Tagetes lucida(Marigold, Yauhtli (‘the dark one’), Flor de Santa Maria, Hierba de Nube (‘cloud herb’), Sweet Mace, Mexican Tarragon)

FAVORITE USE(S): For calming the mind and body and enhancing dreams

FAVORITE TIME(S): 30 minutes – 1 hour before bed

Tagetes lucida, or Mexican tarragon is a powerfully psychoactive species of marigold that was used as a ritual incense by the Aztecs.  Even now, this species of marigold is used in Mexican Dia de los Muertos celebrations as an offering to the deceased.  These beautiful flowers are also used regularly as flower offerings in Hindu and Tantric ceremonies in Nepal and India, and are associated with the goddess Bhagwati and the god Shiva.

I first came across the ritual use of Tagetes lucida when I was studying the Huichol Indians of the Sierra Madre area of Mexico.  They call this flower tumutsáli or yahutli, and they smoke the dried herbage by itself or mixed with an equal portion of Nicotiana rustica.  The Huichol hold Tagetes lucida to be one of their most important ritual plants, and use it both recreationally and ceremonially, as part of a rite of passage ritual.  They say that it has a strong aphrodisiac effect.

I discovered that the Huichol also smoke the dried herbage of Tagetes lucida during their peyote ceremonies, and that they believe that this empowers the effects of the peyote greatly.  They also sometimes smoke Tagetes lucida while drinking traditional maize beer or cactus liquor.  In these combinations, Tagetes lucida effects are said to include extremely dynamic and active visions.

Tagetes lucida is said to contain a compound that is very similar to Salvinorin A, the powerful alkaloid found in Salvia that is primarily responsible for its psychoactive effects and which is one of the most potent naturally occurring psychedelics.  Dried Tagetes lucida herbage is very fragrant and can be used as a flavoring spice in cooking, as a remedy for digestive troubles, and of course to induce visions.

I find that smoking the herbage and drinking Tagetes lucida tea made from the leaf brings on a very relaxed and sleepy state.  I do sometimes notice mild closed-eye visuals when working with this combination.  I am also usually encompassed with a warm feeling of well-being, and a physical feeling of warmth in my body.

Working with Tagetes lucida usually makes me feel sleepy, so I find it best to take just before bed.  I have found that Tagetes lucida also has very interesting dream enhancing effects.  It is very calming and induces restful sleep.  This, in combination with the visual effects that it has are certainly part of the reason this plant is useful in working with lucid and vivid dreams.  Tagetes lucida is an ideal addition to any dream inducing smoking blend or tea, and has particularly interesting effects when smoked along with Calea zacatechichi and Mexican Prickly Poppy.

HOW TO PREPARE/RECIPE: I have discovered a number of different preparations for Tagetes lucida herbage in my research.  It can be infused in high proof alcohol to make a tincture, boiled in water to make a tea, or ground to make a paste.  My favorite method of taking Tagetes lucida is to boil 1-2 grams in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes.  I then usually drink this tea while smoking about 1 gram of the dried herbage.  This seems to have the most noticeable effects, particularly when it comes to dreaming.  Tagetes lucida also works very well as part of smoking blends for purposes of dreaming, particularly in conjunction with Calea zacatechichi and Mexican Prickly Poppy.