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Herb of the month: California Poppy

Eschscholzia californica, the California poppy, is a symbol of sleep and peace, which reflects its main actions as a gentle sedative, nervine and antispasmodic herb. Not to be mistaken with the opium poppy, the California Poppy, is a non-addictive alternative to relieve mild nervous and muscle tension and to promote restful sleep, especially in children.

Conditions California Poppy can benefit


The alkaloid californidine has sleep-inducing effects. It can be useful for people who find it hard to get to sleep and / or stay asleep and is safe for children. It combines well with passionflower or valerian root for sleep.

Stress and anxiety

The alkaloids californidine and eschscholzine have sedative and anxiolytic effects. It can be useful for people experiencing anxiety, tension, stress and mood swings. Also useful for restless, excitable children who may need to calm down at times.

Aches and pains

Californidine and eschscholzine also have mild analgesic effects. Therefore, the California poppy is useful for arthritic pain, back pain, sciatica, shingle pain, headaches, migraines, and neuralgia. It can be taken internally or applied externally where pain exists including toothache.

Muscle tension / colic / nervous bowel / bed wetting in children

Californidine has antispasmodic actions to ease muscle tension, including in the bowel, kidneys and stomach.

Cardiovascular issues

It can act as a tonic to help reduce blood pressure and rapid heart palpitations.


The alkaloid chelerythrine helps with withdrawal from alcohol, drugs or smoking.



  • if on sedative medication

  • during pregnant

  • during lactation except under professional advice

  • at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery as it can slow down the central nervous system too much when combined with anesthetic and other medications.

Homeopathic remedy: Eschschlzia

This remedy reflects some of its herbal actions as it is used for insomnia, slow circulation and general weakness.

Flower essence

Used for those who seek spiritual highs from external sources or who are attracted to psychedelic drugs, charismatic teachers or occult rituals. Helps people develop a more solid inner life, awakening the light within and enhancing self – reliance (McIntyre A, The Complete Floral Healer, Gaia Books, 1996)

Over to you

If you have any of the conditions listed above, the California Poppy may be an effective medicine for you. Please do contact me or a professional practitioner for advice.

Always seek qualified practitioners before taking an herb, homeopathic or flower essence remedy and always check with your doctor for any interactions with current medication.


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