The Health Benefits of California Poppy

Dr. Morgan Camp M.D.


California poppy is now widely used and promoted in modern herbal practices and is a treatment for stress, anxiety, insomnia, pain, and tension. It works with the central nervous system and provides feelings of relaxation and calm.

A stunning, sun-kissed flower in colors of vibrant orange-gold, the California poppy has been the official state flower of California since 1903. The ‘cup of gold’ or ‘California sunlight’ is a native wildflower that grows throughout the Pacific coast of North America from northern Mexico to the Canadian border. 

For the botanists amongst us, the California poppy’s official scientific name is Eschscholzia californica and is from the Papaveraceae family of flowering plants. It was named by the naturalist Adelbert von Chamisso while aboard the Russian exploring ship, Rurick. The Rurick visited California in 1816 and Chamisso, after seeing the flower, named it in honor of the ship’s surgeon, J. F. Eschscholtz. (1) 

Historical Uses

Apart from its radiant colors and beauty, the California poppy has been used for medicinal purposes for many hundreds of years. The Indigenous peoples of North America had various uses and utilized the roots, stem, and petals for ailments such as toothache, stomach aches, headaches, sedatives for sleep aid, and it even was used as a treatment for hair lice. The leaves were also prepared as food and eaten as greens. (2)

Modern Day Uses Of California Poppy

California poppy is now widely used and promoted in modern herbal practices and is a treatment for stress, anxiety, insomnia, pain, and tension. It works with the central nervous system and provides feelings of relaxation and calm. The part of the plant used in herbal medicine comes from above the soil and contains alkaloids, which have therapeutic effects. (3)  

Medicines are usually sold in tincture form with droplets applied under the tongue or topically. It can be used on its own or complemented with other herbs depending on treatment use.

Be Serene Instant Relief 

Be Serene Instant Relief is a fast-acting, natural anxiety-relieving medicinal product. It is applied topically to the wrists or temples and can restore your body and mind to a state of calm and tranquility after feelings of worry, panic, and anxiety. Packed with 5 powerful, natural ingredients, including:

  • California poppy. Known as the ‘feel-good’ herb, and has been used extensively as a treatment for anxiety and sleep deprivation.
  • Mulungu. A tree native to Brazil, the bark of mulungu have been used to relieve pain, aid sleep, lower blood pressure, and treat conditions like depression, anxiety, and epileptic seizures. (4)   
  • Albizia Supreme. Native to Asia and known as the ‘happiness bark’ or ‘happiness herb’ and is extensively used in Chinese medicine. (5)  
  • GABA. People with certain medical conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress or suffer from panic attacks may have lower levels of GABA. Studies have shown GABA supplements may reduce the risk of the aforementioned disorders. (6)  
  • L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green and black tea leaves. Some studies have found promising results of L-Theanine and published data suggests that L-theanine administered at daily doses ranging from 200 to 400 mg for up to 8 weeks may induce anti-stress effects. (7)  

Additional information about Be Serene Instant Relief can be obtained by visiting their website here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

How safe is California poppy?

California poppy appears to be safe for most people when taken in moderate amounts for three months or less. At present, there isn’t enough information available to know if the California poppy is safe for long-term use. 

Surgery: There is some concern that California poppy might slow down the central nervous system too much when combined with anesthesia and other medications used during and after surgery. Stop using California poppy at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery. (8)  

Can it be used during pregnancy?

Extensive studies have not been carried out to determine if California poppy is safe for use during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It is generally advised to avoid use during these times.

What dose should be taken?

Several factors such as age, health, and other medical conditions should be considered before use. Always use the recommended amounts and follow directions written on product labels. If in doubt consult a healthcare professional for advice before using. (9)   

Are there any known interactions with California Poppy? 


Sedative medications (Benzodiazepines) interact with California poppy. 

Some of these medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and others.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interact with California poppy. 

Sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

California poppy might cause tiredness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking California poppy along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness. (9)

Is California Poppy suitable for vegans and vegetarians?

Yes, California poppy is suitable for vegan and vegetarian friendly.

Is it illegal to produce your own California poppy?

Yes and no. 

While it is not illegal to grow and harvest California poppy on your property, you must gain written landowner permission to remove and sell plant material. Under California Penal Code Section 384a, removing or damaging plants from property that you do not own without permission may constitute trespass and/or theft. (10)  

Should California poppy be taken with or without food?

California poppy can be taken with or without food. If you have a sensitive digestive system, it may be best to take it with food.

Is California poppy extract addictive?

California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is in the same family as the infamous Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). However, California poppy is a gentle sedative and mild painkiller that is non-addictive and current records show no dangerous levels of toxicity. (11)  

Embrace What Is Natural

Herbal medicine is the original, and still the most widely used method of healing in the world today. Their uses are extensive and can be found in many forms: powders, teas, extracts, tinctures, tablets, capsules, and dried or fresh plants. They are a natural product that can be used topically to the skin, consumed by mouth, or added to bathwater or clothing. 

Modern technology in scientific research is increasingly able to break down the chemical compounds derived in plants to prove what the ancient world has known all along. Herbal supplements as a stand-alone treatment, or as a complement to conventional medicine should always be used safely, and in conjunction with expert advice from medical professionals. 

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About Dr. Morgan Camp M.D.

Dr. Morgan is an expert in Functional and Integrative Medicine with a Strong Emphasis in stress related illnesses like anxiety and insomnia. In addition to his 20 years of work in Functional Medicine, he has expanded his practice to include work on the deeper aspects of our being that point to the root cause of our illnesses working with Mind Body Wellness, Energy Medicine, and Healing with Consciousness.
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