Eshsholtsia: benefits and harms

Escholtia is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Poppy family. It is also called California poppy, California gold, wormwood. The genus escholtia has about ten species, in the wild these beautiful flowers are found mainly only in the USA, especially in the state of California. For decorative purposes and for the collection of medicinal raw materials, it is also grown in Europe.

There is a legend about wormwood. Spanish navigators went to the New World in search of gold. 35 miles away, they saw a golden glow (at the site of the state of California). When they approached, they were very disappointed, as the hills were covered with “golden” flowers of ashsholtsia instead of gold mines.
And the Indians still believe that gold is underground where the petals of the California poppy fall.

The botanical name of the herb was given by naturalist Adelbert von Chamisso, who named it after his friend Dr. Johann Eschsholtz. The California poppy is a symbol of the American state of California.

Description and composition

Wormwood is a herbaceous perennial or annual plant with dissected leaves resembling wormwood leaves with a bluish bloom. The flowers somewhat resemble a poppy, there are yellow, purple, red or orange. Usually a lot of flowers are formed on the bush, each of them “lives” for about 4 days. In cloudy weather and at night, the flowers close the petals. Flowering lasts from June until the beginning of autumn. The fruits are boxes-pods with seeds.

The benefit of the ashsholt lies in its composition of components:

  • alkaloids (allocriptopine, protopine, escholcine, berberine, californidine);
  • carotenoids (zeaxanthin);
  • flavonoids (rutosis).

Useful properties

Due to the fact that the composition includes alkaloids, ashsholtsia has the following medicinal properties:

  • antispasmodic;
  • painkillers;
  • sedative;
  • relaxing.


First of all, the ashsholtsia is very beautiful during the flowering period and is used to decorate courtyards, flower beds, parks, gardens and so on.


Its leaves have been used by the Indians of North America for medicinal purposes since ancient times, and the seeds were eaten. There is information about the addition of dry leaves and seeds to the smoking ritual mixture. Nowadays, the wormwood is used for medical purposes for the preparation of liquid extract, alcohol tincture and gelatin capsules. In folk medicine, wormwood is used both independently and in collections with other herbs to treat the following health problems:

  • insomnia;
  • colic of the gallbladder;
  • muscle spasms;
  • neurasthenia;
  • urinary incontinence;
  • overexcitation;
  • depression;
  • nervous disorders.

Here are some recipes for the preparation of medicinal products based on eshsholtsii. All of them can be used to treat these diseases.


  • This infusion helps people to fight insomnia. pour 1 tsp of raw materials with boiling water (250 ml), insist for at least 30 minutes, filter and drink shortly before bedtime once a day.
  • This remedy is taken for nervous tension and depression. Brew 2 teaspoons of dry grass in a thermos with boiling water (250 ml). Insist for twenty minutes, filter and take every night before going to bed until the symptoms disappear. For the depressive type of PMS, essential oils from clary sage, rose and bergamot are used.

Herbal tea

This drink helps well with cramps and muscle pain. It is necessary to mix such dried raw materials: viburnum berries (1 tsp.), motherwort (0.5 tsp.), chamomile (0.5 tsp.), California poppy (0.5 tsp.), valerian (0.5 tsp.), skullcap (0.5 tsp.). Pour into a saucepan and pour boiling water (4 cups), boil for 5 minutes, let stand until cool and filter. Drink 1 cup as needed.


California poppy extract is used before bedtime for sleep disorders. Dilute 2 ml of the extract in 200 ml of water. Take it every evening until sleep normalizes. Decoction and infusion of stock roses also has a calming effect.


As we can see, ashsholtsia has useful properties. However, before using the drugs, it is necessary to consult with your doctor.

Do not use the California poppy for treatment:

  • children under three years old;
  • pregnant women;
  • in acute gastrointestinal diseases.

Cultivation, care, procurement of raw materials

You can grow a wormwood from seeds. To do this, they are introduced into the soil in October, so that during the winter they undergo stratification and rise in the spring. Choose the sunny side for the plant, you can add a little sand to the place where the ashsholtsia will grow. For abundant and long-lasting flowering, it is necessary to make fertilizing from phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. Additional watering is necessary only in dry summers. Flowers are easily propagated by self-seeding.

To prepare medicinal raw materials, collect the ground part of the plant during the flowering period. The seeds are harvested when they are fully ripe. The raw materials are dried in the shade, in the attic or in a ventilated room. The finished grass is laid out in paper bags and stored for no more than two years.

Escholtia is not a single representative of the flora world, but a whole genus of plants belonging to the Poppy family. This genus is represented by both perennial and annual herbaceous plants. The plant has spread throughout the western part of North America. It is used both for pharmaceutical and decorative purposes.

In medicine

In France, escholtia is specially cultivated for the production of soothing medicines; in the USA, in pediatric practice, the plant is used as an analgesic and sedative. Drugs, which include escholtsia, are used to treat disturbed sleep, to relieve nervous tension.

Thanks to the valuable chemicals that are part of the plant, ashsholtsia has an antispasmodic, sedative and analgesic effect. Ashsholtsia contains alkaloids (berberine, protopine, californidine, allocriptopine), which are useful medicinal raw materials for the domestic pharmaceutical industry.

Contraindications and side effects

Side effects are possible from taking some drugs based on escholtsia from the gastrointestinal tract: diarrhea, pain in the epigastric region. Also, galenic preparations based on ashsholtsia are not recommended for use for medicinal purposes for pregnant women, nursing mothers, children and persons with individual intolerance to plant components.


The plant is native to the western part of North America. Currently, the main types of ashsholtsia, California and turf, can be found in California, Oregon, southern Washington, as well as in the states of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Sonora, Baja California. They grow on waste lands. Cultivated for decorative and pharmaceutical purposes.

Chemical composition

The chemical composition of escholtia, like all other representatives of the Poppy family, is rich in alkaloids, in particular protopin, berberine, allocriptopin, escholcin, californidine. Flavonoids, in particular rutose, have been found in the plant. Ashsholtsia contains various carotenoids, for example, zeaxanthin, which cause the color of the plant.

Pharmacological properties

The medicinal properties of ashsholtsia are due to the content of alkaloids in its chemical composition. Due to the alkaloids, ashsholtsia has a sedative, antispasmodic and even analgesic effect on the human body. The plant is useful in the treatment of gallbladder colic.

With the help of ashsholtsia, it is possible to normalize sleep, get rid of insomnia, and the mild antispasmodic and calming effect of alkaloids allows the use of ashsholtsia extract for the treatment of psychological and physical problems, urinary incontinence and nervous disorders in children.

Application in folk medicine

The leaves of escholtia have been used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes since ancient times, various decoctions and infusions were used to solve problems with sleep disorders, as well as to relieve nervous tension. Currently, folk medicine uses ashsholtsia in combination with other plants that have a sedative effect on the human body.

Historical background

The genus name comes from the surname of the Russian naturalist, traveler, botanist, doctor, zoologist Johann Friedrich von Eschscholz, who was born in 1793 and died in 1831.

Ashsholtsia is a plant of amazing beauty. It came to Europe straight from North America. This happened around 1795. Then the seeds of ashsholtsia were brought to Europe by Archibald Menziez, a Scottish surgeon and botanist. However, the seeds collected by him did not germinate, so the plant remained in the status of “unexplored” until 1816. And only then did the Russian expedition led by Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue visit San Francisco Bay. There two naturalists (one of them Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz) collected seeds and brought them to Europe.

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