Contrary to another definition listed here, the first 1 to 3" of the poppy stem at the top near the head of the poppy pod actually DOES contain opiate alkaloids. Poppy straw in general, as stated in another entry, is almost useless for making poppy tea (see entry under pt for accurate instructions, tried and true, that have worked best for years after trying every method possible). The first few inches of the stem from the knob down, as the plant is growing and maturing, does contain tea material as the alkaloids contained in the pod head RUN DOWN into the stem - but only so far. It takes 10 to 15 of these small stems to equal one pod. However, stems do NOT grind well and you end up with what looks like straw. This may be part of the reason it takes so many of the stems to equal a pod. However, the process is the same as is shown in the pt entry. Opium poppy tea can be made from not only the heads of the poppy pod above the knob but also the first few inches of stem that is attached as well as the seeds. However, do not mix the seeds in with your pod tea since there is a completely different method for making poppy seed tea (as well as some disadvantages to making seed tea over even stem tea).
I was out of poppy pods but had a lot of stems that I had saved for times like this so that if and when I ever ran out of pods, I'd have something to get me by until my next order arrives. Stem tea isn't my favorite but it will get the job done in a pinch. Besides, with shortages at times and the price of pods these days, I want to use any and all parts that will actually make tea that works.
by t-alias May 30, 2007