15 Amazing Benefits Of Poppy Seeds (Khus Khus) July 1, 2016

Poppy seed, commonly known as ‘khus khus‘ in Hindi, ‘Gasagasalu‘ in Telugu, ‘Kasa Kasa‘ in Tamil, ‘Kas Kas‘ in Malayalam, ‘Gasagase‘ in Kannada, ‘Khuskhush‘ in Gujarati, ‘Khas Khas‘ in Marathi, ‘Posto‘ in Bengali and ‘Khush khush‘ in Punjabi. It is essentially the oilseed derived from the poppy plant (scientific name: Papaver somniferum). These seeds do not contain narcotic properties. They are small and deformed in shape, slate-blue in colour, having a crisp texture and nut-like flavour.

They are customary in flavored bread, cakes, rolls and cookies. Poppy seeds are often sprinkled on top of dishes, used as garnish or as a spice with farm cheese, cheese, eggs, pie crust, salad, cookies, cakes, bread, pastries, salads, sauce, curries, sauces for meat and fish, vegetables and noodles.

Cooking gently in a dry fry pan makes it crisp and oozes out the seed’s full nutty flavour. In India, poppy seeds (khus khus seeds) are used in Dal and Raita for seasoning or as ‘tadka’. Poppy seeds have been cultivated for over 3,000 years. During the second century women used to cultivate flower plants for this controlled substance and steer it into medication. Muslim and Arabian countries used controlled substances as drugs and narcotics during the 6th century. Poppy seeds are grown in various European nations and in countries like Australia, India and Turkey. Besides being used as an ingredient in several foods, these seeds are ironed to yield flavoured oil having nutritive qualities.

People typically express concern over the narcotic properties of the flower plant from which poppy seeds are derived. Though it is true that the unripe seed of the plant contains alkaloids like morphine, a painkiller which might be addictive, the ripe seeds used for preparations contain only traces which do not seem to cause any form of addiction. However, we should keep in mind that even trace amounts of the alkaloids will cause a false positive end in drug tests. The alkaloids will stay within the body up to 2 days and hence, continuous result checks should be performed.

Poppy Seeds Health Benefits:

1. Poppy seeds are effective in quenching thirst, fever, inflammation, constipation and irritation of the abdomen.

2. Poppy seeds are one of the necessary ingredients in many cooling medicines.

3. Poppy seeds act as a supply of your daily dose of minerals like iodine, manganese, zinc, magnesium and copper.

4. The oil from poppy seeds plant is useful in treating carcinoma as it contains monounsaturated fatty acids.

5. Poppy seeds add flavour and texture to breads, cookies, muffins, cakes and other foods.

6. As an Ayurvedic medicine, these seeds are sometimes grounded into a paste with milk to form a skin-renewing moisturizer.

[ Read: Buckwheat Benefits ]

7. Poppy seeds contain Linoleic acid that is beneficial in preventing heart disorders and abdomen conditions.

8. These seeds have a decent supply of fatty acids that are needed for the body’s physiological state. They are found to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

9.  Poppy seeds also are used as narcotics to treat pain-related conditions. They’re utilized in treating respiratory disorders, infectious diseases, diarrhoea and sleep disorders.

10. Poppy seeds relatively contain lower quantity of alkaloids and are used in the treatment of various nerve disorders.

Poppy Seeds: Skin Benefits

As already stated, poppy seeds are a wonderful beauty aid. Their role in skincare has been recognized in Ayurveda. Nutritious as they are, they can be beneficial to your skin in the following ways.

11. Treatment of Eczema and Inflammation:

Poppy seeds are effective in treating eczema due to their high content of linolenic acid. Poppy seeds soaked in water or milk can be ground along with lime juice to form a smooth paste. Applying this paste externally helps in treating burning sensation and skin itchiness. It also acts as an effective pain killer by relieving the pain caused by skin inflammation.

12. Good Moisturizer:

  • A paste made from poppy seeds acts as a good moisturizer to provide you with smooth and soft skin.
  • All you need to do is put some poppy seeds in a spice hand grinder and add some milk to it.
  • If you have dry skin, you can also add some honey.
  • Grind into a smooth paste and apply it all over your face.
  • Relax for 10 minutes and then wash off.
  • Doing this once in a week will provide a fragile transparency to your skin.

