How effective is the dream herb, the plant known to produce lucid dreams?
Most people may not be aware of this, but dream rituals are a thing, and to our ancestors, dreaming used to be one of the main methods of divination and connection with the sacred. Ordinarily, navigating the dream landscape and bringing back something of value was reserved for the most sensitive and spiritual members of ancient tribes and civilizations. However, shamanic pharmacopeia in the region that we now know as Mexico has relied on an herb popularly known as the Dream Herb (Calea zacatechichi) that was used among the healers of mesoamerican communities as a gateway to navigating, remembering, and integrating the lessons from the dream world.
“the leaves of the plant were to be either smoked or drunk as an infusion to obtain divinatory messages.” — MacDougall (1968)
Nowadays, I feel that we see dreams as something we can’t control. We have no power over whether we remember what happened during sleep or not. Nevertheless, online communities dedicated to assisting their members in promoting a better night’s sleep, inducing lucid dreams (the ability to navigate the dream actively), and recalling their dreams better are popping out around the internet. Setting forward a modern dream-mastering movement that is heavily based on science and the sharing of experiences. Today I want to discuss a little about the science behind this plant and look at some real-life experiences with the Calea zacatechichi, the Dream Herb.
Some science behind the Calea from this article:
“C. zacatechichi is a plant of extensive popular medicinal use in Mexico (Diaz, 1976). An infusion of the plant (roots, leaves, and stem) is employed against gastrointestinal disorders, as an appetizer, cholagogue, cathartic, antidysentry remedy, and has also been reported to be an effective febrifuge. With other aromatic Compositae, dry C’. zacatechichi is used as an insecticide (Diaz, 1975). There is also some information concerning the psychotropic properties of this plant that require further clarification (Schultes and Hofmann, 1973)”
How it was consumed:
“Whenever it is desired to know the cause of an illness or the location of a distant or lost person, dry leaves of the plant are smoked, drunk, and put under the pillow before going to sleep. Reportedly, the answer to the question comes in a dream.”
”Free reports and direct questioning disclosed a discrete enhancement of all sensorial perceptions, an increase in imagery, mild thought discontinuity, rapid flux of ideas, and difficulties in retrieval. These effects were followed by somnolence and a short sleep during which lively dreams were reported by the majority of the volunteers. These preliminary observations suggested that the psychotropic effects of the plant were similar to those of the “cognodysleptic” drugs, whose prototype is marihuana (Cannabis sativa) (Diaz, 1979). The possible effects of dreaming seem the most interesting from ethnobotanical, psychological, and neuropharmacological perspectives.”
Real Life Experiences
The Dream Herb (Calea zacatechichi) is known as a dream enhancer, but how effective is it?
There is a lot of explaining about the science behind the Calea. There is value in knowing more about what people have to say about the experience with the plant. For this, we are going to resource Erowid, an organization that offers a valuable experience vault, where psychonauts from around the world can share their experiences with psychedelics and other substances. The following are excerpts from reports from real psychonauts. Don’t take their experience as a suggestion or an invitation to consume the Calea, these reports are merely meant to illustrate the effects of the Dream Herb.
One of the More Effective Entheogens
Sky Pilot was new to the whole psychonaut thing and had never consumed any psychedelic substance before. Instead of going straight for LSD, or psilocybin mushrooms, he decided to investigate a plant that is legal everywhere and known to produce vivid dream landscapes: the Dream Herb.
“I was not in the market for a face-melting trip or anything like that, I just wanted something to help me with some analysis of myself.”
“I listened to some music while sitting in bed. After a few minutes, I noticed some very slight closed-eye visuals, mainly like I was seeing my own pulse in one eye. This got me really excited — ‘It really works!’ I said to myself.”
“My sleep that night was definitely different than usual. I remember two vivid dreams. They weren’t lucid, but I can still remember exact details from them (they were both very personal). I don’t remember my dreams that often, so this really impressed me. I also remember waking up a few times, feeling like my limbs were made of lead. It wasn’t uncomfortable, just weird.”
“I woke up the next morning with no ill effects.”
Five Nights of Heavy Dreaming
Occupant was looking for a gateway to spiritual and inner wisdom and he decided to try the dream path with the help of the Calea zacatechichi.
“The first night I could not recall the dreams but there was a big increase in activity.
