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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Opium


O'PIUM, noun [Latin opium; Gr. from juice.]

Opium is the inspissated juice of the capsules of the papaver somniferum, or somniferous white poppy with which the fields in Asia Minor are sown, as ours are with wheat and rye. It flows from incisions made in the heads of the plant, and the best flows from the first incision. It is imported into Europe and America from the Levant and the East Indies. It is brought in cakes or masses weighing from eight ounces to a pound. It is heavy, of a dense texture, of a brownish yellow color, not perfectly dry, but easily receiving an impression from the finger; it has a dead and faint smell, and its taste is bitter and acrid. opium is of great use as a medicine.