13. Poppy Seed Scrub for Clear Skin:

  • You can prepare a face scrub by mixing 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds with curd.
  • Rub it gently on clean face and neck in circular motions, massaging for 10 minutes.
  • Then wipe off your face with a cotton ball and wash off as usual.
  • This will provide you with a clear and glowing complexion.

Poppy Seeds: Hair Benefits

Hair problems like dandruff, hair loss, thinning hair, split ends and alopecia are a common sight these days. There can be several causes of these problems ranging from harsh chemical treatments and exposure to pollution to inadequate nutrition and prolonged illness. It is a well-known fact that proper nutrition is vital not only for a healthy body but also for healthy hair. Poppy seeds are a good source of unsaturated fatty acids as well as minerals like calcium, zinc and magnesium which contribute to healthy hair.

14. Treatment of Dandruff:

  • Dandruff is a common problem which, if left untreated can lead to hair loss.
  • In case of dandruff, you can apply a mixture of soaked poppy seeds, hung curd and a teaspoon of white pepper on the scalp.
  • Leave for half an hour and then rinse off.
  • Regular usage of this pack will significantly reduce the recurrence of dandruff.

15. Stimulates Hair Growth:

  • In order to trigger hair growth, you can prepare a hair pack by blending soaked poppy seeds with freshly extracted coconut milk and pulped onion.
  • Apply it on your scalp and leave for about an hour.
  • Rinse off with a mild shampoo.
  • Regular usage of this pack will greatly stimulate hair growth.

How to Select and Store?

Selection: Proper selection of food items is vital, especially in the present scenario when food adulteration is a common phenomenon. As far as poppy seeds are concerned, several varieties are available which vary in color from ivory to beige, light grey to dark grey, black or bluish depending upon the cultivar type. The European variety called Maw is dark grey in color, the Indian variety is ivory to beige while the Turkish variety is tobacco-brown in color. Poppy seeds are available in both fresh and ground form. They have a high content of polyunsaturated fats and hence, vulnerable to oxidation. Thus, they can      turn rancid easily. Make sure to buy good quality whole seeds from an authentic store having a good sale to ensure that they are fresh. They should be tiny and light.


The best way to store poppy seeds is to keep them in a cool, dry, dark place in an airtight container. These can stay fresh for up to 6 months. They should be kept away from moisture.

Tips for Usage (Cooking/Eating)

  • Poppy seeds are used in various cultures to impart their rich nutty flavor to the recipes.
  • Before proceeding to use them, clean the seeds properly to remove any kind of stone.
  • These should be soaked in warm water or milk for 2 hours.
  • Drain these and leave to dry.
  • These soaked seeds can be used alone or ground with other spices to thicken gravy or curries.

Poppy seeds are tasteless but when heated, they obtain a nutty, spicy-sweet flavor. Roasting or baking makes them smell mild and sweet while deep frying releases special aromatic oils, making them crunchier. Given below are a few tips to enjoy poppy seeds in various recipes.

1. Toasted poppy seeds are often used to garnish breads and rolls, ground in sauces and pastry fillings or added to vegetables and salad dressings.

For toasting the seeds, place them in a small dry skillet and heat them over medium heat, stirring constantly until fragrant, for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Toasted poppy seeds are widely used in Turkish cuisine.

2. Poppy seeds are often added to buttered egg noodles, fruit salad dressings and yeast breads. Their nutty flavor and texture makes them usable in breads, cakes, pastries, curries, confectionery and pancakes.

3. In India, it is used along with a variety of mixed spices in small proportion. Korma is a popular dish in which ground poppy seeds are combined with coconut and other spices to prepare the spice to be added to it at the end of the cooking step. The whole poppy seeds are also used in chutneys.

4. White poppy seeds are called posto in West Bengal and Bangladesh. These seeds are used as a main ingredient in popular Bengali dishes like ‘Aloo posto’, ‘Chachuri’ and ‘Postor Bora.’ Aloo Posto is prepared by cooking a large amount of ground poppy seeds together with potatoes to provide a rich creamy texture. Potatoes can also be replaced with onions, ridge gourd, chicken or prawns.

