Calea zacatechichi, also known as Dream Herb and Bitter Grass, is a plant that has been used for centuries by the indigenous Chontal peoples of Oaxaca, Mexico. It has recently become fairly well known as a dream induction tool in the West, and is the most well known of all of the traditional dreaming herbs that are presently available on the market. I discuss Calea zacatechichi elsewhere on this site, but since it is such a powerful tool, because so many people are curious about it, and because it has been such an incredible teacher for me in my dream work, I felt that I would be helpful to share a few more details about this amazing plant and its uses.
Calea zacatechichi has been the subject of several scientific studies, which have demonstrated that it increases reaction time and the frequency and recollection of dreams in comparison to both a placebo and to diazepam. The Chontal use it for oneiromancy, or divination performed through dreams, and also use it to treat gastrointestinal disorders and to reduce fevers. They say that this plant clarifies the senses and causes euphoria. Chontal shamans usually use Calea zacatechichi to locate the cause of an illness in a patient or to find someone or something that is lost. In order to effect this change, a ‘joint’ made of Calea zacatechichi is smoked and a tea made from the leaf is consumed at the same time. This is done just before going to sleep. Some individuals also are reported to place a leaf of Calea zacatechichi under their pillow before going to sleep. The answer to the shaman’s question will then come within the dream state.
I first started working with Calea zacatechichi in as traditional a manner as I could manage. I made a tea of the dried leaf matter and then consumed this while smoking some of the dried leaves. Calea zacatechichi has a very interesting effect which will let you know if you have taken a sufficient dose. A feeling of deep tranquility and drowsiness becomes immediately apparent, and when you close your eyes, you will become distinctly aware of the beating of your own heart.
Calea zacatechichi tea does not have the most pleasant taste. It is very bitter, and occasionally makes me feel a little bit nauseous after I drink it. I have been able to experience very powerful Calea zacatechichi effects simply from smoking the plant matter or from smoking resin extracts, so if the taste of the tea is not something you can manage, you may want to try this out. Alcoholic Calea zacatechichi tinctures and encapsulated herbage of Calea zacatechichi are also available, and can be just as effective as the tea, without the bitter flavor. Calea zacatechichi dose will vary from person to person and based on whether you are using the dried plant material, an extract or a tincture. Generally, it’s best to start with the lower end of the recommended dose on the product you select and work your way up. I have never experienced any Calea zacatechichi side effects, nor have any been reported by others, although I do notice that I don’t sleep as deeply on the nights I work with this herb, and that I feel slightly less rested the next day. Therefore, I always make sure to have a full eight hours of sleep before me when I start to work with Calea zacatechichi. This prevents me from feeling at all drowsy the next day.
Scientists are not yet sure why exactly it is that Calea zacatechichi is so effective. My personal feeling is that this plant helps to induce vivid lucid dream states by increasing the frequency of REM sleep and making sleep lighter in general. Whenever I work with Calea zacatechichi I notice that I wake up much more frequently during the night, although it is usually for just a few seconds. Since I am waking up during my REM sleep states, I am more capable of remembering my dreams.
This process also makes it much, much easier to induce Wake Induced Lucid Dreams. The first time I ever experienced a fully lucid dream was the first time I worked with Calea zacatechichi. I had been keeping a dream journal before this time and had become capable of regularly remembering my dreams and of occasionally becoming slightly lucid within them. However, the first night I worked with Calea zacatechichi, I had a completely new experience! I woke up right in the middle of a very vivid dream that was not particularly pleasant. Rather than getting up, or going in to another sleep state, I realized that I could just go back in to the dream I had been in. I re-entered the dream and was fully lucid, and was then fully lucid and capable of making the dream go in the way that I wanted it to go. This experience was definitely due to Calea zacatechichi’s effect of allowing me to remember my dream, wake up within it, and then return to that same space.
Many individuals have reported powerful lucid dreaming experiences with Calea zacatechichi. It definitely can help to bring you in to more vivid dream states, and can potentially teach you how to induce lucid dreaming, as well. This powerful plant is as popular as it is in the world of dreaming herbs for a reason. I definitely recommend this herb to anyone who is just beginning to explore dream herbs. If you want to give your dreaming work a jump start, or if you want to learn something new about your dreams, Calea zacatechichi may be just what you need! If you’ve tried Calea zacatechichi and had an interesting (or not-so-interesting) experience, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and share – I’d love to learn about what other people are discovering when working with this amazing plant!
I am curious as to whether anyone has made tea of Calea Z and used one of the sonic essential oil diffusers to diffuse the “steam” into the air. Is there any reason this might be unsafe? I know tea releases different components than smoking, but haven’t come across anything suggesting breathing the difused tea would be a problematic manner of absorption as opposed to drinking or smoking. But haven’t found anything on using diffusers this way for anything. All info is for essential oils diluted in water.
Ok so I’ve heard that the tea/smoke/pills (depending on the capsules release time) should be done before bed BUT I’ve also heard it’s better to do them during a WBTB (Wake Back To Bed) after 4-6 hours of sleep. Any personal experience as to which works better? I have successfully become lucid multiple times after waking up at 4:30 and going back to be at 5. I just want to know if it would be better for me to do this herb during that 30 min period. Thanks. Sorry I’m like 3 years late here.
