Before we begin, let's just take a moment to acknowledge something...
Herbs are freaking awesome!
Not only can herbs be used for adding interest and flavour to your food, but they can also be used for so much more; from healing and beauty to cleaning and perfuming.
But what many people do not realise is they can also be used to enhance your dreams!
Did you know that there are herbs which can not only increase the clarity and vividness of dreams but also improve dream recall and... some can even trigger lucid dreams!
Yes, that's right. The incredible phenomenon where you can wake up inside your dreams and take control, can be triggered just by using certain herbs.
But which herbs will help enhance your dreams? Which will help you to remember them and which will trigger the lucid ones?
I have spent many years experimenting with different dream enhancing herbs and this page is a collection of my favourites. They can be used either on their own, or as a ready made blend which you can BUY HERE.
If you have already purchased some lucid dream herbs and are looking for ways to use them, you may want to check out this page.
Here are 12 of the very best herbs for lucid dreaming (in alphabetical order):
Mugwort, also known as wild wormwood, is one of the most popular herbs to aid lucid dreaming. Mugwort is known to make dreams more vivid, improve your dream recall and can heighten awareness in the dream state (help you to become lucid).
Mugwort is often used in modern witchcraft as a visionary herb, to amplify psychic vision, induce prophetic dreams and give access to "divine visons". It is also used by pagans during summer solstice celebrations. The North American Chumash Indians referred to mugwort as "dream sage" and used it for hundreds of years to promote positive dreams.
Herbalist Scott Kloos, says that mugwort leaves in all forms including tea, tincture, smoke, or even hung above the bed or placed under the pillow, can promote vivid dreams and help uncover, access, and transform areas of psychic unconsciousness.
How to use mugwort
Personally I find mugwort is best used in tea or smoked, either on its own or blended with other dream herbs. The dried leaves of mugwort have a light and fluffy texture which smokes very well and has been used as a tobacco substitute for centuries. For this reason mugwort is sometimes known as "sailor's tobacco". Mugwort is also considered a substitute for cannabis as it exhibits mild intoxicating and relaxing properties when smoked.
Mugwort tea tastes quite mild with a certain grassiness to it which, personally, I don't find particularly pleasant. Mixing with other dream herbs helps both flavour and overall lucid dreaming effects.
How does mugwort help to increase lucid dreams?
Mugwort contains a chemical called Thujone, which is also found in gin and absinthe and may be (at least partly) the cause behind the psychoactive effects. The pharmacological effects of thujone are very similar to those of THC (one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis).
Mugwort makes it easier to fall asleep and seems to push REM sleep to later stages of the night. It also improves dream recall due to its relationship with the GABA neurotransmitter. This relationship to GABA increases the ability to recall dreams at later periods of time in the night when GABA transmission is less and the brain is able to create long-term memories.
Other mugwort uses
Mugwort doesn't only give you rememberable and lucid dreams, but has a whole host of other health benefits and uses. This popular herb can be used to calm nerves, regulate the menstrual cycle, as a diuretic, a flavouring in food, to help with anxiety, depression, restlessness, headaches and can also be used to make a type of non-hop beer called gruit.
Is mugwort safe?
If you plan on taking mugwort, just be aware that it should not be taken by anyone that is pregnant or breastfeeding or by anyone allergic to ragweed.
How to grow mugwort
Mugwort is super easy to grow and very hardy. This dream herb grows like a weed here in the UK! Check out this guide for growing your own mugwort from seeds or cuttings.
What is Calea Zacatechichi?
Calea Zacatechichi, is one of the most effective and most popular herbs for lucid dreaming. The Aztec name Zacatechichi is translated as "bitter grass" and may have helped Aztec magicians (nagualli) travel deeper into Tlalocan, the realm of dreams.
This herb has been scientifically proven in studies to increase dream clarity and vividness. There are two kinds of Calea, the bitter and the non-bitter variety. The bitter Calea has been proven to be more potent and is the only one which I grow and use in my blends.
