Longevity in Lettuce and Sunshine of Thought

“The sun always shines somewhere”.  

This was a main theme in my 1970’s book, “Passport to International Profit” and remains equally true today.  Our lives are driven by forces we often cannot see. Even if visible they cannot always be understood.  Plus we cannot change most of what what we do understand and see.

wild lettuce

Is this the root of optimism?

Fortunately, we have power in the bright side.  Optimism helps us see the silver linings so we can adjust, adapt and evolve.

Optimism is the only practical attitude and is related to longevity.   A recent 11-year study (1) of more than 2800 men and women between the ages of 56 and 72, found that those who were more pessimistic were 2.2 times more likely to die of heart disease than those who were less pessimistic.

Pessimism increases health risk including stroke, poor arterial health, heart failure and coronary heart disease.

We can live longer and accomplish more when we live a more wholesome, peaceful, optimistic, giving, loving, joyful, calm, nature-based lifestyle,which is the key to a happy heart.

How can we be optimistic when so much bad stuff seems to be going down?  The solution is to change our lifestyle so we have better nutrition, more good exercise and deeper sleep.

This message shares three simple ideas that help us sleep better.  Chronic lack of sleep can increase the risk of most degenerative diseases and anxiety and depression, cancer, impaired cognitive function metabolic difficulties, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, elevated blood pressure and more.

Today’s stress levels are 24/7, with little end in sight for many folks. Such chronic stress has a direct impact on sleep.  According to a 2001 scientific poll, 38% of Americans received a solid 8 hours of sleep. In 2009, that number was reduced to just 28%.  Sleep is so important for good health that one study linked getting 7-8 hours of regular sleep each night to a reduction in mortality from all causes.

Lack of sleep creates a negative self reinforcing downward spiral.  Sleep creates higher stress levels and elevated cortisol.  These factors create more stress, which raises cortisol levels higher, which disturbs sleep patterns even more.

Here are three simple steps that can break this spiral.

#1: Reduce digestive overload at night.   Everything that our senses process is a form of digestion.  Eat lightly. Turn off the news and violent or negative emotion inducing shows. Put down stimulating books.

#2: Go to bed before 10pm.  The body has natural rhythms connected to the sun.  Sleep is most natural from 9pm to 5am.

#3: Drink warm milk with lettuce.  Researchers have found that when bioactive peptides in milk are taken before bed, the improvements in sleep are remarkable: (2)

  • Promotes deeper sleep
  • Supports more restorative sleep
  • Induces relaxation at the level needed for sleep
  • Supports anxiety that disturbs sleep
  • Improves numerous stress markers

Even better, drink the raw milk that does not have added hormones, chemicals and antibiotics.  Unnecessary homogenization and the wrong type of pasteurization also reduce the benefits of milk.  An alternative to raw milk when it is not available is non-homogenized, vat pasteurized, chemical, antibiotic and hormone-free milk.  This is available in many health oriented grocery stores.

Why cook with lettuce?

This tip was given to me by an Andean yatchak and who rarely explain why, but a bit of research provided an explanation about how lettuce can bring sleep.  Lettuce contains an opium-like substance called lactucin that has sedative and analgesic properties.  Lactucin has been called “Lettuce opium”.   It is a latex, lactucarium and physically resembles opium as a white fluid and can be reduced to a thick solid.  The Egyptians refined it.  Refined lettuce opium was sold as a drug in the United States in the 1800s.

Lettuce cooked in milk creates a one-two knock out punch of the bioactive peptides and lactucin.

Like milk, lettuce is not straight forward.  First, commercially grown lettuce involves a lot of pesticides.  If you use store purchased lettuce, I recommend organic lettuce with a good soaking in Purely Green as explained in “Food Purification With Purely Green Clean”.

We find growing our own lettuce fulfilling and fun and enjoy our own organic lettuce.


We plant food in all types of nooks and crannies around our houses. Here’s Merri getting vegetables ready to plant at our North Carolina farm.


Normally we grow lettuce, beans, peas, squash, radishes, raspberries, grapes and figs as well as our citrus, but lettuce after radishes, is the easiest and fastest to grow.

Another solution is Wild Lettuce Extract.  Different varieties of lettuce have varied amounts of lactucin.  One plant, Lactuca virosa, often called wild lettuce is in the Lactuca (lettuce) genus and has an especially high concentration.  Wild Lettuce is related to common lettuce and is also called bitter lettuce, laitue vireuse, opium lettuce, poisonous lettuce, tall lettuce, great lettuce or rakutu-karyumu-so.

Amazon.com offers Wild Lettuce Extract.

wild lettuce

One of the extracts is “Hawaii Farm Wild Lettuce Extract” an alcohol free Super concentrated liquid extract of all natural ingredients.  This is an organic, gluten free, non-GMO product made from high quality Wild Lettuce using classic conventional methods of extraction from certified organic, ethically sourced wild harvested raw material.

Order a two ounce bottle of Hawaii Farm Wild Lettuce extract  for $19.95 at Amazon.com here

Because this is a concentrated powerful product, consult with your doctor before taking wild lettuce extract.

Dr. Oz recommended Wild Lettuce for insomnia at his website (3) and added these precautions. Do not use wild lettuce extract if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You have prostate enlargement (BPH).
  • You have an eye condition called narrow-angle glaucoma.
  • You are allergic to ragweed, marigolds, daisies or related herbs.
  • You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks.

Hawaii Farms safety information says:  Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing or taking any medications, consult your doctor before use.  Discontinue use and consult your doctor if any adverse reactions occur.  Excessive consumption may impair ability to drive a motor vehicle or operate heavy equipment.

If you have any concerns about using a concentrated product, stick to boiling lettuce in your milk.

Hawaii Farms suggested use of their Wild Lettuce Extract: Shake well before use. 20-30 drops, three times a day or as directed by your practitioner.

I have not found any research on the amounts of lettuce (or extract) to use in milk.  My suggestion is to start with a minimal amount, just a few drops.  If you step up the amount, progress very slowly, a drop or two at a time.  Discuss this with your health care professional and when you find a level that works stick with that the minimal amount.  Medicine is dose and less is usually does more.

These three tips can clear away the clouds of a downwards health spiral and bring a person up into the sunshine of positivity and natural good health. Reduce digestive loads at night, be in bed by 10pm and drink boiled milk and lettuce. This makes it possible to sleep deeply at night.  Waking refreshed, feeling better and thinking more clearly makes one more optimism and that optimism can be a foundation for better health and greater wealth.


1)  Lifespa.com:  Bad attitude doubles risk dying heart disease

(2) Lifespa.com: Drink this and sleep like a baby its delicious

(3) Dr. Oz: Wild Lettuce & Insomnia


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