Eschscholzia californica

California Poppy

Eschscholzia californica

California Poppy

The US Formulary of 1918 says of this botanical: “Attention has been brought to this California member of the Papaveraceae, as a powerful herb for calming and supporting sleep." Native American tribes from different parts of California used this plant for many traditional purposes- especially as a calming agent. The Pomo tribes from areas north of what is now Sacramento reportedly used the crushed seeds as a topical application, while the Mendocino used a root preparation as an external cleansing agent and internally. It was used by the Costanoan tribes from what is now Monterey to promote healthy sleep (Soporific). It has a long tradition of use in Western Botanical medicine as a Nervine and Trophorestorative (promotes nutrition uptake at the cellular level).

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Traditional Health Benefits of California Poppy

Sleep Support, Stress Support

What is California Poppy Used for?

Although there is not an overwhelming amount of research on California poppy, it has a strong reputation with traditional Herbalists for its calming and supportive actions for the entire nervous system. It is a gentle and mild tonic for the nervous system when it is stressed.

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Active Constituents of California Poppy

Antioxidants such as Rutin and Zeaxanthin, as well as appreciable amounts of the alkaloids Berberine and sanguinarine. It is a botanical with high concentrations of other alkaloids especially Protopine and Allocryptine which are known Soporifics.

Parts Used

Above ground parts

Additional Resources

Duke, James A. 1992 Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and other Economic Plants. Boca Raton, FL CRC Press. Planta Med. 1991 Jun: 57(3): 212-6 Moermon. D. Native American Ethnobotany. Timber Press. Oregon. 1998

Important Precautions

Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

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