There are many reported effects using Calea Zacatechichi. The most common include: increase in dream clarity and realism, increase in the number of dreams, more intense imagery when falling asleep, lucid dreaming (where you realise you are dreaming and can take control of your dream), vividness to dreams and a calming effect when falling asleep.
How to use Calea Zacatechichi
Calea is usually smoked or made into tea. Unfortunately, the smoke can be rather harsh when used on its own, and the tea can be very unpleasant due to the extreme bitter flavour. The other option is to fill gel capsules with finely ground Calea leaves, but I personally did not find this method to be very effective (perhaps it requires heat to activate the active compounds?).
So, the solution here if you want to smoke Calea, is to blend it with other herbs and/or tobacco. If you would prefer to make tea with your Calea, then it is best blended with other dream herbs and then add some other flavourings to disguise the flavour. I have lots of great tips on improving the flavour of Calea Zacatechichi here.
Is Calea Zacatechichi safe?
Safety of Calea Zacatechichi has not been evaluated in clinical trials. There have been reports of hallucinations as well as additional adverse effects such as nausea and vomiting. Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are on any medications or have any underlying heath conditions, or are in any way unsure, always check with a health care professional before taking Calea. Calea Zacatechichi may cause allergic reactions to people sensitive to plants in the ragweed family. If you do decide to take Calea, start with a small dose and work your way up from there.
How to grow Calea Zacatechichi
I find Calea Z to be an easy plant to grow, although it is not at all winter hardy here in the UK so you would need to keep it on a sunny windowsill. If you wanted to try growing Calea Zacatechichi yourself, I highly recommend buying a plant or cuttings, as the seeds can be quite a challenge!
Calea cuttings can be started in water fairly easily, although I find it easier just to start them in soil. I just add a handful of grit, sand or perlite to some regular potting soil, fill up a pot and add the cuttings. They really appreciate high humidity to get them started so just put a small clear bag over the top and secure with a rubber band. After a few weeks, slowly acclimatise to lower humidity but adding some holes to the bag before finally removing completely once your Calea cuttings look like they are growing well.
Calea Zacatechichi plants like lots of sunshine, good drainage and frequent watering to grow well. But don't worry if you forget to water your Calea plant occasionally because a stressed plant will produce more alkaloids. More alkaloids mean a more potent and effective dream enhancing herb.
Just remember to keep this dream herb protected from frosts by bringing indoors during the winter in cold climates.
Although I have had great success in propagating Calea Z from cuttings, I have never managed to get a single seed to germinate. If you do manage do grow one from seed then I would love to hear how you did it!
The Ginkgo Biloba tree is one of the oldest living trees, super resilient and often described as a living fossil. Ginkgo has beautiful fan-shaped leaves which turn from green into a stunning bright yellow in the Autumn. The leaves, seeds and roots have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to treat everything from anxiety to ringing in the ears!
Modern research primarily focuses on the leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba because the seeds contain toxins which can be dangerous in large amounts. Ginkgo leaves, which are rich in antioxidants and sources of phenolic compounds, are widely used for their cognitive and memory enhancing properties.
Ginkgo Biloba helps to increase lucid dreaming by improving blood flow and nutrients to the brain, which in turn improves memory, brain function, brain speed and critical thinking. This results in more vivid dreams, and a increased likeliness that you will remember them afterward! In fact, because of Ginkgo's boost to memory, this herb is commonly used as a treatment for conditions like Alzheimer's.
Other reported benefits of taking Ginkgo Biloba before bed include; falling asleep easier and faster, enhanced relaxation, reduced symptoms of anxiety, improved circulation, improvement in sleep patterns and waking up less in the night.
For lucid dreaming and dream recall, you can make Ginkgo tea using either fresh or dried leaves of Ginkgo Biloba and drink just before bed each night for as long as required. It doesn't taste unpleasant in anyway, although a little on the bland side. I find adding other herbs vastly improves both the flavour and lucid dreaming effects.
