Last updated: August 20, 2021

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California poppies are mostly known in Europe as an ornamental plant that many have blooming in their gardens. However, the plants also have healing properties that were discovered by Native Americans. It is said to relax, calm and help with ailments such as problems falling asleep, stress and anxiety disorders.

In the California poppy test 2021 we will explain what California poppy actually is, how to use it properly and what to look for when buying it. We will also explain how California poppy works and show you the most important findings that researchers have discovered in their studies on the medicinal plant.




Summary

  • California poppy, also called gold poppy, is the state flower of California. It is known for its healing and calming effects and was already used by the Native Americans.
  • California poppies can help you with inner restlessness, stress and anxiety disorders. Californian poppy is also a good help when falling asleep.
  • California poppies are available in various forms, such as drops, capsules, tobacco and tea. With all of them, you should always follow the dosage given.

The Best Californian Poppy: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for Californian poppies

When buying Californian poppies, you can look for different aspects, such as:

Below we explain what these criteria mean exactly. This will help you make the right choice when buying a California poppy product.

Shape of the poppy

You can buy California poppy seeds in different forms and dosages. There are poppies powdered in the form of capsules, compressed in the form of tablets, liquid in the form of tea, drops or a tincture and as tobacco for smoking.

So there are a few different types of products to choose from. It all depends on your preferences and how you like to use products. All types can help you in the same way.

The products also often come in different doses. Depending on what you want to treat with the California poppy, you should choose the appropriate dosage.

It is best to start with a low dosage and then work your way up if it is not effective enough. However, do not use more of a product than indicated on the package.

Quality

When buying your Californian poppy seed product, be sure to look for quality. You can recognise this by quality seals and organic seals. The product should be pure and free of additives, chemicals and sugar.

The Californian poppy seed should be carefully selected and high standards of cultivation and processing should be maintained. Pay attention to the information provided by the manufacturer on these points.

Alcohol content

Some products that contain California poppy seeds also contain alcohol. This is often the case with tinctures. Traditionally, tinctures are made with alcohol. Nowadays, however, there are methods to remove and lower the alcohol content.

Californian poppy products with alcohol are not per se worse than those without. However, you should be aware beforehand if you do not mind taking alcohol at the same time.

Mixing with other products

California poppy products may be sold as poppy-only products, or they may contain other substances that also have calming effects.

Other plants may be added to the finished capsules or drops, such as valerian, passionflower or lime blossom.

These three substances are also medicinal plants known for their calming and anxiety-relieving effects. In combination, the herbal substances work particularly well together and can thus help you with your complaints.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying California poppies

In order to inform you about all important aspects of the California poppy, we have compiled the most important questions in the following section. We have researched and compiled the most important effects, side effects and noteworthy information for you through studies.

What is California poppy and how does it work?

California poppy, also known as Eschscholzia californica or golden poppy, is a plant that grows especially in California and is considered the state flower there. It was already used as a medicinal plant by the Native Americans and is still used today to treat some ailments.

The poppy contains alkaloids that are only found in this plant. Alkaloids are organic compounds that act on the human organism. They work with the GABAA receptors, which are located in the brain (1).

We present the most important effects of the Californian poppy here.

Calming effect

California poppies are known for their calming and relaxing effects. This was also confirmed by researchers in a study with mice.

These were given 100 to 200 mg/kg of California poppy and then observed in various tests. The tests confirmed the relaxing effect, which can help with feeling inner restlessness and stress. (2) .

Problems falling asleep

If you have trouble sleeping, California poppies can also help you. According to a report by the European Medicine Agency, products containing California poppies can have a soporific effect and are a recommended solution to improve your sleep problems. (3)

Anxiety

A study investigated the effectiveness of California poppy in combination with the plant hawthorn, against mild to moderate anxiety disorders.

The researchers found that patients' self-rated anxiety, as well as anxiety measured by the Hamilton Scale, decreased when they took the drug (4).

So California Poppy can help you if you experience anxiety, such as panic attacks or social anxiety.

When and for whom is it useful to take California poppies?

California poppies can help you calm down, relax and fall asleep. So you can take California poppy products if you feel very anxious, have anxiety disorders, or have trouble sleeping.

Kalifornischer Mohn

A study investigated the effectiveness of California poppy in combination with the plant hawthorn, against mild to moderate anxiety disorders.(Image source: Anette Meyer / Pixabay)

California poppies can also help you with mild pain. Products with poppy seeds are purely herbal and therefore do not have the side effects that chemical medicines often have. That's why California poppy is a good alternative that you can take instead of sleeping pills, for example.

What are the possible side effects of California poppy seed?

