Dr. Oz promoting California Poppy Extract as a pain solution (updated)

California Poppy Extract touted by Dr. Oz as pain reliever | Z6Mag.

Dr. Oz has been using the Doctor Oz show to really tackle the problems that Americans face every day. On March 22nd, 2012 Dr. Oz discussed prescription drug abuses in the US for weight loss drugs and pain. California Poppy extract was mentioned and discussed by Dr. Oz & his guest, Alternative Medicine Expert Bryce Wylde from Toronto, Canada.

The prescription drugs that the California Poppy seed solution is supposed to help you replace are ones like Oxycodone, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Percocet and Vicodent. Dr. Oz says all the other pain relieving drugs do is mask the symptoms and don’t offer any solutions.

Tip: @EdzardErnst

California Poppy supposedly works as an analgesic for musculoskeletal pain and “it communicates to the brain and tells the opiate receptors to tell your body there is no pain.” [Ed: see bit in comments about this]

Yep, opiates are good for that. But if there were enough opiates in this, it would be an illegal drug. I have BIG problems with your illogical claims, Dr. Oz. If simple poppy solutions work so well, why did modern pharmaceuticals develop painkillers like ibuprofin and Percocet? Because the weak or nonexistent benefits of herbs aren’t enough. How is this extract offering a solution? If it works as described, IT’S A DRUG TOO! This stupidity astounds me.

UPDATE: (16-Apr-2012) I found this piece regarding studies of California Poppy for pain:

[T]he evidence that taking an extract of the California Poppy as a safe and effective pain reliever is based on very little actual research that demonstrates safety and efficacy in humans. In spite of televised claims that an extract of the California Poppy is a legal and natural remedy for pain, the truth is that the “multiple studies” claim to support the promotion of the product really just isn’t there. However, if you decide to try this pain cure for yourself, please see your physician and discuss with him your plans to do so and find out if you have an underlying condition that may contraindicate taking California Poppy for pain or as a sleep aid.

  42 comments for “Dr. Oz promoting California Poppy Extract as a pain solution (updated)

  1. Fastmover01
    March 23, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    I have tried to convince my mom who doesn’t like to take her pain meds not believe this holistic “pusher” but she won’t have any part in it. I have to take daily PK’s tramadol for spinal issues, and she tried to get me to attmept a holistic approach because she thought I was poisoning myself for having to take daily opiods. No thank you. This quack needs to be removed.

  2. Marissa
    March 23, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    As they were saying on the show, holistic sources are not pushed and/or major research is not being done because the government cannot put patents on nature… so they don’t get the money out of it as if it were chemical or synthetic. My mother has been dealing with chronic back pain for over a decade and she is DONE with drugs!!! She would rather be in debilitating pain over being on prescription drugs. If something natural can help a person out because they are tired of taking prescription drugs, it’s worth a try.

  3. March 23, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    You know these “dietary supplements” are tested neither for safety or efficacy? You can not be sure what is in them. Most of them, when tested, perform no better than placebo. So, no side effect are a good possibility but also, it’s just a placebo. That seems to be a willing compromise for many people but it is unethical to say that it does something more.

    I’d also add that those who sell these supplements make a LOT of money. A lot. So, the patent argument doesn’t really hold.

  4. March 23, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    The California poppy is not of the Papaver genus. The pharmacologically active components would not be strictly classified as “opiates” as far as I remember per its classification under the Uniform Controlled Substances act.

  5. March 23, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Thanks Matt. Good to know.

  6. Terry Ashby
    March 23, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Natural supplements make way more sense than pharmaceutics and research has been done if you want to take the time to research it. Pharmaceutical companies are not our friends. They continue to poison people and cover up the facts.

    Ever read “Diary of a Legal Drug Dealer” it a good one for starters.

  7. Terry Ashby
    March 23, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    I totally agree!

  8. Terry Ashby
    March 23, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    I meant to say I totally agree with Marissa.

  9. Terry Ashby
    March 23, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Oh and let me just say I love Dr. OZ and I think he will be powerful in getting the truth out to all of us.

  10. March 23, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Not evidence based. If you wish to comment, we ask that you provide references or evidence or a rational argument. Hearsay is not acceptable. This is a not a rah-rah site for alternative medicine. It has not been shown to have much merit.

