Californian poppy – Eschscholzia californica

Herbs

In the Midlands you will be counting the warm days before the first frosts arrive, so any plant that gives you extra ‘sunshine’ is welcome.

Californian poppy – Eschscholzia californica is one of these.

This poppy is the state flower of California and native to western North America. I think they are one of the happiest of the early summer flowers, continuing right through to the last of the warm weather, laying quietly throughout winter, even the harshest, waiting to ‘shine’ again next spring.

Eschscholzia grows up to 40cm, with finely divided, feathery leaves and bright, shallow-cupped yellow, orange, cream or pink flowers followed by long curved seedpods. Although Californian poppy is an annual, it self seeds so easily that once you have them, you will always have them. It prefers well-drained to poor soil, and full sun, for the best quality flowers.

With similar properties to those of the Opium poppy, this non-addictive and milder alternative has a markedly different effect on the central nervous system. It is not a narcotic. In fact, rather than disorientating the user, it tends to normalize psychological function.
It was used by Native Americans as a gentle pain killer, especially against toothache, colic pains and gall bladder colic. The whole plant is used as an ingredient for infusions and tinctures as a sedative and hypnotic for children, especially in attempts to overcome bedwetting, sleeplessness, over-excitability, nervous tension and the calming of hyperactive children. In homeopathy it is used both as a tonic and sleeping draught.

Preparation:
Sleeplessness – Make an infusion (tea) by using 1 – 2 teaspoons of the dried herb to a cup
of boiling water and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink at night.
Tincture – take 1 – 4ml of the tincture at night.
Over-active children – infuse 1 tsp dried herb to 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Drink as needed – no more than three cups per day.
It’s not only a lovely plant in summer, but a useful herb as well.

Until next time
Yours in herbs,
Diane Aldworth 082 808 1519 dragonair@lantic.net