California poppy is an herbal remedy that is claimed to be beneficial for treating several health conditions, such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Although it is not exactly clear how it works, the substance may contain alkaloids, which may work in a similar way as some anxiety and insomnia medications. Before using California poppy, make sure your healthcare provider is aware of any other medicines you are taking (including vitamins and supplements).
California poppy is a flowering plant that is native to the western United States and Mexico. It is used medicinally as an herbal supplement and is claimed to treat insomnia, anxiety, depression, and several other problems. Although related to opium poppy, it is not a narcotic and cannot be used to make opium.
(Click Benefits of California Poppy for more information on what it is used for, including additional uses.)
It is not exactly clear how California poppy works. Studies indicate that two particular compounds (californine and protopine) may be responsible for the medicinal properties of the plant. These compounds are known as alkaloids, and they may act somewhat like benzodiazepines, a group of prescription anxiety and insomnia medications, such as Valium® (diazepam). These compounds may help to relieve muscle spasms, anxiety, and insomnia. However, unlike benzodiazepines, they do not seem to have any anti-seizure activity.
Although California poppy is sometimes smoked as a substitute for marijuana (it can cause a mild euphoria), it does not seem to be addicting or habit forming.
There is not enough evidence to rate the effectiveness of California poppy for any use.
(Click Does California Poppy Work? for more information.)