  11. March 23, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    If the natural ones were so good, why did we need science to develop improved ones? That’s a rhetorical question. You speak of conspiracy theories and this is not a forum to promote that nonsense.

  12. Karen
    March 24, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    Heck, there was no mention of getting addicted to CA Poppy Extract. And pain killers are addictive…so I’m trying it tonight to see if it’ll help me try to sleep thro my pain. I’ll report to you in the morning if it helped!

  13. Kirk
    March 24, 2012 at 4:34 AM

    I take Hydrocodone on a daily basis for a back injury that Doctors say will never improve. Even though I do not think it will work, I am going to try it anyway. What do I have to lose at this point.

  14. BJ Taylor
    March 24, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    EE is astounded by the stupidity. I am astounded by his.. The drug companies aren’t going to offer up something they can’t make money on. Doesn’t take a doctorate to figure that out. I will try the California Poppy. It could work. Red Yeast rice controls my cholesterol without the muscle pain associated with the cholesterol lowering drugs… I have tried most of those… they all leave me in intolerable pain. Also was told by my cardiologist that anything that is damaging other muscles could also damage your heart. I hope Dr. Oz will continue to enlighten us. I agree with Kirk, “what do we have to loose” by trying it?

  15. George J Baker
    March 24, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Skeptical of Dr Oz. He tauts too many alternative products.

  16. Curious
    March 24, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Has anyone tried this!?

  17. March 24, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Why would one try it when it has never been shown to be effective?

    (I often feel no one reads the posts…)

  18. March 24, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Money. Obviously.

    Now, what’s this about making money? All these supplement companies are making money and SAVING a lot by not having to go through clinical trials to show effectiveness.

    You can go right on ahead with supplements and homeopathy and other nonsensical products but it does benefit others to actually THINK about the product they are getting. Where is the evidence that it even works? (Stories from others and testimonials are great for informercials, aren’t they? But they are no good to demonstrate true effectiveness because they are uncontrolled tests – could be ANYTHING making people better or just saying they are better).

    There is no evidence that these products work.

  19. suseil
    March 25, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    I read the posts and you sound as if you support pharmaceutical companies. This is a multi billion dollar industry and many drugs (tested apparently) have caused serious problems after long term use. (I’m currently unaware of any major lawsuits resulting from use of supplements.) I suffer from osteoarthritis and for close to 2 years used various prescription drugs in order to control pain. I agree that some supplements can be costly but feel they are less damaging to the body since they are natural. Millions are spent on advertising by parmaceutical companies and it amazes me after hearing long lists of contraindications that anyone would choose to use them given an alternative. After I experienced troubling stomach problems I opted to discontinue taking prescription anti-inflammatory pain killers. I took a joint supplement called Flexamin for 3 months and it worked so well I was out in my garden using a pickaxe! Because of my renewed well being I became more active and managed to lose a little extra weight. This too relieved my painful joints and was a blessing as I found could no longer afford supplements.It has felt like a miracle these past few months as I’m drug free now and at 58 have reached a perfect weight and know my limitations physically. Now I’m researching California Poppy for a dear friend suffering for many years from a rare illness called Neuro Sarcoidosis which is now inoperable and causes her a greast deal of pain. Her neurosurgeon and other doctors have prescribed numerous drugs including certain chemotherapy ones, which have so many side effects she must take other drugs to counter act them. It seems like a vicious circle to me. Nothing has worked well for her and presently she’s back on strong steroids which we are all aware should not be used long term if possible. Humans survived for thousands of years without the benefit of drugs created by man. Why would ANYONE have such a negative attitude to natures (God given) remedies? (Just an observation – I’m aware there are a lot of drugs which help many chronic illnesses.) It’s simply a CHOICE and a positive attitude helps greatly too. (I’m an early stage 4 cancer survivor still here and doing well almost 9 years after the diagnosis and surgery followed by IMRT.)

  20. Fred
    March 25, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    My wife believes most everything Dr Oz says or that she reads in other alternative health newsletters. I’m much more skeptical. We record all of Dr Oz’s shows. My wife watches at most 1/3 of them. Some of what he says is very beneficial. Other stuff, like California Poppy Extract, makes me wonder about his advice. In the end I realize that his show is less about providing health information and more about entertainment and making money. Does taking California Poppy Extract help with sleep or pain relief? I don’t know. My wife is going to try it for both sleep and pain so I’ll gain some first hand knowledge. Hopefully it won’t hurt her.

