5 Reasons You Need To Start Using Californian Poppy This Summer

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We love Californian Poppy - its beautiful bright flower indicates that summer is just around the corner - a time to relax and harvest some of the amazing wild plants growing around you. While beautiful, this flower also has some powerful actions that can help you with sleep, anxiety, pain, travel sickness and even bedwetting in your little ones. Read on to find out how you can start using it for yourself.

We wild harvest Californian poppy from Central Otago. It is part of a busy couple of months for us, starting with a thyme harvest, then the Californian poppy, chamomile and St John’s wort harvest. 


How To Identify Californian Poppy

California poppy is known as Eschscholzia californica and is easily spotted due to it’s bright orange or yellow flower. It is native to the United States of America and grows wild throughout California, but is also found in North and South America, France and throughout the world - including Aotearoa.
It is an annual that grows to about 60cm high with flowers that close at sunset. Some communities refer to the flowers as ‘Johnny go to sleep’ firstly due to the fact the flowers close at night, but also because it supports sleep. 

Californian poppy likes to grow in full sun and well-drained soil, so it's very well suited to Central Otago, but you will find it flowering all throughout New Zealand. Despite the fact it is related to the opium poppy, it does have very different effects and is not narcotic like the opium poppy. It is non-addictive and has a high safety profile. In high doses, it is a sedative and a pain reliever.

How To Harvest Californian Poppy

When harvesting, look for the open flowers to pick and then either dry or use them fresh. Some herbalists only use of the aerial parts of Californian poppy, but others use the whole plant, root and all. The best time to harvest Californian poppy is just as the flowers are going to seed. Fresh preparations are considered most potent.

How To Use Californian Poppy

You can use Californian poppy in much the same way you use other nervous system supporting plants. You can add fresh flowers to hot water for a relaxing herbal tea before bed, or you can dry the flowers to use them in a tea blend.
A general ratio for making Californian poppy tea is 3 grams per 150ml.

There has been documented use of using fresh flowers as a compress for helping with wound care. Dried flowers would make a lovely addition to relaxing Epsom bath salts to support a rested sleep. You could make an infused oil with the flowers for those who need some pain support. It would also be helpful for restless legs or growing pains, as well as St John’s wort, which can be found in our Golden Skin Oil.

Why you need to start using Californian poppy 

1. Californian Poppy Helps Support Sleep

Knowing how to use Californian poppy is a great way to take control of your own health and wellness, and because of its safety profile, you can feel confident it is a great herb for your children, too! Californian poppy was traditionally used by indigenous Americans to support sleep. The flower helps to speed up the onset and improve the duration of sleep. It has a great affinity for children and can help with over-excitability and sleeplessness. It is a safe sedative that has been used traditionally for hundreds of years. 

🌿Related: 8 Incredible Herbs To Help With Sleep

2. It Can Help With Anxiety

As Californian poppy helps to calm people down for sleep - it also helps reduce the feelings of anxiety. It does this by working on your brain’s GABA and serotonin signals - helping with calmness and supporting a healthy mood. It can also help to synthesise adrenaline which is important when you are stressed out!

We have paired chamomile with Californian poppy in our Rest and Calm to help support your whole family from anxious feelings, worry and sleeplessness. It works beautifully with chamomile and provides a safe nervous system support that you can adjust to best support your health.

3. You Can Use Californian Poppy For Pain Support

Californian poppy has also been used to help with pain levels - in particular for children. It is great at helping with teething, unwellness and colic. It also works as an antispasmodic and an analgesic, helping with upset stomachs, coughs and sore muscles. This is why we use it in our Chest Tonic. It is also useful for tension headaches, which often arise when you are under stress or when you are feeling anxious.

🌿Related5 Natural Remedies For Stress That Actually Work


4. It Can Help With Bedwetting

One of the most common prescriptions used for children with bedwetting is Californian poppy. This could be because it helps support a stressed nervous system, and it's also been said to help the urinary system and bladder. So, if you have children that are still struggling with bed wetting, our Kids Rest and Calm with chamomile and Californian poppy could help, or you could learn how to use Californian poppy for yourself with some of the methods suggested in this blog.


5. It Helps With Travel Sickness

There's nothing worse than going on a long road trip when you're prone to travel sickness. But if you know how to use Californian poppy, you might be able to use it to help you on these journeys. Both Californian poppy and chamomile help support people who get travel sick. They work to calm the digestive and nervous system, which is helpful for those that are sensitive to motion. Our Rest and Calm is a great thing to keep in the glove box of your car, but a cup of homemade Californian poppy tea will also help.


1 comment

  • Posted on by Paula
    Thank you so much for another wonderful blog so much great help and advice. Rest andCalm is a wonderful product but I shall also make the tea with the flowers now you have given me the confidence. I have sent on to others who I feel will be pleased to know about the Poppy. It always pops up in my garden and is so beautiful. Thank you.

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