Alternatively, you could try taking a supplement. If you choose to take supplements of Ginkgo for dream enhancement then start with a dose of 120mg a day, increasing to 250mg a day if necessary. Ginkgo is generally considered safe but, as with all supplements, you should always check with a health care professional first, especially if you take other medications (particularly blood thinners) or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you wanted to try to grow your own Ginkgo Biloba tree, bear in mind that although they are very hardy, they are also very slow growing! I've been growing my own Ginkgo from a small seedling and it is still only 2ft high after 2 years of growing.
The most exciting thing about planting one of these beauties is that they can live to be thousands of years old. In fact the oldest recorded example is a staggering 3500 years old... so my baby Gingko tree may still be alive in the year 5523!
Heimia Salicifolia, or Sinicuichi as it is called in Brazil, is an important Aztec sacrament plant. An infusion made from the leaves is said to cause a relaxed state of mind with improved memory function. This potent dream herb can also cause mild hallucinations such as distorted hearing and yellow-tinged vision (hence the common name, Sun Opener).
Heimia Salicifolia has a Shamanic tradition dating to the Aztecs. In addition to aiding lucid dreaming, Heimia Salicifolia is thought to aid astral travel. Those who ingest the herb say that they sometimes experience time travel and out of body experiences. There is speculation that lucid dreaming and astral projection stem from the same part of the brain.
Please see here for some great information on uses, effects and preparation of this interesting dream herb.
Unfortunately, I don't have any personal experience with this dream herb yet because my Heimia Salicifolia plants are still quite small. I started growing Heimia S. a couple of years ago but the seeds are incredibly tiny so they take quite a while to get to a decent size! It is said that Heimia S. cannot tolerate frost, but mine have been growing outside in a cold greenhouse all winter (low of -5c) with no issues here in the South East of the UK. They are just starting to regrow now we are in spring... as soon as they are big enough I will be trialling the effects of their leaves on lucid dreaming and I will update this section to let you know the results.
Hops are the cone-shaped flowers of the plant Humulus Lupulus, a member of the Cannabaceae family (which includes hemp and marijuana). Hops have been used as a bittering agent in beer for many centuries and still are to this day.
This herb has a long history of being used as a natural sedative and can increase sleep time, giving you more chance of becoming lucid. Interestingly, hops was first discovered as a sedative when, a long time ago in Europe, the workers in the hops fields fell asleep on the job more often than usual! Their work was not particularly demanding compared to similar field work so naturally people started wondering why.
There have since been several scientific studies on hops, which suggest they do indeed have sedative effects.
Often, you will find hops mixed with Valerian root, another good natural sedative, but I personally do not advise valerian (unless you happen to like the smell of vomit mixed with stinky feet!).
Lemon Balm is a perennial herb from the mint family. The leaves have a delicious lemony aroma and have been used for centuries for many conditions including anxiety, stress and insomnia.
A 2003 study in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that lemon balm indirectly encourages sleep by improving mood and inducing mental calmness. Lemon balm can be called a nootropic, or a brain-enhancing supplement, as it can improve cognitive performance too.
Lemon balm can help increase the chances of lucid dreaming in several ways; firstly, it contains chemicals which have a sedative, calming effect, helping you to fall asleep faster. It also contains eugenol which improves memory, helping you to remember your dreams.
And secondly, lemon balm contains a compound called Rosmarinic acid. This special compound inhibits the formation of something called Acetylcholinesterase (AChE). This leads to an increase of acetylcholine (ACh), an important neurotransmitter in the brain involved in learning, memory and REM sleep. An increase of ACh leads to improved dream vividness, awareness and recollection of dreams. All in all, this should lead to an increase in lucid dreaming and being able to remember them afterwards.
Lemon balm makes a delicious herbal tea with a light, delicate flavour which can be made from fresh or dried leaves.
Lemon balm is very easy to grow, very hardy and will happily spread all over your garden if you let it!