    I’m not opposed to alternative medicine. My son has suffered with some chronic problems for many years. He went to several mainstream traditional doctors and none could help him. Several months ago he found a M.D. that practices holistic medicine. For the first time in many years he is seeing positive results.

  21. March 25, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    You are right, Fred. Some of the things he says is useful but he goes beyond science-based medicine when he talks about things like this.

    Can I ask you a question though? Can you tell me how much of the holistic medicine care might be a result of practitioners spending some quality time with patients? I think that has a lot to do with the satisfaction people report experiencing from non-traditional care.

    Again, we are talking about a placebo effect that influenced your sense of well being… not efficacy of these dietary supplements which, when tested, show none. However, the sense of well-being, placebo or not, is VERY strong.

  22. March 25, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Nothing is perfect and because of the money thing, big pharma has SERIOUS problems. However, the point of this post was that Dr. Oz promotes “treatments” that have not been shown to work. In fact, what he appears to be saying about them are UNTRUE! If natural cures worked so well, modern meds would not have been necessary. That says something. If the herbs we had were effective enough, there would be no need to have developed anything stronger. These prescription drugs have passed double blind clinical trials. You CANNOT say the same high bar has been achieved for alt med treatments.

    Also, I’m afraid you misunderstand that anecdotes are the worst forms of evidence. It is uncontrolled. We can’t be sure the item you cite it responsible for your results.

  23. Jamie
    March 26, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    @idoubtit What are your qualifications to refute was Dr. Oz says? Are you a Doctor? Big Pharma will not fund studies in to things which they can not patent and they can’t patent the extract of California Poppy. I may be skeptical, but I am also open to alternatives. In putting this information in his show, he has opened himself up to all sorts of risk. I doubt that he would put it on his show if it were false or dangerous. I would expect him to do a bit of research before putting something up like this. Any studies by impartial labs to say it doesn’t work?

  24. pat
    March 26, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Can you beleive this fool who just stated in the article,
    “then why does pharmaceuticals develope painkillers like ibuprofen and percocet.” DUH! you ever had any percocet??
    MONEY is your answer like everything that is manufactured; to supposedly help the american people. GREED in other words!

  25. pat
    March 26, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    You must work for the pharmaceutical company. U sure like to contradict everyone.

  26. pat
    March 26, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Like ur comment Marissa

  27. suseil
    March 26, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    I believe in keeping an open mind, but most of all in the amazing power of the human spirit. It explains why two persons (similar in age, build etc) with the same disease may respond differently. I’m certainly no crack pot but evidence shows sheer “faith” (and a good dose of optimism) seems to help greatly whatever route you choose to take healthwise. (“Laughter is the best medicine” may not be entirely true but studies have shown it helps.)I also believe in the use of hypnotism after reading a fascinating book on self hypnosis in the control of pain. The theory is that some common problems (of non organic origin) are the result of some traumatic event causing injury as far back as infancy. Even a negative remark (“He might never be the same again.”) made while a patient (under general anaesthetic) had been undergoing surgery, was the reason one man had inexplicable pain issues. The psychologist who wrote the book had often been refered patients by their GP, when all other avenues had been of little use. In accessing their subconcious (by using light hypnosis) he was able to find out the event that triggered the problem. In most cases after (a few sessions) bringing the event to the patients attention, their condition was cured. The human brain (as we all know) is incredibly complex and science has barely scratched the surface in understanding how it works.

  28. suseil
    March 26, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    To the skeptic idoubtit I would add this comment. I guess 1500 years BC when the Egyptians used the miracle plant aloe vera they had “clinical trials”. These were the same inventive people who managed to engineer the construction of the great pyramids. Man survived before “big pharma” and I expect our “Creator” in his wisdom ensured there would be sufficient i
    n nature to help cure all ills. We likely just haven’t found it all yet! 🙂

  29. jamesd
    March 26, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    To those saying herbal medicines cannot work:

    Let’s not forget that morphine and codeine (two powerful opiates) are naturally occuring in opium, a substance that is in the Opium Poppy (unrelated to the California poppy, but the point is that it’s natural). And, for the record, synthetic oxycodone, hydrocodone, and heroin are more dangerous than natural opium.

