FWD 2 HerbClip: Sedative Herbs: California Poppy and Corydalis
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  • California Poppy
  • Corydalis
  • Sedative Herbs
  • Date: September 02, 1997HC# 090272-117

    Re: Sedative Herbs: California Poppy and Corydalis

    Reichert,R. Sedative Effects of California Poppy and Corydalis Quarterly Review of Natural Medicine. :.

    Two obscure sedative plants of the family Papaveraceae were highlighted in a German publication (Arzneimittel Forschung; Drug Research) by researchers at the Technical University in Munich, Germany

    The California poppy (Eschscholtzia californica) and corydalis (Corydalis cava), like all members of Papaveraceae, both contain high amounts of isoquinoline alkaloids. The California poppy's main alkaloid is protopine; it also contains alkaloids from at least six other major categories. Protopine is similar in structure to morphine, but it is not addictive and has a different mechanism of action. Like benzodiazepines, protopine alkaloids increase the binding of GABA to GABA receptors. The total alkaloid content in the California poppy root is 2.7%; in the herb, it ranges from 0.06% to 0.29%.

    Corydalis tuber contains a total of 6% alkaloids. The primary one is bulbocapnine, comprising from 20 to 35% of the total alkaloid content. Bulbocapnine is believed to work with the dopaminergic neuronal transmitter system. In vitro studies with rats have confirmed the sedative effect of corydalis. Tetrahydropalmatine, an alkaloid with analgesic, sedative, and tranquilizing effects found in the Chinese species C. yanhuso, does not appear on the extensive list of alkaloids present in C. cava.

    Although human clinical trials are lacking, corydalis and California poppy show promise in treating insomnia in humans. -Ginger Webb

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