California Poppy Herb

Other known names for California poppy herb extract are Eschscholzia californica, papaver and Californian poppy.

The California poppy herb is a yearly blossoming plant that can grow up to two feet tall. The plant appears delicate as the leaves are separated several times over into exquisite frosty, dull green segments. Eye-catching flowers blossom from February through September in an assortment of colors from brilliant yellow to rich orange and consist of four petals with several stamens.

While there are a number of annual varieties of poppy plants that exist throughout North America, the yearly blossoming plants are the ones most commonly used for health purposes.

Local Indians on the West Coast made use of California poppy seed extract as a painkiller. They were especially fond of using the herb to treat toothaches. It was also utilized as a poultice (medical dressing consisting of a soft heated mass of meal or clay that is spread on a cloth and applied to the skin to treat inflamed areas or improve circulation etc.) for sores and ulcers. Some used California poppy herb for colic (acute abdominal pain) pains and found it helpful when dealing with gall-bladder colic.

Interestingly, Indian women employed the extract when they wanted to charm unreactive lovers or added it to food when an aid in becoming pregnant was desired. Modern Native Americans cook the plant in olive oil to produce a hair tonic that is reported to make the hair grow thick and lustrous.

Very few people are unfamiliar with the scene from the movie, The Wizard of Oz, where the wicked witch puts Dorothy and her travelling companions to sleep in a field of poppies. It is a somewhat realistic representation of the herb as it can assist with relaxation and sleep. California poppy is said to be the non-addictive alternative to the Opium poppy and in turn, far less powerful. It has been used as a sedative or relaxant to unwind where high energy and sleeplessness is present.

The active properties of California poppy extract are antispasmodic agents, which relieve pain, muscle spasms, cramps or convulsions, anodyne agents that eases pain, hypnotic agents that helps to encourage sleep without altering receptivity and a sedative agent that can lessen distress levels, nervous conditions or irritability.

It is used whenever medication to relieve spasms in needed. The extract has also been reported to be used in the treatment of chronic coughs, which are a type of spasm.

The typical daily dosage can depend on the health condition involved. To help promote relaxation and sleep, add a cup of boiling water to 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and let sit for about 10 minutes. Drink immediately before going to bed. As a tincture, use 1-4 ml of the liquid at night. For other specific conditions and variations of the herb, see package directions or consult your doctor and herbalist.

While the name ‘poppy’ can be immediately associated with the drug ‘opium’, it is important to recognize that the California poppy herb is not the same. It is a mild and safe relaxant that is not illegal or damaging to the nervous system.

Gentle relief from various conditions can be provided by California poppy extract.

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