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Health Benefits of California Poppy

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: BStone • updated: 11/27/2010

California poppy has been used for many years to relieve anxiety and promote sleep. Learn other benefits of California poppy, know how to make a cup of tea, and know what precautions should be taken.

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    California Poppy

    California Poppy The California poppy, also known as the flame flower, golden poppy, or copa de oro (cup of gold), is the state flower of California (since 1903). April 6 is California Poppy Day and May 13-18 is Poppy Week.

    This beautiful plant with blue-green foliage and golden orange flowers is native to open areas in the western parts of the United States. The flower petals close at night and open in the morning. They may also close on cold, windy, or cloudy days.

    The California poppy belongs in the same family as the opium poppy but it does not contain the same alkaloids (not classified as a narcotic). It does act as a sedative and analgesic but it is not as potent as opium poppy and it does not appear to induce tolerance and dependence.

    The California Indians cherished the California poppy. They used it as a food source and as medicine.

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    Benefits of California Poppy

    Sleep

    It was a poppy field that Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz fell asleep in while crossing to reach Emerald City. Although California poppy does not act that strongly, it can be helpful in mild cases of sleeplessness without causing morning grogginess.

    Anxiety

    When combined with magnesium salts and hawthorn, California poppy can help treat mild to moderate anxiety without the side effects of many medications.

    Tooth Pain

    California poppy was commonly used to treat tooth pain by applying the juice from the roots on the affected area.

    Other benefits of California poppy...

    California poppy has also been used to treat colic, bedwetting, headaches, muscular pain, high fever, persistent spasmodic cough, ADHD, and memory and concentration problems in the elderly. It is used externally to treat cuts and scrapes and to eliminate head lice.

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    Preparing California Poppy Tea

    Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried herb, cover, steep about 5 minutes, and strain. Drink 2-3 cups a day as needed.

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    Precautions

    California poppy has no known side effects when appropriately taken.

    Safety has not been established during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

    California poppy may cause a false-positive result with drug tests checking for opiates.

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    Photo Credit

    Poppy flower image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:California-poppies.jpg

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.


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