I could recall that there were at least 3–5 distinct dreams or “scenes” I am calling them now but could not get the detail. It is sort of like I had some transparency slides of different scenes and instead of being able to see each in detail, they are piled on top of each other. I see there are forms but I can’t make out the individual details.
The next night the differentiation came. I was able to remember at least four distinct scenes. I believe there may be more I am losing but what is interesting is how these are arranged in order to make a case or demonstrate an issue or behavior in my life.
The next three nights were the same. Each night a series of scenes demonstrate and review an issue in my life related to making progress on my spiritual path. They are in no way direct and to the point but rather dripping in symbolism which is often clearly interpretable using dream interpretation resources such as good websites. Colors, types of vehicles, types of people, locations, etc are very significant and have been telling me a very definite message in regard to recognizing and processing issues like letting old beliefs programmed from childhood drive my beliefs and behavior or recognizing and exploring my dark side in order to balance it with the light.
Another interesting factor is that 3 of the mornings I have awoken thinking I can only remember the last scene and I have lost the rest but once I begin recording it the rest follow and the picture unfolds.”
More Conscious Dreams
Velada is a beginner lucid dreamer and went to bed after consuming Dream Herb capsules. He says the following:
“My dreams were definitely different, however, in a way that I find interesting and hard to fully explain. I would say the primary aspect of it was that I had a more clear-headed thought process and a more active state of mind, while normally there is the sensation of instinctively and mindlessly reacting to the happenings of the dream. In other words, it definitely made me more conscious of the dream world, just not enough to realize I was there.
I woke up two times during the night and noticed very pleasant tingling sensations in my body and especially my legs. Falling back asleep was very easy.
Conclusion: Calea Zacatechichi definitely altered my dreams. I tried a low dose this time and it seems likely that if I use more of this herb it could be a great aid in lucid dreaming.”
Zen at Low Doses Fun at High Doses
Mmeka0 found in the Calea zacatechichi, an effective substitute to cannabis when he was looking for a good alternative to puff on when he was hanging out with his friends.
“I felt a more profound calm — almost relaxed and light-headed.
It is called the dream herb, and it is at these doses that I felt those dream-inducing effects. Taking two cigarettes and then going to sleep produced some fantastic dreams. In my experience going to sleep after smoking two cigarettes sends me into vivid dreams which are often lucid. I can recall a dream where I was wandering through the alleyways of my city, aware that I was dreaming, and creating new alleyways to explore wherever I wanted. Additionally, dreams are often easier to recall, usually, Calea-induced dreams don’t have that feeling of being hard to remember. As well, the sensation of enhanced alertness and perception seems to extend into dreams, I feel more in control of the dream environment even when not lucid dreaming.”
He also tried higher doses to test the psychoactive effects:
“As I was doing this, one of the tenants in the complex I live in was practicing his tuba. When I heard the sound of this tuba, my mind interpreted the sound as whales. Suddenly I became convinced there were whales floating around outside the apartment, and that the air had taken on the qualities of water. I was smiling at the tranquility of the whales when I heard children outside laughing — my mind interpreted this to mean that there were children inside my house laughing. Under any other circumstances, I think this would have been the beginning of a terrible trip, but Calea brings this profound sense of calmness that made it seem alright, that it was just children inside my home and they were having a good time.”
“All of a sudden I had the desire to study — I was feeling very alert. I grabbed my things and went outside, where whales were floating around above my building. I took public transit to the local library and took up a study carrel with some of my French verb books. I spent the next several hours studying and found learning far easier than I normally do, all the while with whales floating slowly around the library building.”
The Soul Revealing Herb
The Calea has been part of human culture for millennia. Now we are at a point of the psychedelic revolution where an herb that allows the psychonaut to explore their dreams consciously without triggering super challenging experiences is super welcome.
Check out our webshop if you are a researcher who wants to explore and buy the dream herb (Calea zacatechichi):
Dream Herb – Calea zacatechichi
Calea zacatechichi the Dream Herb ready for research.
Thanks for reading!
Mayagoitia, LÃlian; DÃaz, JosÃ©-Luis; Contreras, Carlos M. (1986). Psychopharmacologic analysis of an alleged oneirogenic plant: Calea zacatechichi. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 18(3), 229–243. doi:10.1016/0378–8741(86)90002–4