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How to Make a Tincture of California Poppy

By Megan Shoop ; Updated September 21, 2017
Tincture of poppy seeds acts as a pain-reliever and calming agent.

The California poppy features light orange to dark red, ruffled petals and a dark center containing many small, round seeds. High in calcium, these seeds often serve as a garnish for bagels and muffins. The seeds also boast pain-relieving qualities, according to Herbal Supplement Resource. When concentrated, as in a tincture, the seeds serve as an analgesic and calming agent. You can create your own tinctures at home from the poppies in your garden. Just don't use flowers treated with insecticides.

Pour 1 cup of dried poppy seeds into a mason jar. Add 2 cups of vodka to the mason jar; a pint-sized jar works well for this, though you may use a larger jar if that's all you have. You may also fill a larger jar with more tincture using a 2-to-1 ratio: two parts vodka for every one part of poppy seeds.

Gently stir and mix the poppy seeds with a wooden spoon to eliminate air pockets. The vodka must saturate the seeds to create the strongest tincture possible.

Cap the jar tightly and place it in a dark, cool place for about two months. Check the mixture each week, shake it to eliminate air bubbles and top it off with more vodka. The seeds may soak up a lot of the alcohol.

Stretch a piece of cheesecloth over a measuring cup and secure it with a large rubber band. Pour your tincture through the cloth to strain out the seeds. Allow the seeds to drip for about 10 minutes.

Gently remove the cheesecloth from the cup and wrap the seeds up in it. Squeeze and wring out the cheesecloth to remove all of the tincture. Discard the poppy seeds or let them dry for use in baking.

Pour the tincture into dark glass bottles. Store them in a cool, dry cupboard or in your refrigerator.


Things You Will Need

  • Dried poppy seeds
  • Glass mason jar
  • Unflavored vodka
  • Wooden spoon
  • Cheesecloth
  • Large rubber band
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Dark glass bottles


  • Never self-dose with tinctures unless under the direction of a doctor or unless you're certified in herbal work.
  • Never use more than three drops of tincture at a time. Monitor your tincture dosage carefully to avoid overdosing.