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California Poppy Extract: Uses, Side Effects, & Dosage


In recent times, there has been a significant rise in health-related problems, especially after the outbreak of COVID-19. This rise can be attributed to the poor lifestyle or habits as well. That is why more and more people are starting to shift towards healthier options which factor in the use of natural products.

Due to rising health awareness and people shifting towards natural products, the market for herbal/organic products has also been rising. This shift towards organic products is what has led to the increasing consumption of California poppy extracts. The flower has now become more than a garden attraction.

In this blog, we will focus on the California poppy plant and its extract and discuss all related details. If you are interested in learning more about the plant and its extract, then keep on reading!

California Poppy: The Cup Of Gold

California poppy is a popular herb in the West. Many herbal practitioners there use the extract of this plant to relieve muscular tension, Insomnia, anxiety, pain, etc.

California poppy is a flower species native to the United States and Mexico and also California's state flower. The scientific name for the plant is Eschscholzia Californica, with other names being golden poppy and California sunlight. The plant is found in various shades, which include orange, red, and yellow colors, and is shaped like a cup. Due to their cheery bright colors and shape, people also call the plant a "cup of gold."

Also, the scientific name of this plant is in honor of a renowned surgeon and naturalist, Dr. Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz.

However, as we mentioned earlier, the plant has more properties than just being for show. Let's dive into the flower's extract and understand the benefits it provides.

What Is California Poppy Extract? How Can You Create One At Home?

If we talk about the California poppy extract, then it is nothing but an extract of the California poppy plant. The plant lacks scientific evidence to back its health-related benefits. Still, the plant has been traditionally used in various recipes. That is also the reason why many people prefer its consumption. One of the most common ways of consumption is by drinking tea containing the extract.

The process of extraction is simple enough if you want it for individual use. Industrial extraction can be more complicated, which remains a topic for another day. Let's have a look at the process of creating a California Poppy Extract.

  • Take a jar and put california poppy in it. You can also pour the other aerial parts** of the plant into the jar.

  • The next step is to pour alcohol into the jar and shake it daily. You can use any percentage of alcohol in the recipe.

  • Keep shaking the jar daily for a month, and don't make any changes to the ingredients.

  • After a month, strain out** the plant materials, and the extract should be ready to use.

A perk of creating an extract by yourself is that it allows the preservation of the plant's inherent properties. Anyone who wants a time-saving process can also purchase the extract from the market. The prerequisite is that you purchase it from a reliable store or supplier.

(**Aerial parts - These are the parts of a plant that remain above the ground, which include stems, leaves, petioles, fruits, flowers, and seeds.

**Strain out - Filtering out the solid parts from the liquid)

Why Should You Use California Poppy Extract?

Apart from the popularity of the flower among gardeners, the extract of this flower has various medicinal uses as well. Some of its medical uses include

  • Use in tinctures as well as capsules which have calming effects.

  • It can also help you to relax, reduce pain to a certain degree, and improve sleep patterns.

  • Many folk medicines also make use of this plant for its sedative properties.

  • The plant extract also contains various compounds, which include alkaloids. These alkaloids are known for their action on the GABA receptors**. You can find these receptors throughout the central nervous system.

  • The extract of this plant also has various properties that can relieve anxiety and stress. But, the studies are very limited.

  • It also has various properties such as antihistamine, analgesic, diuretic, hypnotic, and anti-inflammatory.

(**GABA receptors are the receptors that respond to the release of GABA compounds in the body's post-synaptic nerve terminal.)

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transmission inhibits the neuron firing. It is also one of the major neurotransmitters responsible for the regulation of sleep. There are many drugs as well that can increase the reception of this compound in our bodies. But they also have sedative effects while stimulating these receptors.

The alkaloids in the extract of plants include protopine and Allocryptopine, and they are the ones that interact with GABA receptors. Even though the medical study is very limited, there is little evidence indicating that the extract of this flower has sedative properties. It is when you use it as a supplement.

Is It Safe To Use California Poppy Extract?

While the extract is safe to use, there is much we still need to learn about the healing properties of the plant. There is more need for human studies on the effects of this flower.

This lack of evidence is why medical experts advise proper care and caution before consuming california poppy extract or any other products of this plant. We would also advise you not to use it in case you have a medical condition.

However, from a general perspective, there is no harm in consuming the extract. But, it is only for when you are not suffering from a medical condition, are on medication, or have weak immunity.

How Does It Promote Sleep?

The evidence is not substantial, but there are some studies that suggest mixing it with Valerian can help in improving sleep patterns.

Similar to the alkaloids found in California poppy, Valerian has components such as Valerenol and Valerenic acid. These components work in a similar way to alkaloids by increasing the GABA reception, which gives it sedative effects.

There was a month-long study which in which 36 individuals suffering from Insomnia took part. They had to take 4 tablets of a supplement containing 80 mg of California poppy and 32 mg of Valerian. It was a nightly course, which basically means that the participants took these supplementary tablets every night.

The results worked in favor of the supplement. All the participants had better sleep patterns and efficiency over the month-long study. Their insomnia severity index (ISI) also decreased by 30%, which is an indication of an improvement only.

While the results were in favor of the supplement, there were also doubts related to the study results. It is because the supplement company hired the researchers conducting the study. This leads to the belief that the results may have been altered by the company to improve their sales.

