce.

Jeff, a retired ironworker, is our favorite guinea pig when making pain relievers. Having had knee replacements and shoulder surgeries, he’s the perfect candidate for our trials, where he has helped greatly providing feedback on our salves and liniments. While he was reading an old indigenous herb book, he found mention of wild lettuce and it’s traditional uses. Wild lettuce is full of the natural chemical lactucarium and when prepared correctly it could help ease pain in muscles and joints, while acting as a mild sedative, helping insomnia and restlessness, and soothing a persistent cough. Helping these ailments earned the plant the nickname "opium lettuce" and so it was used as an opium substitute through the 19th century. 

Deciding it was worth a try, he and Barb grew and made the medicine. When asked about it, Barb exclaimed, "It tastes like I licked the blades on the lawnmower, but it works so good it's worth taking!" So impressed with the results, they decided to make enough to share and help others.

Married 43 years, Barb and Jeff have grown and used herbs together since the beginning. It is joyous to watch the pair work together harvesting big prickly leaves to fill a basket and toss nibbles to circling chickens. Though the horses prefer sliced apples, they happily shared a leaf or two with Jeff "Lady and the Tramp" style.

They brought the basket to their sunny kitchen to pack big mason jars with freshly washed herb to create a tincture. The kitchen is full of laughter and their love seemed to overflow to the remedy itself. Loving parents is one of the oldest and most potent medicines there is. There's nothing more soothing than a cool hand on your brow, a kiss on your cheek, and blankets tucked firmly around you. They create Wild Lettuce tincture, thinking of people in pain they wished to help, making it a powerful addition to your medicine cabinet. Intent is as important as the ingredients inside that make the medicine work. Instead of picking up another bottle of pain relievers at the pharmacy, we hope you will give their tincture a try!

Jennifer Parsons

Jennifer Parsons

Jenni is a life long herbalist who is a book obsessed, nature lover, who follows the old ways, and who lives and loves by wit, wisdom, and community.


I honestly rarely go through my email but today I’m glad I did. I opened and read your email and then clicked on the story and just had a joy reading it.

With a couple of games on my phone I had gotten in a habit of playing those, instead of reading emails, whenever I popped down for a break.

I make capsules up of dried wild lettuce. It works very well.

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