Scientific name: Eschsholzia californica, Papaveraceae

Common names:

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    خشخاش كاليفورنيا (khash-khash california)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Fabaceae?

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Dried ariel parts, seeds

Collection: February to september

Annual/Perennial: Perennial and annual

Height: 5 to 60 inches

Actions: Sedative, anti spasmodic, anodyne

Known Constituents: alkaloids (including protopine, cryptopine, and chelidonine) and flavone glycosides

Constituents Explained:


The Native Americans used it to relieve stomach upsets.  Sometimes thought of as being an alterative to opium poppy, as something that isn’t addicitve.

Often used to promote sleep, it has also been used for bed wetting lack of sleep due to nightmares.  It also aids conditions that are brought on by irritablity such as migraine and irritability. Partciulary used often in children to induce sleep.

Traditional Use: 

Clinical Studies:

A study assessed the clinical efficacy of a neurotonic component containing fixed quantities of two plant extracts (Crataegus oxyacantha and Eschscholtzia californica) and magnesium versus placebo in mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders with associated functional disturbances, under usual general practice prescription conditions.

A total of 264 patients (81% female; mean age: 44.6 years) presenting with generalised anxiety of mild-to-moderate intensity were included in a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial. 

Patients were randomly assigned to two groups: 130 received the study drug (Sympathyl), and 134 a placebo (two tablets twice daily for 3 months). Efficacy and safety data were recorded before first administration and 7, 14, 30, 60 and 90 days after start of treatment.

Efficacy was assessed by (a) change in Hamilton anxiety scale total and somatic scores; (b) change in patient self-assessment; (c) number and percentage of responsive subjects; and (d) the physician’s clinical global impression.

Total and somatic Hamilton scale scores and subjective patient-rated anxiety fell during treatment, indicating clinical improvement. The decrease was greater in the study drug than in the placebo group.

End of treatment clinical improvement, as measured by the mean difference between final and pre-treatment scores, was, for the study drug and placebo groups respectively. The risk/benefit ratio as judged by the investigating physicians was also significantly greater in the study drug than in the placebo group.

In all, 15 patients (11.5%) in the study drug group and 13 patients (9.7%) in the placebo group experienced 22 and 15 adverse events, respectively. Undesirable events were mainly mild or moderate digestive or psychopathological disorders.

The preparation containing fixed quantities of Crataegus oxyacantha, Eschscholtzia californica, and magnesium proved safe and more effective than placebo in treating mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders. 


Hanus M, Lafon J, Mathieu M. “Double-Blind, Randomised, Placebo-Controlled Study To Evaluate The Efficacy And Safety Of A Fixed Combination Containing Two Plant Extracts (Crataegus Oxyacantha And Eschscholzia Californica) And Magnesium In Mild-To-Moderate Anxiety Disorders.” 2004 January