Did you Know Gasalu (Telugu) or Khus Khus (Hindi) is Poppy Seed!

Gasalu or Gasagasalu is non-potent part of poppy seed! Opium (a narcotic) is derived from unripe seeds of poppy plant. As all parts of poppy plant have opium alkaloids like morphine and codeine, Gasalu also has some properties of opium. This plant used to cure insomnia (sleeplessness).

Poppy seeds are used for many purposes:

  • Poppy seeds are largely used in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine, particularly in Indian, Mughlai and North West Indian cuisine. Plenty of  poppy seeds are grown in Eastern India as people make delicious and salivating curries with poppy seeds paste (gasalu). They mainly use poppy seeds, to purify intestine and to cure the digestive disorders.
  • Gasalu or Khus-Khus (Poppy Seeds)

    Gasalu or Khus-Khus (Poppy Seeds)

  • It is generally used for providing good taste to cookies, cakes, breads, strudels, pastry crusts and pancake
  • It is also used in livestock fodder for cattle, sheep, horses etc.
  • Poppy seed oil is used as a suitable alternative for olive oil in cooking.
  • It is basic element used in buttering of egg noodles, dressing of fruit salads and providing fragrance to yeast breads.

Gasalu have gentle nutty (crazy) taste. To make gasalu paste it is initially dry fried and then wet grinded into paste. This paste is applied over potatoes or meat to get good taste and also for gravy. It gives good taste to curry. It is cheaper substitute for cashew nut paste for thickening of curries.

Effects of Gasalu when eaten in considerable quantities:

  • If a person takes food containing gasalu, even after two days of eating there is a possibility of the drug test results positive as gasalu contains opium alkaloids.
  • If poppy seeds are taken in smaller doses, it can cause
    • Dizziness (giddiness or faintness)
    • Nausea (sickness in stomach)
    • Sedation (sleep inducing)
    • Constipation (difficulty in eliminating solid waste from the body)
    • Respiratory depression
    • Cardiac arrest
  • If poppy seeds are taken in more doses, it can cause
    • Respiratory depression
    • Cardiac arrest

Benefits of Gasalu:
Even though there are many negative effects of gasalu, there are some benefits of its consumption-

  • It is an excellent medicine for insomnia (inability to sleep soundly), restlessness and sleeplessness. In order to get a sound sleep, a person should take a teaspoon full of poppy seed oil or take two tablespoons of gasalu milk mixed with sugar and have it before bedtime.  It is not productive relaxant, but due to its narcotic properties it induces sleep.
  • It is used to reduce pain. It is prescribed as a substitute painkiller for morphine and codeine.

So, beware of giving food that has gasalu to your kids before writing exams as it induces sleep. Person who is participating in competitions should not take gasalu as it tests positive in drug test and makes the person drowsy.