California Poppy – Eschscholtzia Californica

Family: Papaveraceae

Part Used:


The California Poppy (Eschscholtzia californica or spelled Eschscholzia without the T) Papaveraceae is native to grassy and open areas from sea level to 2,000m (6,500 feet) altitude in the western United States throughout California, extending to Oregon, southern Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and in Mexico in Sonora and northwest Baja California. It can grow 5–60 cm tall or 2-24 inches, with alternately branching glaucous blue-green foliage. The leaves are ternately divided into round, lobed segments. The flowers are solitary on long stems, silky-textured, with four petals, each petal 2-6 cm or 0.8- 2.4 inches long and broad; their color ranges from yellow to orange, and flowering is from February to September. Interesting petals which close at night or in cold, windy weather and open again the following morning, although they may remain closed in cloudy weather.

The phytosociology analogue to human physiology correlation of this plant is Sensitivity to weather changes the same as for California Poppy petals being sensitive to weather changes.

In homeopathy the remedy that this compares to is Aconitum Napellus. A state of fear, anxiety; anguish of mind and body. Physical andmental restlessness, fright, is the most characteristic manifestation of Aconitum Napellus. Acute, sudden, and violent invasion, with fever, call for it. Does not want to be touched. Sudden and great sinking of strength.

Complaints and tension caused by exposure to Dry, cold weather, draft of cold air, checked perspiration, also complaints from Very hot weather, especially gastro-intestinal disturbances, etc. First remedy in inflammation, inflammatory fevers.

Serous membranes and muscular tissues affected markedly. Burning in internal parts; Tingling, coldness and numbness. Influenza. TENSION of arteries; emotional and physical mental tension explain many symptoms.

California Poppy does not contain opium, nor does it have the same addictive qualities as opium. A non addictive a harmless soporific from the French soporifique from Latin sopor (deep sleep). 298 known active phytochemical constituents have been identified. California poppy, being similar to all the other plants in the poppy family, possesses a sap that contains sedative alkaloid compounds.

California Poppy – Eschscholtzia Californica (buds) is only one of these example. Eschscholzia is an “analgesic and soporific without the dangers attending opiates, quieting pain and producing a calm sleep”.

Phytochemical Constituents:

298 known active phytochemical constituents have been identified form this plant. It contains: alkaloids (including protopine, cryptopine, and chelidonine) and flavone glycosides. Like the Opium Poppy, California Poppy contains a variety of isoquinoline alkaloids including very small amounts of morphine and codeine. While these famous alkaloids may contribute to the activity of Eschscholzia, the medicinal properties are likely due to the rather large variety of other Isoquinolines: including Californidine, Californine, Chelerythrine, Chelilutine, Chelirubine, Coptisine, Cryptocavine, Cryptopine, Escholidine, Escholine, Escholinine, Eschscholtzidine, Protopine and Sanguinarine. Auxins (IAA), Brassinosteroids (BR), Cytokinins (CK), Fumaric acid, Fumarine, Gibberellins (GA), Glaucine, Isorhamnetin, Jasmonic acid (JA), Meristems plant stem cells (PSC), Quercetin, Rutin, Salicylates (SA), Zeaxanthin. (Beck and Haberlein 1999; Moore 1993; Duke 1992).

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.

Contraindications and Cautions:

pregnancy; concurrently with prescription drugs and psychiatric medications. When used in higher doses California Poppy acts as a sedative, inducing a pleasant drowsy feeling, not enough to promote marked sedation, but powerful enough that tasks such as driving or operating machinery are best avoided under its influence. When the patient has a hard, small pulse, with a dry tongue, flushed face, bright eyes, and contracted pupils, the stronger acting poppies are best avoided. There have been no indications of toxicity for Eschscholtzia californica in experimental studies or in anecdotal reports.

Plant Stem Cell Therapy Indications:

Neurological/Nervous System:

'P' Noniceptive for acute nerve pain. Vasomotor-Stimulant. As an analgesic and antispasmodic, a Relaxing Nervine in anxiety and nervousness. For symptoms of skin hypersensitivities and peripatetic movements. The effect is far milder than that of opium, which contains a different class of alkaloids. The nervous system is affected in a very different way by the California poppy, even though this plant is a close relative of the opium poppy, a plant well known for many narcotic products. The main difference is that the California poppy does not induce a narcotic effect on the body. Also has an affinity for the benzodiazepine receptor. Identical to dihydroxyphenylalanine DOPA-enkephalin.Dopamine beta-hydroxylase and monoamine oxidase (MAO-B) are especially inhibited by Eschscholtzia Californica. Rich in isoquinoline alkaloids derived from tyrosine metabolism. Recent research shows that they may influence the neurotransmitter metabolism. Aqueous-alcoholic extracts from Eschscholtzia californica inhibit the enzymatic degradation of catecholamines as well as the synthesis ofadrenaline. Preserving high catecholamine levels thus explaining their sedative, antidepressive and hypnotic activities.

