Withania somniferaAshwagandha, Agol (Ethiopian), Amkuram Kizhangu (Dravidian, “beautiful horse root”), Asgandh (Hindi), Hajarat el Dib (Arabic, “wolf tree”), Harhumbashir (Assyrian, “red  coral”), Henbane, Kakink (Pakistan), Marjan (Modern Arabic, “coral”), Sekran (Syrian, “inebriant”), Timbutti Eqli (Assyrian, “ring of the field”), Ubad (Arabic/Yemen)

FAVORITE USE(S): For balancing body and mind and creating a calm, peaceful state

FAVORITE TIME(S): Up to an hour before bed OR 2 hours before I would normally awaken

Ashwagandha is a plant medicine that has been used as far back as ancient Mesopotamia for its medicinal and narcotic properties.  It was also used in ancient Egypt, particularly in order to invoke sleep.  Ashwagandha is used regularly in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for any number of ailments.  In fact, I discovered it when researching Ayurvedic herbs that would assist with dreaming.  Ashwagandha is said to regenerate the hormonal system and to promote healing, both internally and externally.  It is also said to be a rejuvenative herb that nurtures and clarifies the mind.  It is also very calming and allows one to enter a state of deep sleep.

I find that the effects of ashwagandha are very sedating.  Drinking ashwagandha tea also lifts my mood and allows me to go to sleep very easily.  It is also reported to create surreal, vivid dreams, and I have found this to be the case for myself more often than not.  I like to use it when I am feeling particularly stressed or when I have been experiencing interrupted sleep for many nights on end.  It definitely has a pronounced effect on my dream states, allowing me to enter vivid and lucid dreams much more easily, and I always feel much more relaxed and happy the day afterwards.  Ashwagandha is definitely a powerful medicine that has the added benefit of being extremely beneficial for dream work.

HOW TO PREPARE/RECIPE: Ashwaghanda can be purchased in many different forms.  For easy use, I prefer the liquid extract, which has anti-stress effects very similar to those of ginseng.  The extract can also act as an appetite stimulant.  In order to prepare the actual root matter, it should be dried and then either ground in to a powder and taken in capsules, or made into a tea.  A basic Ashwagandha tea recipe can be made by boiling 1 gram of root cortex for 2-4 minutes in 2 cups of water.  I have found the tea, in combination with Ginseng, a powerful lucid dream potentiator when I wake up early in the morning, perhaps two hours before I would normally wake up.  This is a key time for me to lucid dream, and I’ve found that Ashwagandha puts me in just the right state of consciousness to be sleepy, but awake enough within those sleep cycles to dream like nobody’s business.

Another favorite way to make Ashwaghanda tea is to put 500 mg of dried root powder in 1 cup of steamed soy milk.  This beverage has a not unpleasant licorice-like taste.  It can also be sweetened with honey or agave nectar for a more pleasant taste.  I prefer to freshly grind the root powder myself, just like grinding coffee beans, but I’ve found that pre-powdered root powder works as well.