Studies are not completely unanimous about the side effects. It is difficult to say what side effects, if any, can occur. It is often stated that California poppies have no side effects at all (5).

California poppy is safe as long as you do not exceed the recommended dose.

Other articles mention digestive and mood disorders. Furthermore, skin reactions or hyperactivity can occur (4). According to a study, these can occur more frequently with products that contain alcohol than with products without (6).

In general, however, it can be said that Californian poppy is harmless as long as you adhere to the dosage given by the manufacturer. You should follow this in any case.

What types of California poppy are there?

California poppy seed products come in different forms. You have to choose between solid and liquid forms. The most common forms include:

  • Capsules
  • Drops
  • Tea

Below we show you the advantages and disadvantages of the different forms. This will help you make an informed decision.

Capsules

Many products with Californian poppy seeds are available in the form of capsules. The poppy seeds are pulverised and filled into capsules.

This form of ingestion is very convenient. You can simply swallow the capsules with a little water. They are easy to dose accurately. However, it is more difficult to adjust the dosage exactly. You can take more or less capsules. But you cannot change the amount of a capsule.

Advantages
  • Practical to use
  • easy, accurate dosage

Disadvantages
  • Slightly more expensive than other forms
  • dosage harder to adjust

The disadvantage of capsules is that they are usually somewhat more expensive than other products containing Californian poppy seeds.

In addition, capsules often consist not only of Californian poppy, but also have other plants mixed in, such as valerian or passion flowers. However, this does not have to be a disadvantage. The combination with other medicinal plants can be the right solution for you.

Drops

Drops are another way you can take Californian poppy. Drops are usually a little cheaper than capsules and are also easy to take. You can simply add the amount specified by the manufacturer to a glass of water and drink it.

Advantages
  • Somewhat cheaper
  • Easy to use
  • Easily adjustable dosage

Disadvantages
  • Dosage somewhat less accurate

The disadvantage of drops is that the dosage is somewhat less precise than with capsules. However, you can adjust the dosage more easily. In the beginning it is good to take only a few drops. Then you can see what effect they have on you and adjust the dose if necessary.

Tea

California poppy is also available in the form of tea. This is easy to prepare and can have a further calming effect on you through its warmth. This can help you sleep better and lower your stress levels.

Advantages
  • Easy to use
  • heat enhances the calming effect

Disadvantages
  • Preparation is more time-consuming

The disadvantage of the tea is that it has to be prepared first, so you have to spend a little more time to be able to take the product. Swallowing a capsule, for example, is quicker.

What should I bear in mind when using California poppy seeds?

When using California poppy seed, you should look at the dosage given by the manufacturer.

It is beneficial to start with a small dosage and see how it works for you. Depending on whether this amount has already helped you or not, you can then adjust the dosage.

You should never exceed the daily dosage given by the manufacturer. This can have negative effects on you, as California poppies can be toxic to humans in high quantities.

You should not take California poppy seed if you drive a car or operate machinery.

In some situations, you should refrain from taking California poppy. As it can have a drowsy and sedative effect on you, you should not take California poppy before driving a car or operating other machinery that requires a lot of concentration.

It is also not advisable to use California poppies if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as there is not enough research to confirm that it is safe for you to take in this state (3).

It is also important to be aware of what other medications you are taking. If you are taking other tranquillisers, especially sedatives such as benzodiazepines, you should avoid using California poppies (7).

Otherwise, it is advisable to discuss the use of California poppy seed with your doctor beforehand so that it does not interact with your other medications.

What are the alternatives to California poppy seed?

If you don't like California poppy seed, there are some other products you can use as alternatives. The alternative products can also help you sleep and calm down. We present some of the products here.

Alternative Description
CBD CBD is a herbal remedy derived from the hemp plant. It has a calming effect and can also help with sleep problems and anxiety disorders (8). CBD is not addictive and has only very mild, rarely occurring side effects (9).
Valerian Valerian is known as a medicinal plant that also has a calming and soporific effect on people (10). Valerian is also not addictive, but can cause mild side effects.
Sleeping pills sleeping pills is a non-herbal alternative that can help with falling asleep. The downside is that unlike the herbal alternatives, sleeping pills can be addictive and cause more side effects.

Depending on what ailments you have, the alternatives can also help you with your problems. All three have a calming effect and help reduce stress, anxiety and sleep problems.

Is California poppy poisonous?

The California poppy is a poisonous plant. It was even named poisonous plant of the year in 2016. In pure form and in high doses, all parts of the plant are dangerous for humans.

