Celastrus paniculatusFAVORITE USE(S): For increasing mental acuity in all realms, including dreaming

FAVORITE TIME(S): Any time of day, but particularly in the morning

Celastrus paniculatus seeds have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.  In particular, the seeds yield as much as 52% oil by weight, and it is in this oil that numerous alkaloids are found, compounds such as celastrine and paniculatin.

I first discovered celastrus when I was studying for a big qualifying examination that required four to six hours a day of preparation for several months.  I was looking for supplements that would help to enhance my cognitive abilities and that would keep me sharp while supporting my health and not causing negative side effects.  I stumbled across as supplement called Cognihance, which has been clinically proven “to enhance memory and increase retention”, and which contains a great deal of Celastrus seed oil, among other things.  I decided to research Celastrus a little more and found that in Ayurvedic medicine it is well known for its efficacy in increasing intellectual capabilities.  Many Indian college students regularly consume half a teaspoon of Celastrus paniculatus oil each day as part of their daily diet – this acts as a brain stimulant, improving memory and recall.

Indeed, celastrus has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years for its potent medicinal properties.  In particular, it was used as a brain tonic, appetite stimulant, and emetic.  It was much prescribed in cases of forgetfulness, mental fatigue and memory loss.  Modern medicinal studies have only confirmed the incredible properties of celastrus seeds in supporting mental function.  And indeed, after taking celastrus for a few days, I started to notice that I was more focused, that I could remember things more easily, and that it was much easier to retain that knowledge for longer. And I passed my exam with flying colors, in case you were wondering!

Celastrus also has a long history of use in helping with dream recall and lucid dream induction.  After taking celastrus for about a week, I noticed that I was remembering my dreams much more often and with a great deal more clarity.  Celastrus makes your brain sharper and improves memory, so of course it makes sense that it would make it easier to remember dreams and to attain awareness within them.  Celastrus seeds are an essential part of my everyday diet, both for their cognitive benefits and for their beneficial effects on my dream work, and since there are no negative side effects to be found with celastrus, there is no reason not to add it to your diet as a supplement!

HOW TO PREPARE/RECIPE: There are many different methods I have found for preparing celastrus, but the most common use the seeds to extract their essential oils.  In ancient India, the seeds were placed in a pot of boiling water or goat’s milk.  Over a period of a few hours, the essential oils would rise to the surface, the seeds were strained out, and the mixture was allowed to settle.  The oil could then be siphoned off and used.  The oil can also be extracted using a screw press.

Fortunately, modern research has shown that celastrus seeds are just as effective when consumed with next to no prior preparation.  You can even chew 10-12 seeds at a time, up to 100 a day, to get the same Celastrus paniculatus benefits.  This is easy, but the seeds don’t taste great, so I prefer to soak a teaspoon of seeds in four cups of boiling water for three hours, then sweeten with honey or agave nectar and drink.  If you don’t want to go through the fuss of consuming whole seeds, you can also purchase herbal tinctures, such as Cognihance, which contain celastrus and are very easy to take.