Native to the United States, this annual plant in the Papaveraceae family has orange or yellow flowers.
The dried aerial parts and sometimes the roots are used in herbal medicine. It is traditionally used as a sedative, analgesic and antispasmodic, mainly to treat insomnia, incontinence, anxiety and depression.
Eschscholtzia contains several alcaloids (eschscholtzine, protopine, sanguinarine, californidine, allocryptopine, S-reticuline, etc.), flavonoids (rutin, quercetin), phytosterols and carotenoids.
Native Americans use it as a painkiller for toothache and colic. This plant has hypnotic, spasmolytic and sedative properties, associated with an affinity for benzodiazepine receptors (ROLLAND & al, 2001 ; MOREL, 2017).
A study involving 264 patients with anxiety tested the efficacy of combining hawthorn and California poppy. The decrease in anxiety measured using the Hamilton scale and by patient self-assessment was significantly greater in the herb group than in the placebo group. California poppy is non-addictive and has analgesic effects. It also acts as an antidepressant and hypnotic by helping patients to fall asleep faster (ABASCAL & al, 2004).
Eschscholtzia is often used as a hypnotic to induce sleep. It reduces the time it takes to fall asleep without altering sleep quality and without causing any side effects or addiction. It has an anxiolytic (from 25 mg/kg) and hypnotic (100 mg/kg) effect in people (GOMIS DEVESA & al, 2015).
Another study conducted in 2019 on 36 patients tested the efficacy of combining Valerian and Eschscholtzia extracts to manage sleep disorders and anxiety. This study showed that, within one month, the patients fall asleep faster, sleep better and for longer (36 minutes more on average) and wake up more easily. There was also an improvement in their daytime waking state. In addition, a reduction in the level of anxiety was observed. This combination improved their quality of life (AIT ABDELLAH & al, 2019).
Eschscholtzia contains protopine and allocryptopine, which have a benzodiazepine-like activity and enhance GABA receptor binding (KARDOS & al, 1986).
Its anxiolytic effects are also responsible for a clinical improvement in headaches (KREKOVA & al, 2009).
S-reticuline present in aerial parts of Eschscholtzia is transformed in the body into morphine, which binds to receptors. This explains the sedative and analgesic effects of this very useful plant (FEDURCO & al, 2015).
Thanks to Eschscholtzia, you too can enjoy a good night’s sleep!