The sacred Blue Lotus contains the psychoactive alkaloid apomorphine which is present in all parts of the plant, with the highest concentrations in the leaves and the flowers. A beautiful flower from ancient Egypt that works as an aphrodisiac and heightens awareness. Mild hallucinations can occur at higher doses, and was known as the party drug of the Ancient Egyptians! When taken before bed, it induces vivid and lucid dreams.
I find the best way to use blue lotus for lucid dreaming is to make blue lotus wine. This method extracts the alkaloids so you get the most from your blue lotus herb. You simply add 5 grams of blue lotus flower to about 750ml of alcohol. The Egyptians used wine but you can try with any alcohol you like... I find vodka works very well.
Make sure you grind up your blue lotus flowers first. You can do this using a coffee grinder, pestle and mortar or blender. Grinding your herb finely exposes more surface area and makes it easier for the alkaloids to be extracted. Shake it every day. You will notice the flowers loose some of their blue colour and they begin to look a rather ugly brown colour. This is completely normal so don't worry!
After 1-3 weeks you can strain off the flowers and add some sugar or honey, before enjoying your wonderful blue lotus elixir. Try drinking some just before bed for the best lucid dreaming effects.
If you don't fancy making blue lotus wine, you can try any of these methods instead.
Sadly, this gentle calming herb has been banned in some countries so you will need to check the legal status in your country before purchasing.
Blue Lotus can be grown from seed or rhizomes but you would need a pond and warm temperatures or a heated greenhouse as it requires a minimum temperature of 10°C (50°F).
Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, holds immense cultural and spiritual importance in India, revered as an embodiment of purity and protection.
This adaptogenic herb is esteemed for its medicinal properties, particularly stress relief and overall well-being in Ayurvedic medicine. With its aromatic leaves, it's used in spiritual practices and ceremonies while also adding a distinct flavour to regional cuisines, showcasing antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities. Its profound significance in spiritual, cultural, and medicinal realms highlights its versatile and cherished nature.
How does Holy Basil aid lucid dreaming?
Holy basil is known for its stress-relieving and calming properties which aids lucid dreaming by promoting relaxation. By reducing stress and anxiety, it can help create a more conducive mental and emotional environments for sleep. A relaxed mind before bedtime may lead to more restful sleep, potentially increasing the chances of experiencing vivid dreams, including lucid dreaming.
Can Holy Basil also aid intuition or meditation?
The calming properties of holy basil helps to create a more relaxed mental stated, allowing individuals to tune into their thoughts and feelings more easily. This calmness and mental clarity can foster a conducive environment for honing one's intuition, potentially leading to a heightened sense of inner guidance or perception.
How to grow Holy Basil
Holy basil is a tropical plant native to Southeast Asia so requires plenty of warmth and sunshine to grow well. Here in the UK it would need to be grown indoors or in a heated greenhouse, especially during the winter months. Holy basil can be started from seed and requires well-draining soil and regular watering.
Also known as maypop, this beautiful climbing vine, native to the United States has long been used as a herb to aid anxiety and insomnia. Studies have proved that drinking a daily dose of passion flower tea improves the quality of sleep, and trials have shown it to relive anxiety too.
How does Passion Flower Aid Lucid Dreaming?
But, although sleep quality may be of some benefit to those seeking lucid dreams, it is the passion flowers ability to potentiate (enhance) other herbs and drugs which is of most interest to dream explorers. The roots and leaves of the Passion flower contain alkaloids (mostly Harmane) that function as MOA inhibitors (MOAIs) and these are able to increase the effects of mind-altering drugs. So, Passion Flower added to your herbal blend, can increase the effects of other lucid dreaming herbs such as Calea Zacatechichi, Mugwort and Silene Capensis.
Which Passion Flower Is Medicinal?
The genus Passiflora has over 500 different species. The most common Passiflora (passion flower) species used for medicinal purposes, is the Passiflora Incarnata. This is species that is used in most Passion Flower herbal supplements and is also the one that I use in all my dream herb blends.