Kalifornischer Mohn

California poppy is a poisonous plant. Therefore, you should not exceed the recommended dosage. (Image source: Anette Meyer / Pixabay)

However, in small doses and in processed form, California poppy is harmless to humans and can thus spread its healing effects. However, be careful not to consume the products with Californian poppy in too high quantities and keep them away from children and animals.

Image source: Yoder / 123rf

References (10)

1. Milan Fedurco, Jana Gregorová, Kristýna Šebrlová, Jana Kantorová , Ondřej Peš, Roland Baur, Erwin Sigel, Eva Táborská (2015): Modulatory Effects of Eschscholzia californica Alkaloids on Recombinant GABAA Receptors
Source

2. A Rolland, J Fleurentin, M C Lanhers, C Younos, R Misslin, F Mortier, J M Pelt (1991): Behavioural effects of the American traditional plant Eschscholzia californica: sedative and anxiolytic properties
Source

3. European Medicines Agency (2015): Assessment report on Eschscholzia californica Cham., herba
Source

4. Michel Hanus, Jacqueline Lafon, Marc Mathieu (2004): Double-blind, randomised, 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
Source

5. Crischta Ganz (2017): Hausmittel für die Psyche: Vergessene Mittel aus der Hausapotheke und vom Wegesrand, Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Ganzheitsmedizin 2017;29:352–355, DOI: 10.1159/000484163
Source

6. Vamshi K Manda, Mohamed A Ibrahim, Olivia R Dale, Mallika Kumarihamy, Stephen J Cutler, Ikhlas A Khan, Larry A Walker, Ilias Muhammad, Shabana I Khan (2016): Modulation of CYPs, P-gp, and PXR by Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy) and Its Alkaloids
Source

7. A Rolland, J Fleurentin, M C Lanhers, R Misslin, F Mortier (2001): Neurophysiological effects of an extract of Eschscholzia californica Cham. (Papaveraceae)
Source

8. Antonio W Zuardi, Natália P Rodrigues, Angélica L Silva , Sandra A Bernardo, Jaime E C Hallak, Francisco S Guimarães, José A S Crippa (2017): Inverted U-Shaped Dose-Response Curve of the Anxiolytic Effect of Cannabidiol during Public Speaking in Real Life
Source

9. World Health Organization (2017): CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Pre-Review Report
Source

10. Maria Isabel Fernández-San-Martín, Roser Masa-Font, Laura Palacios-Soler, Pilar Sancho-Gómez, Cristina Calbó-Caldentey, Gemma Flores-Mateo (2010): Effectiveness of Valerian on insomnia: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials
Source

Why you can trust me?

Wissenschaftliche Studie
Milan Fedurco, Jana Gregorová, Kristýna Šebrlová, Jana Kantorová , Ondřej Peš, Roland Baur, Erwin Sigel, Eva Táborská (2015): Modulatory Effects of Eschscholzia californica Alkaloids on Recombinant GABAA Receptors
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
A Rolland, J Fleurentin, M C Lanhers, C Younos, R Misslin, F Mortier, J M Pelt (1991): Behavioural effects of the American traditional plant Eschscholzia californica: sedative and anxiolytic properties
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
European Medicines Agency (2015): Assessment report on Eschscholzia californica Cham., herba
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Michel Hanus, Jacqueline Lafon, Marc Mathieu (2004): Double-blind, randomised, 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
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Crischta Ganz (2017): Hausmittel für die Psyche: Vergessene Mittel aus der Hausapotheke und vom Wegesrand, Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Ganzheitsmedizin 2017;29:352–355, DOI: 10.1159/000484163
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Vamshi K Manda, Mohamed A Ibrahim, Olivia R Dale, Mallika Kumarihamy, Stephen J Cutler, Ikhlas A Khan, Larry A Walker, Ilias Muhammad, Shabana I Khan (2016): Modulation of CYPs, P-gp, and PXR by Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy) and Its Alkaloids
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
A Rolland, J Fleurentin, M C Lanhers, R Misslin, F Mortier (2001): Neurophysiological effects of an extract of Eschscholzia californica Cham. (Papaveraceae)
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Antonio W Zuardi, Natália P Rodrigues, Angélica L Silva , Sandra A Bernardo, Jaime E C Hallak, Francisco S Guimarães, José A S Crippa (2017): Inverted U-Shaped Dose-Response Curve of the Anxiolytic Effect of Cannabidiol during Public Speaking in Real Life
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
World Health Organization (2017): CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Pre-Review Report
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Maria Isabel Fernández-San-Martín, Roser Masa-Font, Laura Palacios-Soler, Pilar Sancho-Gómez, Cristina Calbó-Caldentey, Gemma Flores-Mateo (2010): Effectiveness of Valerian on insomnia: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials
Go to source
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