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California Poppy

Botanical name:

Eschscholzia californica

California poppy has a reputation of being a milder, non-addictive version of other poppies, and can be used for pain relief, anxiety and hysteria.

The native Americans use California poppy for colic, sleeplessness and griping stomach pains. It is often used to counter excitability and nervousness in children, and has promise for hyperactive children as well. When used as a tea before bed, California poppy promotes long, restful sleep and is often used as a treatment for insomnia. This wonderful herb can also be smoked for relaxation.

As it is completely safe, mild and non-addictive, this wonderful poppy is completely legal and has the potential to be of benefit in assisting with opiate addiction and withdrawal: drinking a strong tea or smoking the herb as often as needed, has been used to help overcome heroine, morphine and opium cravings. It has also been known to assist in interrupting cannabis and tobacco habits. 

Preparation: Pour 1 cup of water just off the boil onto 1-2 teaspoons of herb. Steep covered for 10 minutes. Drink as needed. N.B. Use half doses for children under 14 years of age.

Actions: Sedative, antispasmodic, analgesic (pain relief), hypnotic


Ray Thorpe (2005), Happy High Herbs, p15; David Hoffman (1995), The New Holistic Herbal, p186; Michael Tierra (1998), Planetary Herbology, p356

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Submitted by Niall on

California Poppy contains the alkaloids berberine, sanguinarine, protopine, and allocryptine. It also has several antioxidants including rutin and zeaxanthin. Its aqueous extract has sedative and anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) properties, tests show that it appears to possess an affinity for the brain's benzodiazepine receptor.


  1. Klvana, M.; Chen, J.; Lepine, F.; Legros, R.; Jolicoeur, M. (July 2006). "Analysis of Secondary Metabolites From Eschscholtzia Californica by High-performance Liquid Chromatography". Phytochemical Analysis 17 (4): 236-242.
  2. MacLeod, B.P.; Facchini, P.J. (2006). "Methods for Regeneration and Transformation in Eschscholzia Californica: A Model Plant to Investigate Alkaloid Biosynthesis". Methods in Molecular Biology 318: 357-368.
  3. Rolland, A.; Fleurentin, J.; Lanhers, M.C.; Misslin, R.; Mortier, F. (August 2001). "Neurophysiological Effects of an Extract of Eschscholzia Californica Cham. (Papaveraceae)". Phytotherapy Research 15 (5): 377-381.

Submitted by patrick (not verified) on

Are these legal or illegal to grow and use for recreational use in victoria/australia?

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