I, too, have the best dream recall and have had the highest incidence of lucid dreaming during my Wake Back to Bed time in the mornings. If I know I plan to wake early so I can lay around in the twilight state for a while, I always take my Calea tea and have a Calea smoke in those early morning hours. I always need an activity that gets me up for about 30 minutes, so the entire process of making my tea, letting it steep, rolling a smoke, and enjoying both is the perfect wake me up enough, but not too much state for getting back to dreaming.
And you’re not late at all; the discussion continues.
Tried Calea Z, had some interesting experiences. The first time I tried it, had problems getting to sleep, but then had some very vivid dreams with very vibrant colors and textures, and great (easy) memory recall of the dreams. Was really looking forward to continued experiences with it.
Unfortunately, almost every time I tried it there-after, the taking of the herb caused me to become wide awake, and not be able to sleep any more, thereby making dreaming impossible.
Finally, I tried a dose one night before going to sleep, instead of after about four hours of sleep, and it did not prevent sleeping, but also did not lead to an increase in dreams or dream recall. Unfortunately after the first time, it just hasn’t worked for me.
At this point I am really annoyed with my body! I want this to work!
Where can I find this calea plant/herb?
There are numerous places online to purchase Calea; my favorite are ShamansGarden and IAmShaman.
I just got my first bag of it.hope to start seeing some results soon.
Hey, I’m interested in using Calea z and was wondering if you would recommend smoking the dried herb, taking a finely ground powder, or using a liquid tincture or extract. Thanks. Nice article
My favorite thing to do is to make a tea out of the powder, while smoking a cigarette made out of the cut and sifted leaves, about 30 minutes before bed.
Others have found that their lucid dreaming is most intense in early morning hours, when they’ve awoken, but are not yet quite awake. I often set my alarm 2.5 hours before waking, force myself to get out of bed and make Calea tea as I smoke a Calea cigarette that I rolled the night before, and I often dream like nobody’s business.
First time user of Calea Zacatechichi last night. Background 50ish, workout and have had prophetic dreams. Last night made a dream tea containing Calea/2leaves, chamomile/1level tsp. Do not smoke. Put 3leaves wrapped in cotton kerchief in pillow case. Also listened to 528hz DNA Frequency. Results, humming sensation throughout body, heightened senses, aching in extremities of toes, left knee, shoulders amplified several times over. Had to take melatonin in order to fall asleep. Within 2 hrs vivid dream of an angry argument between my husband and I over a book I was reading ( not in reality in dream), he threatened to throw it away I became angry said I would go buy the book again, also pregnant in dream, nothing stands out concerning the room we were in, certainly high awareness of emotions going on in dream. Hope this helps I always read comments left by consumers. Will try again but not sure how to cope with the heightened awareness of pain.
Dosage? How much is needed to produce the desired effects?
Every person is different, so it takes some experimentation on your part. For me, I need 2 tablespoons of powdered material for my tea, and enough cut and sifted material to make an average size Calea cigarette.
I am wondering once I buy a plant, how do I use it. Do I have to dry the leaves and then make tea, smoke, or capsule? Or can I just pluck it off and go right into it? How do I know that the leaves are ready to be “used”?
You do not need to dry the leaves to make a tea – in fact, making a tea of the fresh leaves is the best way to go about using this plant in my opinion! If you want to prepare a capsule or make a smoke, you will want to dry the leaves – just pick and place in a cool, dry place or hang from the stems. The leaves are ready to smoke when they are fully dry. 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions!
i have trouble concentrating on anything for too long. my mind wanders all the time. i am very interested in learning knew things and enjoying life but i cant seem to focus or have the motivation. anything that would help me?
It’s been clinically proven that bringing a regular mediation regimen into your life will increase your focus. As far as supplements, I’ve been adding Celastrus Seeds (ground up) to my morning smoothie and have noticed positive affects on memory. You can find Celastrus here: http://www.iamshaman.com/eshop/10Expand.asp?ProductUID=1245&ProductCode=CLT-1OZ
Also, I have a friend who regularly uses a new product called Cognihance. It’s an all natural supplement that contains a number of different plants which help in memory, focus, and concentration. it can be found here: http://cognihance.com/
Hope this helps!
Hope this helps!
Thank you very much. I have not yet tried this but plan on it very soon. i have been very busy so have not been using computer lately.. i have however been practicing meditation daily and have noticed amazing improvements in focus and concentration.
Wonderful! Glad to hear the meditation has been helping. In my experience, the herbs work best when combined with a good meditation routine. If you add the herbs in now, you’re bound to experience some truly amazing results! 🙂
I’ve been taking adderall for about 15 years now (for ADD and I also find it helps with my manic depression). I’ve been looking into herbs and such that have similar effects, in hopes of finding something that enhances the adderall so I can avoid needing to increase my dosage due to tolerance issues.
Celastrus paniculata was one of the first things I tried, and I *love* it! It does a very good job of mimicking the non-stimulant effects of adderall – it definitely helps with mental clarity and focus, without the side-effect of any “high” or buzz.
I’m not a fan of chewing bad-tasting seeds, so I use a little coffee-bean grinder and a capsule-making machine to grind up and capsulize the seeds.