(Dream Herb, Aztec Dream Grass, Bejuco chismuyo, Bitter Grass, Hoja Madre, Prodigiosa, Thle-pelakano, Tzikin, Yerba amarga, Zacate de perro.)
FAVORITE USE(S): For inducing powerful vivid dreams and working with lucid dreaming
FAVORITE TIME(S): Just before going to sleep
Calea zacatechichi is perhaps one of the most well known dream herbs that is available on the Western market today. It was also the first dream herb that I ever worked with, and I experienced my very first fully lucid dream with its help. Calea zacatechichi is used by the Chontal Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico to clarify the senses and to allow medicine men to receive divinatory messages while dreaming. It has also been used as a folk remedy to treat wounds, fevers, and headaches, among other things.
I first became interested in dreaming herbs through Calea zacatechichi. A friend of mine had been working with it and, knowing that I was interested in dream work, he recommended that I try some. I selected a 10x extract resin, which I smoked just before going to bed. I became sleepy very quickly afterwards and fell in to a deep sleep before long. The next morning, I awoke in the middle of a very vivid dream. I remember thinking to myself, “I’m not happy with how that dream was going…”, and then falling back asleep. I re-entered the same dream at the point I had left it, and was fully lucid. I was then able to manipulate the dream completely to my liking. This was my first spontaneously fully lucid dreaming experience, and I am completely certain that I had this experience thanks to Calea zacatechichi. It is because of amazing dream herb effects like these that Calea is quickly becoming one of the most popular dreaming herbs.
Since Calea has become so popular as a dream herb, several studies have been carried out in regards to its effects on dreams. As an example, Paul Devereux conducted a research study in which participants consumed 2.5 grams of dried Calea dream herb in a decoction followed with a marijuana joint. Participants reported that after 30 minutes they experienced intense relaxation, euphoria, and drowsiness. Participants also reported clarity of mind, hearing the heart beating loudly in the ears, and becoming consciously aware of the body while transitioning in to the sleep state. These effects are all completely in line with my personal experience of calea. Other studies have demonstrated that consuming Calea increases the frequency and recollection of dreams in comparison to a placebo and to diazepam.
Speaking subjectively, based on these studies and the personal Calea zacatechichi experiences of myself and many others I have spoken to, this may indeed be one of the most valuable of all teacher plants for encouraging powerful dreams and for teaching methods of lucid dreaming. The effects are almost immediate, and you will experience an increase in dreaming the first night you start working with C. zacatechichi. I truly feel that, by working with this plant, I have learned things about my dreams that carry over in to every dreaming experience I have, whether I consume Calea that night or not.
HOW TO PREPARE/RECIPE: Traditionally, the Chontal brew Calea zacatechichi tea from dried plant material and then smoke the dried leaves just before going to sleep. There are a wide variety of types of Calea zacatechichi on the market, ranging from dried leaves to powerful extracts, so you may need to do some exploration to figure out what type is the most effective for you. My favorite method is to a make tea using 2 grams of dried calea leaf steeped in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes, and then to smoke .25-.5 grams of 10x extract just before getting in to bed. I find this method to be very effective, but you may want to start with lower doses and work your way up if you are new to Calea.