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The Nutritional and Health Benefits of Poppy Seeds or Khus Khus

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

White Poppy Seeds

Latin Name: Papaver somniferum.

The plant is called Opium poppy and its seeds are called poppy seeds.

In India, poppy seeds are called 'Khas Khas'.

About The Poppy Plant

Poppy seeds or Khas Khas have been used by ancient civilizations for their medicinal benefits in folk remedies for over 3000 years.

Poppy seeds are tiny kidney-shaped seeds that are used as a food ingredient in various cuisines around the world. They are so tiny that it takes over 3000 seeds to weigh just 1 gram.

The seeds are harvested only after the seed pod has dried fully due to which its narcotic content gets extremely low. Opium is harvested when the pods are green and has a good amount of latex but the seeds have just started to grow. Latex is the source of opium.

Poppy Seed Grinder

The seeds also yield poppy seed oil. After removing the oil, the resultant seed cake is used in animal feeds. Birdseed mixtures also contain poppy seeds These seeds are also given to pet birds to treat gastrointestinal problems.

Poppy seeds come mainly in white and black colours but they are available in brown and slate blue as well.

Of all the varieties of poppy, only the seeds of the opium poppy are edible, the rest are cultivated for their flowers. Primarily, though, poppy seeds have been used in food and cooking, also as a spice, condiment and also to garnish and thicken food.

They are used in Ayurvedic medicine too. The poppy seed oil has culinary, pharmaceutical and medicinal uses. It is also used in paints, varnishes and soaps.

They are also used in baked goods, desserts, candies, etc

Poppy seeds contain very low levels of opiates.

Poppy seeds can be ground by using a mortar and pestle or by a special poppy seed grinder which produces a fine yet less oily paste of the seeds as compared to a conventional grinder.

Aloo Posto | Bengali Potato Curry

Nutrition In Poppy Seeds

Some of the nutritional benefits of poppy seeds are :

  • The seeds are extremely rich in oleic and linoleic acids and also contain many essential volatile oils. The oil content of the seeds is 45 - 50%.
  • 100 grams of poppy seeds provide 51% of the daily requirement of dietary fibre.
  • They are an excellent source of the B-complex vitamins like thiamin and pantothenic acid and also contain good amounts of folates, pyridoxine and riboflavin.
  • Poppy seeds contain moderate amounts of Vitamin E and potassium.
  • However, they have exceptionally high amounts of the minerals calcium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, iron, zinc and magnesium as well as are moderately rich in selenium.
  • Dry poppy seeds have extremely low levels of opium alkaloids like morphine, codeine papaverine etc so when added to food they hardly affect the nervous system.

Dim Posto | Bengali Egg Curry

Dried Poppy Seed Pods

The source of poppy seeds - the dried poppy seed pods

The source of poppy seeds - the dried poppy seed pods

Nutrition In Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds (Papaver somniferum), 

Nutritional value per 100 g.


(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)



Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA


525 Kcal



28.13 g



17.99 g


Total Fat

41.56 g



0 mg


Dietary Fiber

19.5 g






82 mcg



0.896 mg


Pantothenic acid

0.324 mg



0.247 mg



0.100 mg



0.854 mg


Vitamin A

0 IU


Vitamin C

1 mg


Vitamin E

1.77 mg


Vitamin K

0 mg





26 mg



719 mg





1438 mg



01.627 mg



9.76 mg



347 mg



6.707 mg



870 mg



13.5 mcg



7.9 mg


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Black Poppy Seeds

Health Benefits Of Poppy Seeds

  • The oleic acid in poppy seeds reduces the risk of breast cancer while the linoleic acid prevents the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
  • Since poppy seeds reduce calcium absorption they help to prevent the formation of kidney stones.
  • Because of the abundance of calcium and phosphorus minerals, poppy seeds help to maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Additionally, these 2 minerals keep the heart muscles and nerve impulses working optimally.
  • The zinc and iron help in boosting the immune system as well as performing neurological functions well and maintain the cell and neurological development,
  • The dietary fibre and oleic acid aid in reducing cholesterol levels.
  • Poppy seeds aid in relieving respiratory problems like asthma and cough. They also help in promoting sleep.
  • A paste made of poppy seeds provides relief in joint pains.
  • Zinc aids in the production of sperm.
  • In Ayurvedic medicine, poppy seeds are used to prepare a moisturizer for the skin.
  • Poppy seeds relieve colic, abdominal pain and sciatica. They also control dysentery.


Poppy seeds are the least allergic of all nuts and seeds. They are safe for consumption by even pregnant women. Though the levels of narcotic compounds are low to cause any effects, consuming foods having poppy seeds can give a false result when tested for banned opiates. This can affect people like sportsmen or those who travel abroad and are blood tested.


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.


Some Of My Other Hubs On Healthy Foods

Khas-Khas ka Halwa Recipe

Khus - Khus Kheer

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly


janeshwar kumar jain on May 04, 2015:

Very informative and useful article.

