Eschscholtzia Eschscholtzia: Photo E.

Eschscholtzia californica


The California poppy, whose scientific name, spelling very complicated, honoring a famous Russian botanist, is native to the plains and coastal areas of California where it occurs on land rather dry, arid or sandy.

Eschscholtzia californica is an annual plant, typically, cut foliage, pale green, flowers yellow or orange, sometimes almost red, very decorative.

The bud of Eschscholtzia californica is characteristic oblong with a pointed end so it has two sepals obsolete.
The flower, terminal, the 4 petals contains many stamens and the fruit a silique elongated, contains many small seeds that provide easy release of Eschscholtzia.

The California poppy acclimates indeed very easily, it is found both in Chile in the south or west of France and is a decorative plant that can become invasive.
Like many Papaveraceae, Eschscholtzia californica has a network laticifers containing latex (colorless in the California poppy).


The Papaveraceae often contain many alkaloids, like the opium poppy (opium) or poppy. It is the same for the California poppy.

The whole plant contains the roots much more than the aerial parts, respectively 2 to 3% and 0.5%. Moreover, the alkaloid fraction of roots and aerial parts has a different composition.
Include some alkaloids Eschscholtzia californica among the most important:

* Bisnorargémonine and Norargémonine (also present in Argemone mexicana)
* Eschscholtzine and Californidine typical of California poppy. Fumarin Sanguinarine and found in many Papaveraceae (sanguinarine, celandine, Argemone).
* Chélérythrine, and Chelidonine Homochélidonine also present in the celandine.
* Alkaloids group aporphine: Lauroscholtzine, glaucine.

All these alkaloids Eschscholtzia were studied by pharmacologists. They do not appear significant toxicity except sanguinarine. The latter is strongly suspected to cause glaucoma (open angle) up to blindness. This eye disease is serious and insidious. The roots of California poppy contain a lot of cons by Sanguinarine it is present only as traces in the aerial parts.

Eschscholtzia californica also contains many other more ubiquitous compounds: carotenoids (coloring the petals), flavonoids, phytosterols, and a cyanogenic glycoside: linamarin.

The Eschscholtzia californica has been studied in France by the Laboratory of Pharmacognosy, University of Metz: Rolland A, Fleurentin J, Mortier F, and their colleagues.
They showed that hydroalcoholic or aqueous extract of California poppy is in mice:

* Anxiolytic low dose with an effect déshinbiteur.
* Sedative higher dose, this calming effect is proportional to dose.
* Analogous to a minor tranquilizer benzodiazepine type.

Indeed when one blocks the "benzodiazepine receptor site" Substance antagonist, the California poppy loses its sedative. According to them alkaloids Eschscholtzia are not solely responsible for the activity psychotropic or sedative anxiolytic.

Furthermore, in vitro, it is known that an extract of Eschscholtzia:

* Is antispasmodic, perhaps because of protopine, antispasmodic and anticholinergic.
* Slows down the heartbeat.

Some alkaloids are cytotoxic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory slightly.

In human clinical trials generally confirm the power sedative, slightly hypnotic and anxiolytic of aqueous or aqueous extracts of California poppy. They also seem slightly analgesics.


The California poppy was used by Indians as a medicinal plant and food, but they were quickly exterminated by the American colonists took with them their knowledge of local plants.

The California poppy, Eschscholtzia, a plant is sedative, anxiolytic and slightly analgesic that can be used:

* In case of difficulty getting to sleep, both in children over 6 years as an adult.
* In case of insomnia the second part of the night.
* In cases of mild anxiety and when it brings trouble "psychosomatic" type, lump in throat, chest tightness, feeling that the heart stops, enuresis.
* When insomnia is accompanied by pain, joint associated with osteoarthritis, for example.

Some herbalists recommend the California poppy in migraine.

Often associated Eschscholtzia other sedative plants like passion flower, valerian, or hawthorn.
Given the quantity of alkaloids in the California poppy, it is contraindicated in pregnant women or nursing mothers and young children.

Examples of dosage (all these preparations have the same amount of active ingredient):

* Eschscholtzia californica, prolonged infusion of aerial parts dry: 5 g per day
* Eschscholtzia californica tincture aerial parts 100 to 150 drops at night, 1 hour before bedtime
* Eschscholtzia californica, fluid extract of aerial parts: easier to use because more concentrated active ingredient, 15 to 30 drops 1 to 3 times per day.

There are many specialty pharmaceuticals that contain Eschscholtzia alone or in combination with other substances or plants sedative or soothing.

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