Recently, California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) has been highlighted on Dr. Oz’s show as an herbal alternative to prescription pain relievers. California Poppy can be found growing in abundance throughout California, covering roadsides with its lovely orange and yellow flowers. It is also amazingly simple to cultivate. This lovely little herb is not only California’s state flower, but also a powerful nervine and excellent herbal remedy. An anti-spasmodic, analgesic, skeletal muscle relaxant and sedative, California Poppy has many uses and has aided countless people throughout time. The extract is most commonly used for insomnia. It greatly assists falling asleep, staying asleep and improving sleep quality. It can also be used as a pain reliever, particularly for headaches, neuralgia, and minor aches and pains. California Poppy can be taken to alleviate intestional and menstrual cramps and relieve tension and anxiety.
There are other herbal gems out there that affect the nervous system without the addictive qualities and expense of pharmaceuticals. Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) has similar properties as California Poppy but has a special affinity for conquering addiction. A more gentle nervine, Skullcap can be used throughout the day without as strong of effect as California Poppy. It also aids sleep, relieves tension, anxiety, headaches, cramps and neuralgia. Skullcap can alleviate addiction withdrawal symptoms such as depression, stress, cravings, agitation and crankiness from substances such as coffee, nicotine, and narcotics. As a restorative, nutritive nerve tonic, skullcap not only alleviates symptoms, but brings the nervous system back into balance and harmony.
Both herbs can be excellent allies when coping with pain, restlessness and addiction withdrawal symptoms. California Poppy tends to have a stronger affect than Skullcap. It should be used in moderation when driving or operating heavy machinery. It should also be avoided during pregnancy and nursing, and should not be taken with other medications.