Bharat on March 04, 2015:

hai rajan you are great thanks

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 14, 2013:

Paul, glad you find the info useful. Thanks for reading, giving votes and sharing.

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on May 13, 2013:


This is a very useful and interesting hub and I thought it was quite enlightening. When I lived in the States, I just loved eating poppy seed bread and rolls. For some reason when I was young, I never realized that they came from the opium poppy plant. You did a great job on this hub and I really learned a lot. Voted up and sharing. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 19, 2013:

Thanks Catriona! Glad you like this. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

Catriona Lewis on March 19, 2013:

Really an informative post. I appriciate your efforts. The topic which you mentioned above can be very useful to everyone to workout. Marvelous job. Keep the good work going. Good Luck for the future posts.

C E Clark from North Texas on March 17, 2013:

I always learn so much from your hubs! I love poppy seeds and it looks like we should all be eating some regularly. Love the inclusion of recipes too. Voted up, useful, and will share!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 17, 2013:

@ Nithya - thanks for reading and commenting.

@ Rasma - good to have your feedback. Thanks for visiting and sharing.

@ moonlake - I should be trying out those muffins. Do you have a recipe for it? Thanks for stopping by.

@ Margaret - good for you. Thanks for the read, votes and sharing.

Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on March 17, 2013:

I love poppy seeds on Bagels, so glad to hear that I'm getting some good nutritional value from these seeds. Another great hub - voted up, useful and sharing.

moonlake from America on March 17, 2013:

Love poppy seed lemon muffins. I try to grow poppies but they just don't last for me here. Intereting hub and information. Voted up.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on March 17, 2013:

Always love fresh baked bread sprinkled with black poppy seeds. We also have special sweet rolls baked here with poppy seeds. Thanks for another informative and interesting hub. Good to know there a so many health benefits to them. Passing this on.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 16, 2013:

Another great health hub, thanks for sharing and voted up.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 16, 2013:

@ Bill - thanks!

@ Eddy - glad you like. Thank you.

@ Bake Like a Pro - Glad you find these informative. Appreciate the comments and share.

@ Joe - you're right, it could be spelt either way and yes you can go right ahead and eat those poppy seed rolls without fear, my friend.

Thanks for reading.

@ Kathryn - glad you found this informative. Thanks fro visiting.

@ Bill - poppy plant is a source of opium but only the latex; not the seeds. Glad this cleared some doubts. Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate the vote and share.

@ Rock - it's my pleasure, my friend and I appreciate your comments and visit. Thanks.

John Coviello from New Jersey on March 16, 2013:

Another great Hub Rajan. I enjoy your Hubs about the nutritional benefits of many foods I already eat, like poppy seeds, and some I've never even heard of, but should know about.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on March 16, 2013:

Hi rajan. I never knew. This is really interesting, I always associated the Poppy plant with the drug. Great information, thanks for sharing with us. Up, sharing, etc....

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on March 16, 2013:

I like poppy seeds in baked goods, although I don't have them much. I have never seen what the pods looked like before. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on March 16, 2013:

Most interesting, rajan!

In my former line of work, we were told NOT to eat poppy seed rolls because one might come up with a positive UA during random testing. So I avoided them like the plague. Now that I'm my own boss, I can indulge all I want. LOL! It's nice to learn about the many health benefits of this wonderful seed. So, the spellings, khas khas and khus khus are used interchangeably, yes?

Bake Like a Pro on March 16, 2013:

Another great hub rajan. Your articles are always educational and fascinating. As always I enjoyed reading it and liked the cooking videos too. Voted up and sharing.

Eiddwen from Wales on March 16, 2013:

Another great share. I vote up and thank you for sharing.


Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 16, 2013:

Very interesting...the least allergenic....I did not know that so thank you for the information. Well done as always.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 16, 2013:

@ Devika - Thank you for the support.

@ formosangirl - glad you like the info.

@ Aurelio - No, it is a different dish altogether. I haven't found any connection between the two. Thanks for reading.

@ Carol - thanks and appreciate your support.

@ Cas - You're welcome and thanks for visiting.

Cas Merchant from Worcester, Massachusetts on March 16, 2013:

Very interesting...thanks for sharing!

carol stanley from Arizona on March 16, 2013:

I rarely use poppyseeds..I know people who get tested regularly cannot eat them. Surprised to find out how healthful they are. What can I say Rajan..your hubs are always so interesting especially for someone like me who is always looking for healthful solutions naturally. Up and share.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on March 16, 2013:

I guess the obvious question to ask is does the term "couscous" come from a variation of the word "khus khus?" Is that Arabic dish primarily made with poppy seed, or is it just a coincidence? Voting this Up and Interesting.

formosangirl from Los Angeles on March 16, 2013:

This is very interesting, especially when you can't escape poppy seeds on rolls. Thanks for the research.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 16, 2013:

Poppy seeds used in cuisines and in baking, for its flavors also used as a drug we have lovely red poppy flowers in Croatia. Most interesting information as always you manage to surprise me with another informative hub.

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