California Poppy (eschscholzia californica) is the beautiful, misunderstood plant that happens to be the state flower of California. It shares the same name as the infamous Opium Poppy, from which opium and heroin are derived. But, that is all that the California and Opium Poppy have in common- just the name.
No high just relaxation
The California Poppy will not make you high and is not addictive. Some studies have shown that California Poppy is good for assisting in drug withdrawal. Researchers say it helps to relieve some of the side effects of withdrawal. That makes sense as many of the symptoms of drug and alcohol withdrawal are the same as the symptoms of an anxiety attack.
Native Americans used the sap from the California Poppy as a pain reliever, especially for toothaches. They even rubbed a mixture of the flowers into their hair to kill lice.
I use it for anxiety and insomnia. It induces an extreme sense of relaxation and calm. It can also help with the pains we sometimes get when having an anxiety attack such as tension headaches, muscle pain and, stomach aches.
This plant is so good for anxiety that we may be fooled into thinking that it is a very strong or dangerous herb. The opposite is true. California Poppy is so safe that it’s used as a sedative for children in Europe.
California Poppy bitter? Yay!
I have tried drinking the tea, someone I know recommended trying it, and it is a little bitter (my daughter says my taste buds must be numb if I think poppy tea is just a “little” bitter). I admit I do have a high tolerance for strong tasting herbs. But, bitter is better, the more bitter the poppy the stronger the effect will be.
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How I do it
I was not able to find straight-up California Poppy in a tea bag, only blends that contained Poppy plus other herbs. So, I had to buy the dried loose herb. I placed 1 tablespoon of the herb in 1 cup of boiling water and let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes. But if you read my post Do Herbs and Other Natural Treatments Really Work, you know that tea is not my favorite way to take herbs for anxiety.
I’ve said before that I find drinking tea a calming ritual but for hardcore anxiety and insomnia, a tincture is the way to go. Here’s a no alcohol tincture if you’d prefer that. Strangely, I was not able to find a California Poppy only capsule. There is a poppy seed capsule, but California Poppy works best when the whole plant is used, not just the seeds. Gaia makes a sleep blend that has the whole California Poppy plant as well as a bunch of other good for anxiety and insomnia herbs.
My dosage: 4 dropperfuls – A dropperful is whatever amount comes up into the dropper when you squeeze the top. This is less than what I took for panic attacks. I take this amount as needed throughout the day with no problems. However, some people say that California Poppy makes them drowsy. So, use caution if you will be driving or using machinery.
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“If you’re going through hell, keep going” Winston Churchill