The doubt also arises from the fact that there is no other human study indicating the same benefit of consuming California Poppy extract. Furthermore, there is no study that proves its effectiveness in treating sleep disorders.

So, if you are using the extract to help with your sleep, make sure that you exercise proper caution. You can also consider consultation from a health expert.

Can It Relieve Anxiety?

There was a promising study that included 264 participants. All of them were suffering from the symptoms of moderate to mild levels of anxiety.

The research was to test the use of a tablet containing California Poppy extract, Magnesium, and Hawthorn Extract. All the individuals took 2 tablets twice every day over the course of 3 months, and the results were astounding. There was a significant increment in the relief of anxiety symptoms.

Apart from this, there are also some older studies from the 90s and 2000s. However, you should take their results with a pinch of salt. One such study included mice where anti-anxiety and sleep-inducing effects were observed. Another older study had rodents in which the pain-relieving property of the California poppy was observed.

There is a need for more human studies to conclude the anti-anxiety effects of the flower extract.

California Poppy: Potential Side Effects

The plant extract does not have many side effects from a generic point of view. However, it does not mean that anyone can use it. There are certain limitations to the plant's health-related benefits, which we have already talked about in the previous sections of the blog.

This section will focus on the possible side effects that you may come across.

While the extract is known for inducing sleep, sometimes, it may also make you feel excessively sleepy. Another side effect is the slowness in breathing which can cause breathing problems.

Pregnant / Breastfeeding women should also stay away from the consumption of California poppy extract.

Interaction With Other Medicines

We already know that the plant contains alkaloids with sedative properties. However, the extract and alkaloid components, such as Escholtzine and Allocryptopine, can also interact with other drugs. Some of the drugs that it interacts with are warfarin (blood thinner) and metoprolol (blood pressure medicine). This interaction can impact the functions of the medicine.

The extract also interacts with Benzodiazepines, which is a sedative. The combination of this drug and extract can also be quite dangerous. Consult a medical expert if you plan to use these together. Apart from Benzodiazepines, the interaction with CNS depressants is also complex. It can cause excessive sleepiness in an individual.


The right amount of California Poppy extract dosage can vary based on many different factors. These factors include age, immunity, medical conditions, and history. For an average adult, the appropriate amount of dosage is 40 mg of the extract twice a day. The National Capital Poison Center recommends this dosage, so there is no need to second that.

However, the chances are, a doctor would recommend not using the California poppy extract or its supplements. The reason is simple, insufficient medical evidence. That is why it would be a good idea to consult a doctor before taking California Poppy Extract. Also, don't forget to check the instructions on the product package.

California Poppy is available in many different forms, which include tablets, supplements, tinctures, etc. They all make use of the extract form, and you can use it by mixing it with tea or in your meals.

Also, the dosage is appropriate for adults only. Children or senior citizens should not start using unless it is prescribed to do so.

Is It Addictive?

The California poppy belongs to the Papaveraceae family, which makes it a true poppy. This makes it have similar growth habits. However, unlike the other members of this family, the California poppy is not addictive, and neither is it an opiate.

On the contrary, people dealing with symptoms of opioid withdrawal and PTSD can use the extract. It is said to bring relief to the symptoms. It is also a narcotic at the same time which we have seen already. Another question is whether California poppies are hallucinogenic or not. The answer is NO; while the plant contains sedative properties, there is no evidence that it is indicative of the plant being hallucinogenic.

Interesting Facts About California Poppy

Now that we have understood what the California poppy is and how the extracts work, let us share some interesting facts surrounding the plant.

  • You should know that California poppies are drought-tolerant and can also tolerate many different qualities of soil. However, the ideal soil for them is the one with fast draining.

  • They are sown directly into the ground and do not like it when anyone disturbs their roots.

  • Its survivability has made it to be called a perennial plant.

  • The plant is also known as a self-seeder. The seeds pop up automatically after ripening and spread to ground areas around six feet away.

  • California poppy has been used by the native Californians for food, halting lactation, toothaches, and relieving wounds.


California Poppy extracts have been becoming more popular. However, the lack of human trials on its effectiveness is slowing the progress. Despite all that, there are plenty of people who consume California poppy extract and live a healthy life. It is always advisable to consult a medical expert or a herbalist before consuming the extract. But, those who have already received the permission must be looking for a way to get the extract.

We understand that most of you are busy with your lives and do not have much time to make the extract on your own. That is why you do not have to wander elsewhere; Shea's Apothecary has got the finest quality California Poppy extract. One of the significant features of our extract is that we manufacture it ourselves. We ensure that our extract preserves all the benefits of the plant.

Also, there are many other extracts available at our online store. We have high standards for quality when it comes to manufacturing. If you are still concerned, contact our customer service to resolve all your doubts. You can find the contact details below.


Call: 916 208-9096

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Illegal To Grow California Poppies?

The answer is NO; it is not illegal to grow California poppy. However, damaging or removing the plant from someone else's property is an offense. If you pick the flower from a state or a federal park, you are liable for prosecution as a criminal offense.

Is California Poppy Native Only To California?

Yes, the California poppy is native to California. However, you can find it in many other states in the United States and even in Mexico.

Is California Poppy Toxic?

While the California poppy flower is not toxic in general, in excessive quantities, it can become toxic to humans as well as animals.

Can I Eat California Poppy Seeds?

No, it can be dangerous to eat the seeds of California Poppy. They are usually very toxic and can harm anyone who consumes them directly.

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