Herb Spotlight - California Poppy

California Poppy (Eschscholizia californica)  

Family: Papaveraceae

Part Used: Whole Plant

Flavor/Aroma: Bitter

Energetics: Cooling


California Poppy is best known for its mild sedative effects, with affinities for calming both the mind and body. It is also the California state flower and has mysterious ancient origins behind its medicinal uses.  


California Poppy is a perennial herb that grows blue-green leaves and sprouts bright yellow or orange flowers. The flowers open with the morning sun, but remain closed on cloudy days and at night.

Cultivation and Harvesting:

California Poppy grows easily in most soil conditions, favoring edges of established areas and in rocky landscapes at lower elevations; it grows easily, and spreads prolifically through self-seeding when conditions allow.³ California Poppy is best harvested when the flowers are open; the entire plant, including the root, is harvested for medicinal uses.1,3

Southern Oregon Cultivation:

California Poppy is a commonly identified wildflower that thrives in the drier, hotter climates of Southern Oregon. It is easily identified in the wild by its brilliant orange petals and delicate lace like leaves; and will regularly grow along roadsides, open fields, and other sunny areas. California poppy has blooms that attract pollinators from far and wide and supports our local ecosystem, so always use your best practices when harvesting.  

History and Folklore:

American Indian Uses: Tribes in California have used the herb as a rich food source and for the potent oils that are extracted from the flowering plant; it was used by the Costanoan tribes as a calming agent and to aid in restful sleep.1

Other Traditional Uses: Fresh or dried herb was infused into baths before bed to promote healthy sleep, along with a serving of fresh brewed tea of the aerial parts.

Modern Applications:

California Poppy is indicated for those with mild sleep, occasional pain or inflammatory support, and also to help calm the bodies stress response.¹ It has been shown to reinforce cellular integrity by promoting nutrient uptake by cells systemically.²

Uses and Preparations:

Dried Herb Tea Preparation: 

Infuse 1-2 teaspoons per cup of water.

Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds. 


2-4 mL/day daily and before bed; it can be repeated as needed for sleep and pain support up to 4 times daily.

Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.  

Recommended Usage:

It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended usage amounts are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the usage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.

Sun God Medicinals products that contain California Poppy:

Aja Tension Herbal Tincture 

Aja Headache Herbal Elixir

Hypnos Smoking Blend

Heka Calm and Peace Tincture

Hypnos Sleep Aid Herbal and Hemp Syrup

Hercules Muscle Ease Tea

Ra Herbals California Poppy Tincture



Not for use in pregnancy except under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.


  1. Liu, L., Liu, C., Wang, P., Li, Y., & Li, B. (2015). Herbal Medicine for Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia. www.ncbi.nhm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4790408/  
  2. Carefree California Poppy. (n.d.). www.herbalrootszine.com/articles/carefree-california-poppy/ 
  3. Opium. (n.d.). https://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/papaver-somn1.html 

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.