Although most studies concerning Passiflora tend to focus on the Passiflora Incarnata, many species of Passion Flower have these MAOIs due to the high amounts of the Harmane. For example, the Amazonian species of Passion flower, Passiflora Involucrata, is sometimes used as an ingredient in Ayahuasca as it intensifies the visions when consuming the psychoactive brew.
Can Passion Flower get you high?
If Passion Flower is often added to the psychoactive brew, Ayahuasca, you may wonder if it has any potential to get you high? Well, the affects of Passion Flower are very mild when taken on its own; you may feel pleasantly relaxed and may even feel mild euphoria. However, when taken with other mind altering drugs, Passion Flower can potentiate the effects so extra precautions should be taken. Before mixing Passion Flower with any drug, make sure you do plenty of research into potential side-effects first.
How do you make Passion Flower Tea?
Passion flower tea is made from the leaves and vines. The tea smells very pleasant and has a mild, earthy flavour which I find really benefits from a touch of honey or sugar. For improved sleep, you can simply enjoy this herb on its own, but for lucid dreaming benefits, as mentioned above, blending this herb with other lucid dreaming herbs such as Calea Zacatechichi, will greatly improve results. Detailed instructions for making your tea can be found here.
How to grow Passion Flower
Passion flower is very easy to grow vine, hardy even here in the UK. I have successfully grown passion flower from seed and overwintered outside with no issues, even with temps last winter reaching -5 °C. After flowering (if you haven't harvested all your plants for lucid dreaming) you will be rewarded with lovely yellow passion fruits. For some great tips on how to grow this beautiful dream herb check this site out here.
Scutellaria lateriflora, commonly known as Skullcap or Maddog Skullcap, is a herb commonly used in smoking blends as a substitute for cannabis due to its strong relaxing effects. It is native to North America and is a member of the mint family. Skullcap is a moderate strength sleep inducing herb that also has antispasmodic effects (suppresses muscle spasms).
How does Skullcap aid lucid dreaming?
In order to lucid dream, one first needs to get plenty of sleep, and skullcap will be sure to help you accomplish this. Skullcap contains the flavonoid, scutellarin, which has both sedative and antispasmodic effects.
Similar to valerian and other anxiety-reducing herbs, skullcap seems to work primarily by interacting with GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces neuron activity. In particular, baicalin and baicalein seem to activate receptor sites used by GABA, producing an anxiolytic, calming effect. Research on the benefits of American skullcap has only begun, but existing evidence does support its anxiolytic effect.
Skullcap relaxes the body and mind, eases restlessness and helps prevent interrupted sleep. It has also been found to prevent nightmares whilst promoting happy and often very vivid dreams. Spending much longer in this state increases the chances of your dream becoming lucid.
Can Skullcap aid meditation and intuition?
There is also anecdotal evidence that skullcap's calming properties could help in accessing a deeper level of consciousness, possibly aiding in intuitive practices. Skullcap calms the mind and body which helps individuals to tune into their intuition or inner perceptions. For this reason it is a great herb to use before mediation as it would help you to better connect with your inner thoughts or feelings, potentially leading to a heightened sense of intuition.
How to use Skullcap for lucid dreaming
All aerial parts (leaves, stems) of skullcap can be used in tea, smoking and many other ways which you can read about here. Use just before bed for the best effects. Do not take if you are taking any sedative medications because it can potentiate their effects. Remember this herb can make you drowsy so I would not recommend using before driving or operating machinery.
How to grow Skullcap
Skullcap grows easily in the UK from seeds or cuttings. It likes lots of water and lots of nutrients. I grow mine in an old plastic paddling pool with zero drainage holes and using 100% well rotted manure in half sun. It seems very happy like this and grows very fast when the weather is warm. At the end of Autumn the skullcap dies down but regrows again in the spring. Small blue flowers grow in summer that resemble the helmets worn by European soldiers, hence the common name, Skullcap.
