The California poppy is the state flower of California. It is actually found all along the western coast of the United States from Washington State down to Mexico. Also known by its botanical name Eschscholzia californica, the California poppy is a distant relative of Papaver somniferum (the opium poppy) but contains no opium or opiates. It has long been a folk remedy for nerves, pain and inflammation.
The roots, leaves and seeds are the flower are generally used. It has a slightly bittersweet taste and some find its effects mildly mood lifting. There are those who find it enhances dream recall as well. It is often used as a tea or tincture or powdered and encapsulated.
The primary active compounds are alkaloids such as chelirubine, sanguinarine, and macarpine. It is mild, but many people find it helpful for its slightly sedative, analgesic and antispasmodic properties. Herbalists have prescribed California poppy preparations for such disparate conditions as bedwetting, insomnia, anxiety and inflammation. Some people have even used it as an adjunct for treatment of behavioral disorders like ADD and ADHD. Always check with your doctor before trying any herb or supplement in place of or alongside any over the counter or prescription medicine you may be taking for any pre-existing condition. California poppy has also been used as a home remedy for tooth pain.
As a tincture, it also has some antimicrobial properties that may lend to external usage on cuts and scrapes. Some research suggests the analgesic and antispasmodic properties could be helpful for those living iwth acute nerve and muscular pain. It has also been used as a remedy for cold, fever and cough. The antispasmodic qualities of the California poppy not only could benefit those with mild tremors due to nerve related conditions, but also are responsible for some of the relief from cramps and coughing fits.
In a tincture, 15 to 25 drops can be taken up to three times a day for general usage. For anxiety around 5-10 drops is a good dose to start at. If this isn’t sufficient, 30 5o 40 drops taken two to five times a day could be tried. For pain, 40-80 drops (up to 2 and a half droppers full) should be sufficient. Compounds found in California Poppy suppress lactation so it should not be taken by nursing mothers, but California Poppy is child-safe with no known side effects.
California Poppy may mix well with corydalis isolate (THP) and Skullcap as they both have similar nervine, anxiolytic and analgesic actions, but remember to try a little less than you normally would if you’re going to blend herbs with the same properties. Synergy means two plants combined might be more potent than either one would have at the same amounts.