California poppy (Eschscholzia Californica): Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

The California poppy (Eschscholzia Californica) is a poppy plant flower in the Papaveraceae family. It is the official flower of California and can also be found in Arizona and Northern Mexico. It is used medicinally, is usually mixed with relaxing herbs like valerian, and is marketed as a natural sleep enhancer.

It is raised as a decorative plant in the summer with beautiful cup-shaped flowers in vibrant red, orange, and yellow (occasionally pink and white). Blooming occurs in the northern hemisphere from February to September, with the petals closing at night and reopening the following day. Unfortunately, it can only survive mild winters in its native habitat, dying in colder climates.

It is combined with birthwort, night-blooming cereus, kava, lavender, passionflower, St. John’s wort, and valerian to make a tincture or infusion. It is also utilized to create pharmaceutical supplements that can help relieve pain, calm the nervous system, and reduce tension and anxiety. The California poppy, which is related to the opium poppy, is a beautiful golden wildflower unique to California.

Health Benefits

1. Could Help Lessen Anxiety

Research shows that the California poppy extract may make you sleepy and calm you down. A 3-month study of 264 people with mild to moderate anxiety found that taking two tablets of California poppy extract, hawthorn extract, and magnesium twice daily reduced anxiety symptoms more than a placebo. But there needs to be more recent research on people.

Due to a lack of studies, the California poppy is not considered safe or suitable for treating any health problem.

People with anxiety can get help from the California poppy. Both adults and children can use it, so if you or your child are stressed or worried, try making a cup of soothing California poppy tea. To prove these claims, clinical trials with people are needed.

2. Sleep-inducing

Calming California poppy can help individuals sleep. It improves GABA and rests as a herbal sleep aid. A four-week observational study found that 80mg California poppy extract and 32mg valerian (Valeriana officinalis) extract improved sleep duration, efficiency, and awakenings. In a four-week research experiment, 40 insomniacs received California poppy, passionflower, lemon balm, melatonin, and vitamin B6. Many natural sleep aids contain California poppy.

Sleep-inducing California poppy. It calms children, especially those who are overexcited and restless. Traditional use and mixed-use research suggest California poppy improves sleep, but isolated human clinical studies are needed to confirm this. There is little human research on the California poppy’s sleep effects, and it does not treat sleep disorders when taken alone.

3. The Ability to Relieve Pain.

California poppy is well-known for its analgesic qualities. According to an open-lab evaluation of two investigations, the plant has a substantial pain management benefit for chronic pain and pain-related sleeplessness. Health Canada has approved using a product containing 3 grams of dry plant standardized to contain 0.8% isoquinoline alkaloids (californidine, escholtzine, and protopine) as an analgesic and light sedative (hypnotic). Eschscholzia californica has been demonstrated to be more effective than morphine for pain management without adverse effects, according to physician William Boericke. However, human clinical research is required to confirm the exact impact of this plant on pain perception.

4. Muscle Release 

California poppy also possesses antispasmodic properties that can help relax muscles all over the body. As a result, it is considered an ideal treatment not just for muscle cramps and aches but also for stomach cramps, tension headaches, and spasmodic coughs.

The California poppy may also help slow the heartbeat and lessen palpitations and blood pressure by soothing the body’s nervous system.

5. Mental Health 

California poppy may assist in improving cognitive health and address a variety of disorders in young adults and children, including ADHD. In addition, proponents claim that the plant can help children and adults improve their concentration and memory, significantly benefiting the elderly.

Because of its moderate calming effects and low-risk profile, the California poppy may benefit people attempting to overcome opiate and alcohol addiction.

Available forms:

  • Tinctures
  • Liquid extracts 
  • Capsules
  • Root juice
  • Tea

Side Effects

When used orally for no more than three months, California poppy is safe for most people, but there are some precautions to take. For example, pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid it, and people scheduled for surgery should avoid it for at least two weeks.


Not for use in pregnancy except under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner. We recommend you consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, mainly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.


California poppy has a long history of use as a general nervous system booster for sleep, anxiety, and pain in native communities as well as with physicians and herbalists. It is noted for its calming, soothing properties and is not considered addictive. It can also relieve natural pain and relax the muscles and nervous system. It is available as a tea or in several supplementary forms, including tinctures, liquid extracts, and capsules. 

However, there is little proof that it provides health advantages when used alone. Thus taking California poppy supplements to treat any health condition is not advised.

Where to Buy 

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  1. Valerian Root in Treating Sleep Problems and Associated Disorders—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – PMC (
  2. A combination of Eschscholtzia californica Cham. and Valeriana officinalis L. extracts for adjustment insomnia: A prospective observational study – PMC (
  3. Behavioral effects of the traditional American plant Eschscholzia californica: sedative and anxiolytic properties – PubMed (
  4. Neurophysiological Effects of an Extract of Eschscholzia californica Cham. (Papaveraceae) – Rolland – 2001 – Phytotherapy Research – Wiley Online Library
  5. Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a fixed combination containing two plant extracts (Crataegus oxyacantha and Eschscholtzia californica) and magnesium in mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders – PubMed (
  6. Neurophysiological effects of an extract of Eschscholzia californica Cham. (Papaveraceae) – PubMed (


This information is not meant to provide medical advice or replace a personal physician’s advice or treatment. All readers of this information, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should check with their doctors before initiating any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program. Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the information or commodities on this website.

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