    Also, magic mushrooms, cannabis, peyote, etc. are all plants. LSA (similar to LSD) and DMT (one of the most potent psychedelic drugs known to man) both occur naturally in certain plants. Hell, even cocaine is derived from a plant.

    So there you have it, some of our most powerful drugs come from plants and people still think that plants cannot possibly do anything to alter our brains.

    It all boils down to this: don’t knock it ’til you try it.

  30. March 26, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    No one is arguing that point. The point is that THIS particular item has not been show to work. And after considerable testing MANY MANY supplements and herbals have been show to be ineffective or dangerous (cause drug interactions).

    If herbals were so very effective, we wouldn’t have had to concentrate and synthesize them. Sure, some natural remedies do work, no doubt. But the claims being made by Dr. Oz about this product are nonsense.

  31. March 26, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Then why don’t you forego modern medicine and just stick to ancient herbals. Go on, see how that works for ya.

  32. March 26, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    We don’t deal in faith, spirit or supernatural causes here. We’ve moved beyond that centuries ago. Well, some of us…

  33. March 26, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    We deal in evidence here. And no. But do you work for alt med?

  34. March 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    No name calling and no propaganda. Sorry, those comments are not welcome here.

  35. March 26, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    I have two science degrees and I can spot pseudoscience when I see it from most alt med promoters.

    This site is about questioning.

    Also, all you Dr. Oz lovers, does he not make A LOT of money promoting this? Yes. Enough with the bogus argument about pushing drugs. He does too.

  36. Jamie
    March 26, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Can you cite any studies? Links please.

  37. Steelclaws
    March 26, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    To claim that “holistic” products are not researched because they cannot be patented is a bit disingenous. NCCAM has has spent $1.4 billion, most of it on research.
    Why is this research then cited by “alternative medicine” proponents? There’s a good reason for that: almost all of the research done by NCCAM has shown that the therapies and modalites do not work.

    As for patents in medicine, most patents last for only 7-12 years, after that anyone can make them as generic drugs. In fact, most of the pharmaceuticals now on sale are generic. So it should be pretty clear for anyone that there is money to be made in unpatentable medicines.

    There is also a branch of pharmacology called pharmacognosy. This branch specialises in researching traditional herbal remedies for possible new drugs, so there goes another load of “alternative” conspiracy theorizing, since in reality about 25% of all pharmaceutical medicines are plant-based.

    The reason why plant-based medicines are given tablet form and not as herbal teas etc is that most plants have several bioactive compounds. Purifying and standardizing the effective single component makes dosage easier and removes the possible adverse interactions from the other compounds in the plant.

  38. Steelclaws
    March 26, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    “Alternative medicine” is big business, raking in about $60 billion annually, and so I strongly suspect these “alternative” products are not offered free of charge.

    As I also showed in my reply to Marissa, “alternative medicine” has been researched a lot, but the problem is that all that research showed no efficacy. So why waste money on products that have been shown not to work?

  39. Steelclaws
    March 26, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    Here’s something you can do: find a university who does archaeological digs in Egypt. Talk to someone who has excavated an ancient Egyptian cemetery (ordinary people were not buried in elaborate tombs). Ask that person about the average age when the people had died and the percentage of children in the graves. Then come back to me about the effectiveness of ancient Egyptian medicine again and how it should supersede SBM.

  40. March 26, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Note: SBM is science-based medicine. The most reliable kind.

  41. March 26, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    Studies are done to show support (or unsupport) of claims. However, most dietary supplements can get away WITHOUT controlled clinical trials of effectiveness. That makes their usefulness claims very dubious and unsupported. I’m’ not making the claim that poppy extract works. The producer (and Dr. Oz) is. It is up to them to support the claim.

  42. March 26, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Thanks for all your comments but I am pretty tired of non-science based and non-evidence based commentators posting propaganda about how things “just work”.

    They don’t JUST WORK. And California poppy extract has not been show to work as far as I can tell.

    We here at DN do not support Dr. Oz’s penchant for promoting alternative meds that have no evidence of efficacy. This site is here to provide questions you should consider when evaluating stories in the media. I believe we succeeded in giving you PLENTY to think about.

    Comments are now closed.

Comments are closed.