California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is a plant that grows throughout California and belongs to the Papaveraceae or poppy family of plant. Evidence suggest that Californian poppy extracts possess sedative, anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. Phytochemicals within Californian poppy extracts interact with the central nervous system and this explains their mood elevating and sleep inducing effects. Some evidence suggests that Californian poppy extracts affect the benzodiazepine receptor, and other evidence suggests that they affect catecholamine metabolism through inhibition of dopamine-β-hydroxylase and monoamine oxidase B enzymes. However, there is also evidence that Californian poppy extracts can interact with serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, and this may be another way that extracts of the plant are able to exert their central nervous system effects. It is possibly the alkaloid component within California poppy that is the active principle that is able to interact with serotonin receptors.
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