August, 13th 2020 · Stephanie Mary

How To Make a California Poppy Tincture

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California Poppies grow abundantly here in Southern California. Especially here in Laguna Beach. One summer evening while I was at my community garden plot, I was pulling up some of my California Poppies. I was lucky enough to have the stunning white and beautiful orange poppies growing.

California Poppy Tincture after its steeped for 30+ days.
Straining the California Poppy Tincture with cheesecloth.

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While I was picking them I was intoxicated by their amazing aroma. Even though I was amazed at how beautiful they smelled, I started to toss some of them, as I was switching out the seasons in the plot. All of a sudden I heard a little voice come to me from the plants. The voice was whispering to me, that I could use my California Poppies to make medicine. That’s how the California Poppy tincture was born!

The tincture is sealed and ready to extract!
California Poppy Tincture first day of steeping.
Top down view of the California Poppies used to create the tincture.

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I have been taking Introductory Herbal courses online with The Herbal Academy. In one of the first lessons, they go into how to make your own herbal tinctures. I realized the tinctures weren’t super complicated and would be perfect for these poppies. So if you are a beginner herbalist, do not fear, this is a simple and safe recipe for you to make in your home! Just be sure to read below to make sure you are getting your poppies from a safe & clean place. First, let’s talk about a few of the benefits.

All of the ingredients in the mason jar.
Top down view of all of the ingredients in the California Poppy Tincture.

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What are the benefits of California Poppies?

I’ve always read that the medicine that you need will appear when it is ready or needed. When I looked up the benefits of the California Poppy it was as if a friend had come and tapped me on the shoulder saying “my dear, I have a medicine for you”.

To name just a few of the benefits, the poppy is known to help soothe anxiety, depression, insomnia, and she is a grounding nervine (a medicine used to calm the nerves). Standing in the garden that summer evening, I was grateful to have thought about the uses of these magical flowers.

A bundle of California Poppies

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Where can I forage or grow California Poppies?

Rumor has it that foraging for California Poppies is illegal in the state & you will get a heavy fine. Yet, I have also heard that is a myth. Either way, I always stay on the side of caution and not forage wild California Poppies. As my research shows it is illegal to forage any poppies on state property.

Because of the questionable legality of foraging wild California Poppies, I recommend growing them yourself or making friends with someone who grows them. Luckily they are very very easy to grow! Especially in California since they are our native state plant!

If you do choose to grow these beautiful, magical plants, I would definitely make sure they are growing away from any areas that are near the streets. Pretty much anywhere with cars, or sidewalks that have been heavily trafficked. You will be extracting & ingesting this plant so make sure to treat yourself & the plant friends well. An excess of car exhaust or anything people may spray near a sidewalk is something you don’t want!

Straining California Poppy Tincture.
Tincture bottles, are just cleaned and ready for the California Poppy Tincture.
The California Poppy Tincture strained.

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What do I need to make a California Poppy Tincture?

Luckily, you need only a few items to make this tincture.

  1. The California Poppy Flower: Making a California Poppy Tincture is easy, and the best part is using the whole plant! This means it’s zero waste! You can use the roots, stems, flowers, & seed pods. If you don’t have fresh flowers growing around you, you can also use dried California Poppies.
  2. Alcohol: Use 80-100 proof alcohol. Even better if it is organic alcohol! I used an 80-proof organic vodka that I found at my local market. The higher the alcohol content, the more medicinal & potent the tincture will be.
  3. Mason Jar: You can use any size mason or sealed jar.
  4. Dropper bottle: I recommend pouring the finished tincture into a dropper bottle for easy dosing. I used these Dropper Bottles!
Pouring the California Poppy Tincture into a dropper bottle.
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This is truly a magical recipe to create! It involves some of the most beautiful flowers and has amazing benefits! If you have any questions about how to make the tincture, where to get ingredients, or any feedback, feel free to comment below on this post or reach out on Instagram (@mytinylagunakitchen)!

California Poppy Tincture Bottled.
How To Make a California Poppy Tincture

How To Make a California Poppy Tincture

Yield: 1-10 bottles

Not only are California Poppies stunningly beautiful, they also make an incredible tincture that calms the nerves and is anti-anxiety.


  • Fresh Parts of the California Poppy, including the roots, stems, seed pods, & flowers. 
  • Organic 80-100 proof alcohol (I used vodka)


  1. Wash your jar and lids with very hot water to sterilize set aside to dry.
  2. Chop the fresh California Poppies into a jar, you can use scissors dedicated to plants for this. You can also use a knife if the roots, or stems are too thick.
  3. Reminder you can use the whole plant, so make sure to include the roots, stems, seedpods & flowers.
  4. Push the plant matter down with a spoon and pour over the alcohol.
  5. Seal with a lid, if using a metal lid, use parchment paper in between the lid and the jar. Or you can use a plastic lid like this one.
  6. Put the jar on a shelf in a dark area, for at least one month.
  7. Don't forget to shake often! 1-2 times per day for best results.
  8. When it is time, strain the plant material out, & funnel the liquid into a dropper bottle of choice.
  9. Enjoy! & thank your plants for its medicine.


  1. If you don't have fresh California Poppies in your area you can use dried matter as well.
  2. The higher the organic alcohol content the more medicinal & potent the tincture will be.
  3. How to take it? put tincture directly in the mouth or dilute in water to drink.
  4. Dosage Recommendations: If you are new to this tincture start small 5-10 drops every couple of hours. If you have pain 40-60 drops over the span of an hour. If you want to calm your nerves 5-10 drops. If you can't sleep and have insomnia 20-40 drops the hour before bed.
    Note: everybody is going to be different when processing herbal medicine therefore start small and work your way up, or talk to a Clinical Herbalist, Naturopathic Doctor, or Functional Medicine Doctor. They can help you find the right dosage for you and any ailment you are experiencing.

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