The opposite effect seems to be true of the California poppy; the plant seems to be able to normalize psychological function in a person instead of disorienting mental states. A sub-opiate that produces a milder effect than its cousin the red poppy which is the source of opium. Its distinction is found in its ability to normalize psychological functions by influencing the neurotransmitters without depressing the central nervous system. Encourages trophorestoration of the nervous system inhibits the enzymatic degradation of catecholamines, including dopamine beta-hydroxylase and monoamine oxidase (MAO-B), as well as the synthesis of adrenaline. Catecholamines are sympathomimetic "fight-or-flight “hormones that are released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. They are part of the sympathetic nervous system. They are called catecholamines because they contain a catechol group, and are derived from the amino acid tyrosine. The most abundant catecholamines are epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and dopamine, all of which are produced from phenylalanine and tyrosine. Higher doses of California poppy are 30 drops 3-4 times per day is sedating, lower doses 10-15 drops 3-4 times per day reduce anxiety and lower stress. Excellent for the treatment of behavioral disorders such as ADD, ADHD in children and young adults. In addition this herb has also been proven to improve intellectual capacity, memory and concentration in the elderly.

Psychiatry – Pediatrics:

'P' Sensitivity to weather changes. Antidepressant. Evidence that protopine alkaloids increase GABA binding to its receptor. This plant is ideal for pediatric use, in the treatment of physical and 'psychological problems in children due to the gentle anti-spasmodic, the potent sedative and analgesic effects it possesses - this plant is highly valued for these reasons. Persistent bedwetting, problems with sleeping patterns''''' especially interrupted sleep, persistent nervous tension and anxiety. Linden Tree – Tilia Tomentosa (buds), Fig – Ficus Carica (buds) or Lemon Tree – Citrus Limonum (bark) indicated more for difficulty falling asleep. Supports Restful and Revitalizing Sleep. For the treatment ofheroin, methadone, opiates, benzodiazepines addictions and withdrawal and should be used in combination with Wayfaring tree and Linden tree.

A Very Important Note : If you give someone Linden tree buds which are supposed to be sedative and the patient is energized instead of being sedated by its use, then you have a clear indicator that you are dealing with an elevated serotonin syndrome. For this patient you would have to give them the California Poppy buds instead which will regulate and normalize an elevated serotonin level and will act has an appropriate sedative in those anxious individuals afflicted by elevated serotonin.

Positive qualities: Finding spirituality within one's heart; balancing light and love; developing an inner center of knowing.
Patterns of imbalance: Seeking outside oneself for false forms of light or higher consciousness, especially through escapism or addiction. Remain closed minded to the possibility of positive changes.

Endocrine System:

'P' For the treatment of high adrenaline-elevated cortisol levels.

Musculoskeletal System:

'P' Antiinflammatory, Cox inhibitor, muscular centered pain. Antiarthritic, Fibromyalgias.

Gi-Digestive Hepatology:

'P' intestinal colic and cramps, Antiperistaltic, Antiacetylcholinesterase.

Pulmonary System:

'P' persistent spasmodic cough like that of codeine but without the associated euphoria of such narcotics. Sanguinarine inhibitor of the arachidonate12- 5-lipoxygenase enzyme, which transforms EFAs into leukotrienes. Asthma, Bronchosedative, Respirastimulant.

Dermatology Allergy:

'P' as a treatment for the elimination of head lice with the same effectiveness of berberis (mahonia) repens (creeping barberry)., for this purpose 15 to 25 drops topically on scalp at bedtime comb thru with a fine comb and sleep with it on and then wash in the morning with non toxic shampoo that contains rosemary, repeat for a total of 5 to 7 continuous days. Poultice made from the poppy for the treatment of soresand ulcers on the skin. Antimicrobial properties applied externally to cuts and scrapes. For the treatment of lifeless, thin and lacking luster hair. You can make a “Hair Tonic” by adding 1 bottle of 15ml California poppy buds to at least an 8 ounces non toxic hair conditioner (and not a conditioner that contains many herbs other than rosemary is okay) and mix well. It will make hair grow thicker and shinier.

OBGYN/Reproductive System:

'P' as an external wash for suppressing lactation (the production of milk) in breast-feeding women. Abortifacient. Nervous menstrual cramps.


'P' painkiller, especially for toothaches 2-3 drops topically on affected areas PRN.


'A' Earaches.

Cardio Vascular System:

'A' Antiarrhythmic, Antifibrillary. Bipolar Hypertension-Hypotension, Sanguinarine vasopressin. Antidote Inhalation of Amyl Nitrite.


'A' Occulotensive, Anticataract.