California Poppy - Eschscholzia californica

Why Get to know this plant:

This pretty flower grows native to north America. As a tea the flowers and leaves are gentle antispasmotic, sedative and analgesic and somewhat hypnotic, which can be useful for treating children who have trouble sleeping due to nervousness and anxiety. In infants it can be used to ease colic pain.

Unlike the opium poppy, the California poppy is not a narcotic, is non-habit forming and has no side effects of nausea or vomiting. It is a very safe plant and provides calming and supportive action for a nervous or anxious child or adult.


Where This Plant grows:

Grows commonly in large spreading patches. It prefers light sandy soils, but it is also found in loamy and clay soils. It is drought tolerant and can grow in nutrient poor soil. Grassy edges of gardens are a common spot to find California poppy, and it in the wild it grows in fields and road edges.


How to Identify California poppy:

Flowers are yellow-orange and have silky petals. The petals often are tightly bound together but spread out in hot sun to let pollination occur. The leaves are finely cut and are silver green to dark green,. Leaves are finely divided and lacy.


Parts Used:

All aerial parts of plant are used, the flowers, stems and leaves.


Medicinal Actions:

Antispasmotic, analgesic, hypnotic, non-addictive alternative to opium poppy (less powerful), sedative, anxiolytic, improves sleep latency and quality.


Tips from Experience

Make sure to allow the plant to dry thoroughly after harvest, the stems can take longer to dry than other plants even if the leaves and flowers dry quickly.



Do not use in pregnancy as it has potential as a uterine stimulant.


Constituents in the plant:

Isoquinoline alkaloids (protopine, crytopine, and chelidonine), flavone glycosides, californidine, eschscoltzin, N-methyllaurotanin, allocryptopine, chelerytrine and sanguinarine.