Silene Capensis is a fantastic oneirogen (produces dream like states of consciousness), also known as Undulata or African Dream root. The root of this plant has been used by the Xhosa people for thousands of years and is regarded by them as sacred. Only very small amounts of the root are needed over the course of 3 nights, after which the effects become apparent. Helps to bring on profound, vivid lucid dreams whilst only having minimal alterations in waking consciousness.
How to use Silene Capensis for dream enhancement
The Xhosa people traditionally pulverised a small amount (about 200mg) of the root with water to produce a froth, which is then sucked off and swallowed. I have tried this method, as well as simply adding a pinch to my usual herb blend, and both worked just as well. For me it usually takes 3-4 nights to see the effects. I find that finely grating my own root to be much better than buying the ready powdered stuff. You will need a mini grater or a coffee blender if you wanted to try this.
How to grow Silene Capensis
You can grow Silene Capensis here in the UK but it will need some amount of protection during the winter months. I have been growing Silene for several years now and find keeping them in an unheated greenhouse is quite sufficient to keep them happy over the winter months. The small white flowers only open at night and have a delicious sweet fragrance, often described as smelling like cloves, honey and jasmine. The roots are best harvested after 2 years.
Turnera Diffusa, commonly known as Damiana, is a small woody shrub from Mexico, Central America and the West Indies. The plant produces small yellow flowers that have a spicy sweet aroma. Damiana comes from the same family as passion flower, Passifloraceae, and the two herbs work synergistically together to produce a relaxing state that helps you to fall asleep faster and have more memorable dreams.
What is damiana used for?
The leaves and stems can be smoked or made into tea to give a mild high, a pleasant state of euphoria with mild, marijuana like effects. In Mexico, this mildly psychoactive herb is used a love drink due to its aphrodisiac properties. Ancient Mayan tribes are reported to have used the herb as an aphrodisiac and hallucinogen. Damiana is often used to improve mood, to help with anxiety and depression, and can also be used as natural pain relief.
How does damiana help lucid dreaming?
Many people report that using damiana before sleep can cause vivid and lucid dreams. This may be due to the affect damiana has on brain chemistry. Damiana works similar to passion flower and galantamine, my inhibiting AChE in the brain, which increases acetylcholine, and in turn, increases memory and cognitive function.
Because damiana is also a great aphrodisiac, many people report their dreams on damiana are particularly erotic and sensual as well as increasing the chances of becoming lucid.
How to grow damiana
Damiana is best grown from cuttings as seeds can be difficult to germinate. Damiana likes lots of sun and heat and grows well in desert zones. Damiana is semi-tropical so here in the UK it will need to be brought inside during the winter months.
Here are the links to my lucid dreaming herbs and herbal blends, available to buy through eBay (UK and EU only).
Lucid Dream Blend with Calea Zacatechichi, Mugwort, Hops, Lemon Balm and Ginkgo Biloba (£6.99)
Lucid dreaming blend for sensual dreams with Mugwort, Blue Lotus, Damiana, Ginkgo Biloba, Passion Flower, Chamomile, Lemon Balm and Rose petals (£6.99)
Lucid blend for increased intuition with Mugwort, Ginkgo Biloba, Skullcap, Devil's Claw and Holy Basil (Tulsi) (£6.99)
Hops (Humulus Lupulus) Dried Loose Flowers - 30g pouch (£1.99)
Blue Lotus Flowers (Nymphaea Caerulea) - 10g pouch (£6.99)
Blue Lotus Flowers (Nymphaea Caerulea) - 25g pouch (£12.99)
Ginkgo Biloba - 100g pouch (£2.99)
For a 10% discount on all orders just message me first via eBay quoting the word MINDMEDDLER and I will send you the offer!
A great guide on all the ways to use your dream herbs including: tea, tinctures, smoking, vaping and herbal pillows.
Follow this easy 3 step guide to lucid dreaming, how to lucid dream regularly and how to make your lucid dreams last longer.
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