Wild Remedies – Red Poppy Glycerite

A few years ago, I decided to try to grow vegetables in my garden. We went to a great deal of effort digging out a little plot and adding compost to it, picking which vegetables we were going to grow and lovingly planting them.. then I’m not sure what happened. I have a feeling I became pregnant with my first baby and when that happened all of my energy and enthusiasm for most things disappeared for the first trimester at least! The poor vegetable plot became very neglected and early in this spring had become completely overgrown with weeds.

Wildflower plot

This year, it was time to rescue it! After some weeding, we turned over the soil and planted a wigwam of sweet peas, and over the rest of the ground, I sprinkled a packet of wild flower seeds, just to see what would happen.

A few months later, this is now the most beautiful corner of my garden, the sweet peas are doing so well and what was once the vegetable patch is full of red poppies.

Completely enamoured by these bright red blooms that are filling my vegetable patch, I did a little research into poppies. They look and feel so fragile, with a thin stem and fine petals that fall off the flower to the touch – but they are actually very strong, despite appearances. They flower all summer long, and each mature plant produces around 17,000 seeds a year, which can sit in a state of dormancy for fifty years or more, awaiting the right conditions to bloom again.

Photograph by Henry Bee
Photograph by Henry Bee

Poppy seeds will flourish when the ground they are resting in is disturbed, for example with new ploughing or trenches being dug – which explains why poppies suddenly flowered amongst the fields of the Great War, and why a red poppy is worn on Remembrance Sunday to remember the fallen.

Red Poppy

In the herbal medicine cabinet, red poppy is useful for insomnia, coughs, nervous digestion, irritable bowel syndrome, headache and anxiety – and also helpful in calming down over excited children who are having difficulty getting to sleep. It has weak opitates, unlike the famous opium poppy, which has strong opiates and is used in many pain relieving medications such as morphine.

I decided to make a red poppy glycerite by harvesting some of the poppy petals from my garden. This will have similar healing properties to a red poppy tincture, but as it doesn’t use alcohol, and has a lovely sweet taste, it is much better to use with children.

Red Poppy Glycerite

First, fill a glass jar with a tight fitting lid with a mixture of 60% vegetable glycerine (I purchased mine from eBay) and 40% spring water.

Add red poppy petals to the mixture, and stir with a wooden spatula so that the petals are covered with the glycerine mixture, then put the lid on the jar and place it on a sunny windowsill, regularly stirring the mixture gently with your spatula, once a day or so.

After about a week, the poppy petals will have faded to white, and the glycerine mixture will turn red. As poppies continue to bloom all summer, now is a good time to remove the faded petals from the mixture and add fresh ones, as I have done in the last image above.

Once your liquid is a deep red colour, it can be strained into a bottle using a muslin cloth, and you have your own home made, natural medicine, which can be used to help coughs, headaches and nervous digestion.

Wildflower Seeds

I’m really looking forward to having this medicine on hand in my herbal remedies cabinet for my family over the winter months, and I’m so glad that I sprinkled those wild flower seeds earlier this year!

If you’d like to try planting your own wildflower garden, these pretty packets of seeds are available from Home Of Juniper. They contain a mix of bee and butterfly friendly flower seeds which include poppies. They’re only 95p each and would make a lovely gift too – pop a packet into a card that you’re sending to a friend, or add to your Christmas gifts for the promise of a summer full of blooms! They would also make a great teacher’s gift. Home of Juniper are offering a generous 15% off and free shipping with the code sparkle15 for readers of The Sparkle Next until the end of August 2017, so now is a good time to stock up!


The recipe for red poppy glycerite is from the amazing ‘Hedgerow Medicine’ by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal.

Red Poppy Glycerite

About The Author


Mama of two beautiful boys. I’m veggie, vintage loving, a bit of a crafter and a bit of a hippy. I love the countryside and pretty things.


  1. Stephanie Merry | 25th Jul 17

    I’ve never heard of doing this with poppies before but I love the idea x
    Stephanie Merry recently posted…A step up from The Ordinary, introducing NIODMy Profile

  2. Samantha Bye | 25th Jul 17

    This looks exactly like something I need! I wish I had a garden to grow flowers in, so nice having space for it!
    Samantha Bye recently posted…The Fad Diet Diaries #1: Protein WorldMy Profile

  3. Cassandra Mayers | 25th Jul 17

    You know, I never knew that fact about poppies and the trenches. You learn something new every day :)
    Cassandra Mayers recently posted…Puppy Surprise ReviewMy Profile

  4. Mummy Times Two | 25th Jul 17

    You have such a beautiful garden. I love both poppies and sweet peas.

  5. Sarah Bailey | 25th Jul 17

    Poppies are such a beautiful flower I always think and I love they thrive in the times others wouldn’t a very hardy flower. I would love to sow a wildflower garden but we don’t have the room sadly.
    Sarah Bailey recently posted…Top Tips for travelling Route 66My Profile

  6. Ashleigh Dougherty | 25th Jul 17

    Such a lovely idea! Unfortunately, my dog eats all the flowers in the garden so we can’t plant any more haha!
    Ashleigh Dougherty recently posted…9 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED FROM LOVE ISLANDMy Profile

  7. MELANIE EDJOURIAN | 25th Jul 17

    What a great alternative to a tincture. I haven’t used a glycerine based herbal product before I must try to make some myself what a lovely post. Thanks so much for sharing.
    MELANIE EDJOURIAN recently posted…Is It Time to Upgrade Your Old Phone?My Profile

  8. Rhian Westbury | 26th Jul 17

    I’ve never heard of this before but it’s great that you’re going to be able to use what’s growing in your garden in a positive way x
    Rhian Westbury recently posted…Practicing Self-Love: Things I’m Thankful OfMy Profile

  9. Kira | 26th Jul 17

    This is really handy to know! I don’t really know much about home remedies!
    Kira recently posted…How I afford to travelMy Profile

  10. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes | 27th Jul 17

    Poppies seem to have so many great uses, I love that you revived your vegetable patch :)
    Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes recently posted…BBQ Chipotle ChickenMy Profile

  11. Danielle | 27th Jul 17

    I never would have thought to do this with poppies, but that’s such a great idea.

  12. Afshan Nasim | 27th Jul 17

    Poppies are really a nice flower, love the redness between the green. Who would have known that they have such great medicinal power. This is a good way to make medicine and will have to try it.
    Afshan Nasim recently posted…Cold Sores and LipivirMy Profile

  13. Ayesha Farhad | 28th Jul 17

    I love poppies! And my mum always has red poppy glycerite handy in her medicine stash! its such a life saver!
    Ayesha Farhad recently posted…Saving & Budgeting As A Stay-At-Home Parent.My Profile

  14. Candice Nikeia | 28th Jul 17

    So much great information! They look so beautiful!

  15. Angela Milnes | 28th Jul 17

    You have such a beautiful garden. Such a nice idea.

  16. Stephanie Usher | 29th Jul 17

    I had no idea Poppies were so useful, what a great idea! xxx
    Stephanie Usher recently posted…Jelly & Gelato | The Summer Range By Zoella BeautyMy Profile

  17. Five simple ways to live a greener life | The Sparkle Nest | 8th Aug 17

    […] that we can fill with wildflowers, but any patch you may have will do! I wrote in my last post about red poppies about how I made my un-used vegetable patch into a little wildflower patch, but you could even do […]

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge