Hemidesmus indicusAnanta-mula, Anantmoola, Ananthamoola, Anantmula, Asclepias Pseudosarsa, Country Sarasaparilla, Durivel, East Indian Sarsaparilla, Eternal Root, False Sarsaparilla, Fragrant One, Gadisugandhi, Gopakanya, Hemidesmus Pubescens, Hemidismus Indica-Radix, Kapuri, Karibandha, Magrabu, Muttavapulagamu, Naga-jihva, Naruninti, Nunnari, Nunnery Root, Onontomulo, Periploca Indica, Sariva, Smilax  Aspera, Sogade, Sugandhi-pala, Sugandi Root, Upalasari, White Sariva

FAVORITE USE(S): For achieving easy dream lucidity during REM sleep.

FAVORITE TIME(S): This is nice any time of day, but particularly an hour or two before bed.

Hemidesmus indicus is known in Ayurvedic medicine as Sugandi, and it has been valued for its medicinal properties for almost a thousand years.  In Ayurveda, it has been used medicinally to treat stomach problems, to cure rashes and to calm the mind and induce trance states and deep meditation.  It is also said to prepare the mind for the world of dreams.  I first found out about the dreaming applications of sugandi when reading Carlos Castaneda’s book, The Art of Dreaming.  In this book, he discusses the way that this amazing plant can transport the user to deeper sleep states and take them through the four gates of dreaming.

Sugandi root has an amazing, aromatic and sweet scent that reminds me of a combination of vanilla, almonds, and cinnamon.  It tastes amazing made in to a tea, and has incredible effects on the dream state.  The most noteworthy effects are the calming, clarifying and tranquil feelings produced by drinking this tea.  I generally take this tea an hour or so before bedtime.  It produces an overall relaxing, calming sensation that envelopes me with euphoria and puts my mind at ease.  It seems to help me to maintain mental clarity and focus while drifting off to sleep.  On nights that I drink sugandi tea, I also am able to achieve lucidity quite often, as much as four or five times in one night.  I also find that when I drink this tea I am much more relaxed the next day!

HOW TO PREPARE/RECIPE: Sugandi root has been used in India for hundreds of years, and so of course there are hundreds of ways to prepare it.  For medicinal purposes, it seems that the root is usually made in to a powder which can be made in to salves or balms. Hemidesmus indicus medicinal uses in Ayurvedic medicine include treating blood impurities, syphilis, leprosy and fever.

Personally, I like to make a tea out of the whole root.  To do this, bring two cups of water to a boil, then reduce heat to very low.  Add in two ounces of dried root, and simmer for an hour.  Then drink the tea over the course of the day.  Be sure not to put the roots in to the water while it is still boiling, as this is known to destroy some of the active alkaloids in the root.  This tea is actually quite tasty, especially when combined with a sweetener like honey or agave nectar.  If you are able to find dried root powder, or are able to grind the roots down on your own, you can also encapsulate them and take a dose of five grams per day for maximum health benefits.