5. ‘Gasagase Payase’ is a popular dish of Karnataka. It is basically a liquid dessert prepared with white poppy seeds, jaggery, coconut and milk.

6. In Maharashtra, poppy seeds are used in garnishing a special sweet called ‘anarsa’ prepared during the festival of Diwali.

7. Patties made from powdered poppy seeds are often grilled or sometimes fried. A rice dish can be prepared by simply mixing uncooked ground poppy seeds with mustard oil, chopped green chilli peppers and rice.

8. Poppy seeds cooked with jaggery and coconut are enveloped in a case of a flaky pastry and deep fried to prepare a delicious sweet called ‘karanji.’

9. In Andhra Pradesh, white poppy seeds paste is used to prepare a masala which is used in preparing exotic dishes with chicken, meat and vegetables.

10. In Austria and Hungary, poppy seeds are used in preparing popular sweet pastry dishes like Strudel and Germknodel.

11. It is difficult to grind poppy seeds. A special poppy seed grinder is used for this purpose. But if you do not have it, you can first lightly roast the seeds, using a mortar and pestle. These seeds can be used in whole form or crushed in cooking or bakery. When using them in uncooked food such as salads, it is advisable to roast them lightly first as this enhances their flavor and aroma.

12. Ground poppy seeds are widely used in pastries. Before being used in pastries, they should be soaked in boiling water for 1 to 3 hours before grinding.

13. These seeds are best when sprinkled over naan bread and cooked in a clay oven known as “tandoor.”

With so many benefits, we are sure you will try using poppy seeds in more ways in your life now, rather than just as a cooking ingredient. Let us know how you used these highly beneficial seeds and tell us what benefits you experienced! Share your tips in the comments below.

[ Read: Moringa Oleifera Benefits ]

Essential Nutrition Facts about Poppy Seeds:

PrincipleNutrient ValuePercentage of RDA
Energy525 Kcal26%
Carbohydrates28.13 g22%
Protein17.99 g32%
Total Fat41.56 g139%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber19.5 g51%
Folates82 µg20%
Niacin0.896 mg5.5%
Pantothenic acid0.324 mg65%
Pyridoxine0.247 mg19%
Riboflavin0.100 mg8%
Thiamin0.854 mg71%
Vitamin A0 IU0%
Vitamin C1 mg2%
Vitamin E1.77 mg12%
Vitamin K0 mg0%
Sodium26 mg2%
Potassium719 mg15%
Calcium1438 mg144%
Copper01.627 mg181%
Iron9.76 mg122%
Magnesium347 mg87%
Manganese6.707 mg292%
Phosphorus870 mg124%
Selenium13.5 µg24%
Zinc7.9 mg72%


  • 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds contains 0.6g of macromolecule, 3.7 g of fat, 2.5 g of carbohydrates and forty six calories.
  • They have a decent supply of many minerals. You get 29% DV of manganese and 13% DV of calcium from 1 teaspoon of seeds.
  • These seeds contain .02 g of polyunsaturated fatty acids and .48 g of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • Poppy seeds are less allergic among seeds and can be used safely even by pregnant women and kids.

[ Read: Ugli Fruit Facts ]

Hope you found this article interesting. Do you use poppy seeds in any of your dishes? Share with us.

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  • vedasri

    Nice post apsara very useful thanks for sharing

  • Kaartika

    Poppy seeds they are so small yet gives such amazing benefits thanks for th info apsara

  • Leena

    Very useful article good work apsara keep up thanks for the share

  • Bhuvana

    Poppy seed never heard them are they available in market i like to try

  • Chitra

    Very useful article i will try this tips

  • Zinat

    Thanks for the info.
    But I would like to know if poppy seeds are beneficial for bladder problems & how to take them

    • http://www.stylecraze.com/members/richag/ Richa

      Vitamin E becomes necessary when bladder is not functioning properly. However, we request you to consult doctor before you try out any natural remedy.

  • Silas Knight

    Who knew that poppy seeds had so many health benefits? Now, I had always heard that poppy seeds weren’t technically bad for you, but that you should avoid eating them. However, this article proved all of those rumors wrong! Like the article posted, poppy seeds can even help with fever, inflammation, and stomach problems, that’s so cool! When I go looking for bread, I’m going to keep an eye out for products with poppy seeds.