sleep onset insomnia

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)


California Poppy Summary

California poppy is a relative of the opium poppy that gives us morphine. This particular member contains a different set of alkaloids with similar, but milder effects.

California Poppy is the official state flower for California, but grows throughout the Southern parts of the United States.

It's main use both in modern herbal medicine and traditional herbal medicine is for treating anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia. It's one of the strongest herbal sedatives available.


+ Indications

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Insomnia (Sleep onset and Sleep maintenance)
  • Migraine headaches
  • Skin ulcers (Topically)
  • Substance Abuse

+ Contraindications

May interact with benzodiazepines or other sedatives (additive). Caution Advised.

Herbal Actions:

  • Analgesic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anxiolytic
  • Nervine

How Is California Poppy Used?

California poppy is mainly used for its sedative and analgesic effects. it contains a set of alkaloids similar to morphine, though not as strong. It can be used both internally for anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain, as well as topically for skin irritations and ulcers.


Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Aerial parts

Family Name

  • Papaveraceae


  • Southern parts of The United States of America

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Constituents of Interest

  • Eschscholtzine
  • Californidine
  • Sanguinarine
  • Chelerythrine

Common Names

  • California Poppy
  • Kaliforniese papawer (Afrikaans)
  • Pavot de Californie (France)


  • CYP3A4
  • CYP2C9
  • CYP2C19
  • CYP2D6
  • CYP1A2


  • No adverse effects expected.


  • Bitter

Duration of Use

  • May be used long term.

Botanical Information

California poppy is a member of the Papaveraceae family. This family contains roughly 42 genera, and about 775 different species. The Eschscholzia genus itself contains about 12 different species.

The species, Eschscholzia californica, is very diverse, as it has been extensively bred commercially and by hobbyists as an ornamental garden flower.


Research Overview:

Still compiling research


Clinical Applications Of California Poppy:

California poppy extract enhances GABA binding and is an opioid receptor agonist. It's been shown to displace fluorazepam from the benzodiazepam receptor. This is likely the main mechanism of action for California Poppy's sedative, and analgesic effects.



  • May possess additive interaction with benzodiazepines.


Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)


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Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

lavender lavandula angustifolia

Lavender Overview

Lavender is one of the most famous herbs known to man. It's cultivated on a massive scale throughout Europe and North America, and is a popular flavouring and aromatic agent for household products.

Medicinally lavender is best known for its ability to pomote sleep. It's often sold as aromatherapy, in salves and creams, and incense for this purpose. Lavender is also great for internal use, where it interacts with the GABA system to produce relaxation and sleep.

Levender essential oil is common as a topical agent for insect bites, rashes, and infection.

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+ Indications

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Anxiety
  • Bacterial infections
  • Bloating
  • Cognitive dysfunciton
  • Colic
  • Depression mild
  • Dysbiosis
  • Dysmenorrhoea
  • Fungal infection
  • Headaches
  • Insect bites
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome IBS
  • Pain management
  • Parasitic infection
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Rheumatism
  • Sympathetic nervous dominance

+ Contraindications

  • Pharmaceutical sedatives

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Analgesic (mild)
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-cancer
  • Anticonvulsant
  • Antidepressant
  • Antifungal
  • Antioxidant
  • Anxiolytic
  • Antiparasitic
  • Carminative
  • Nervine Relaxant
  • Neuroprotective
  • Antispasmodic

Main Uses:

Lavender is mainly used in topical applications for rashes, skin irritations, mild infections, sunburn, and insect bites. Internally it's mainly used for anxiety-related conditions, GIT inflammation and discomfort, and insomnia.


Daily Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:2

2-5 mL

Weekly Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:2

15-30 mL


Part Used

Lavandula angustifolia

Family Name



Mediterranean and Southern Europe

Northern and Eastern Africa

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Constituents of Interest

  • Monoterpene Alcohols
  • Anthocyanins

Common Names

  • Lavender
  • Laventelit (Finland)
  • English Lavender

Botanical Info:

Lavender is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae). In the genus Lavandula there are approximatly 47 species. Most of these perennials, or small shrubs. There are a number of lavenders used medicinally.

  • Lavandula angustifolia (English Lavender)
  • Lavandula stoechas (French Lavender)
  • Lavendula dentata (Spanish Lavender)

This list is disputed by many taxonomists, suggesting that French lavender may be Lavandula stoechas or Lavandula dentata, and that Spanish lavender could be either Lavandula dentata, or Lavandula lanata, or Lavandula dentata.


Research Overview:

Still compiling research.

Level Of Research:


Clinical Applications Of Lavender:

Lavender is useful topically for female conditions including dysmenorrhoea and PMS due to its antispasmoduc and analgesic effects. It's also useful topically for its antifungal and antibacterial effects. Internally lavender can be used for gastrointestinal complaints, including bloating, flatulence, and colic.

Lavender is a reliable nervine for its GABAergic activity. Additionally it has been shown to reverse the stimulating effects induced by caffeine, and inhibits acetylcholine release.



Lavender has been proven to be a very safe herb with a low incidence of adverse effects.

Avoid use with pharmaceutical sedatives due to the possibility of agonistic synergy.


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Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

Passionflower has many uses, and comes in many different varieties. It's main uses are for anxiety-related disorders of all kinds.