Herb of the Week - California poppy

Herb of the Week - California poppy


            This week, let's take a look at the California poppy. The Latin name for this plant is Eschscholzia californica. Its other aliases include: TheGolden Poppy; California Sunlight; Cup of Gold; Copa de Oro; and Khishkhash Kalifornia.


            The California poppy was first identified by Adelbert von Chamisso. He named it's genus after Johann Fredrich von Eschsholtz, who was his friend and colleague on Otto von Kotzebue's scientific expedition to California aboard the Russian ship Rurik in the mid-1810s.

            California poppy is the state flower of California, and is native to California. Its natural habitat extends to Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Throughout history, people have admired its beauty and usefulness, so they expanded its reach by taking seeds with them on their travels; thus the California poppy can also be found today in France, Australia, and Chile.

            The California poppy is drought-tolerant, self-seeding, and easy to grow in gardens. The aboveground parts of the plant are used today in modern herbal medicine, though the whole plant has been used medicinally for centuries by Native Americans. They would make teas and topical extracts to treat aches, sleeplessness, and anxiety. For tooth pain they would chew the root for the pain relieving property of the poppy's root juice. They would use the pollen cosmetically as face paint, and use the seeds in cooking.

            The effect of California poppy, unlike stronger acting poppy species, works towards establishing equilibrium, and is non-narcotic and non-addictive. It has a more specialized scope of actions relating to sedation, pain relief, soothing anxiety, and has antidepressant effects.

            California poppy can be taken in a number of ways. Most popular is through tincture, however you can take California poppy by tea or infusion, or with diffusion using a diffuser or a vaporizer.


            Ailments which indicate treatment with California Poppy include: pain of any kind, though it is especially helpful in dealing with nerve pain; intestinal cramping; menstrual cramping; sleep disorders particularly insomnia; anxiety; agitation; and headaches. It has also been proven to be beneficial in treating diseases of the bladder, and the liver. It can also help with bed-wetting in children.


            The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and may interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

            It is not recommended to take California poppy if you are pregnant or breast-feeding; if you are taking sedative medications; if you are taking a narcotic; or if you are going into surgery. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while under the effect of California poppy.


Fact Breakdown:


            Latin Name:  Eschscholzia californica

            Medicinal Actions: Sedative, Anodyne, Anxiolytic, Antidepressant.

            Indications: Pain, intestinal cramping, menstrual cramping, insomnia, anxiety, depression


            Contraindications: Fever; while pregnant or breast-feeding; concurrently with prescription drugs or psychiatric medications; going into surgery where anesthetic will be used.




This is our own Califonia poppy tincture: http://the-midnight-garden-apothecary.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/tincture-california-poppy


Wikipedia – California Poppy





Todd Caldecott – California Poppy





Parmesan California Poppy Seed Crackers Recipe


  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 4 teaspoons california poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed/vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons ice water (or more as needed)


  1. In bowl, add flours, poppy seeds and cheese. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly together.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together oil and soy sauce and add to dry mixture.
  3. Continue adding ice water a little at a time as needed until the dry mixture becomes a moist dough ball.
  4. Wrap dough ball in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
  5. Oil cookie sheet and preheat oven to 325ºF.
  6. Break off piece of dough and lay between two plastic wraps. Roll out dough flat or until desired cracker thin-ness . Using plastic wrap will keep the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and your work surface. Occasionally, the plastic wrap will wrinkle in the dough. Remove one of the plastic wrap sheets from the dough and straighten it out again to remove wrinkles.
  7. Once dough is rolled out, remove top layer of plastic wrap and cut dough to desired size with a sharp knife or pasta cutter.
  8. Grab the plastic wrap on the bottom of the dough and flip it over on to cookie sheet. Remove last plastic wrap. Carefully separate the cut pieces of dough so that the crackers can have a crispy edge when baked.
  9. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. DO NOT OVER BAKE because the Parmesan cheese will burn and become bitter.
  10. Serve with cheese or your favorite dip!

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