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Californian Poppy

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

Botanical Name: Eschscholzia californica

Family: Papaveraceae (opium poppy family)

Parts used: Aerial parts (flowers) and whole plant

Californian poppy Eschscholzia californica

Constituents: Isoquinoline alkaloids (eschscholtzine, californidine), Flavone glycosides (rutin) and yellow essential oil (eschscholtzione)

Energetics: somewhat bitter, cool, calming and relaxing (Holmes, vol. 2, 2006).

Traditional uses: Native Americans and Native Hispanics used the leaves or flowers for their sedative and analgesic properties to help with sleep or relief of toothache.

Traditional western medicines have used California poppy for (Bone, 2003):

  • enhancing sleep

  • relieving colic pain

  • migraine, nervous bowel, neuralgia, anxiety, depression and stress

  • topically used to treat sores and ulcers.

Actions: Anxiolytic, mild sedative, analgesic, hypnotic. anti inflammatory and nervous system relaxant (Bone 2003).

Indications of use: Painful conditions including nerve pain (or conditions where codeine may be used) and where inflammation is involved. Headaches, toothache and menstrual cramps. Can help in cases of Insomnia or disrupted sleep. Can help with reduces feelings of anxiety.

The hypnotic effects of californian poppy are similar to that of opium poppy but are milder and are non-addictive.

Dosage: Liquid extract 1.5ml-5ml Daily

10-40ml Weekly

Contra Indications: Should not be taken concurrently with sleeping medications, hypnotics, tranquilizers, opiates and central nervous system depressants (Phytomed, 2021).

Should not be used in those that have glaucoma due to the sanguinarine content (Holmes, vol2, 2003).

Caution: used with caution or avoided during pregnancy - the alkaloid crypropine may cause uterine stimulation (Holmes, vol2. 2003)

Available in the Soul Balance herbal dispensary with small consultation to ensure safety.

Californian poppy Eschscholtzia californica


Bone, K. (2003) A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs, St Louis, Missouri; Churchill Livingstone.

Holmes, P. (2006) The Energetics of Western Herbs, Vol. 2, 4th edition, Boulder, Colorado; Snow Lotus

PhytoMed (2021) Californian Poppy. Retrieved 5/12/21

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