The Magic of the Dream Herb Part 1

Calea Zacatechichi is known to Mexican natives as the dream herb. Traditionally, it was used to inspire lucid dreaming, improve the ability to remember dreams, aid in dream divination, and to bring on deeper sleep and help with mild cases of insomnia. It has also traditionally been used to help digestion, asthma, and a variety of infections.

New York City is a tough town for getting sleep, filled with noise and distraction. And paying rent in this town is a never-ending source of digestive problems. And poor sleep habits combined with poor digestion tends to lead to occasional infections.

Needless to say, when I discovered this herb, I was deeply curious.

For the first week, I made a pot of Calea Zacatechichi tea. It was incredibly bitter and I had a hard time forcing myself to drink it, so I reduced it into shot glass strength and took a nightly shot for five nights in a row.

I am a natural lucid dreamer, so I wasn’t looking for lucid dreaming magic — just deeper sleep and a steadier tummy.

The dream herb delivered on both counts, but it was so mild that my wife and cat still had no problem waking me periodically through the night, though my digestion improved dramatically.

I took a weekend break from the dream herb and then I added it to my post-workout evening cannabis routine. Because cannabis is terrific for reducing inflammation (in the joints and muscles from working out), I typically use it after boxing classes.

Calea Zacatechichi smoke is funky and a little bitter, but not unbearably so and certainly not harsh or in any way cough-inducing. Something about smoking it (likely the immediacy of smoke putting chemicals into the bloodstream) added a subtle psychedelic effect (unlike any other I’ve experienced) to the cannabis feeling and a thick sleepiness crept in about fifteen minutes later. Each night, right before bed, I smoked a little more of the dream herb and went to sleep.

Sleeping after smoking inspired slightly more intense dreams than usual and I remembered many of them in more detail than usual. Something about the herb also made my choices in the dreams a bit more meaningful. For example, in one dream, I was a passenger on a bus with no chairs and transparent walls. Everyone was on the floor with blankets and pillows. Unlike most dreams, which are more flow-y, I carefully considered where I wanted to lay down, who I wanted to talk to, and which direction I wanted to look out at.

After a week of adding the dream herb to my sleep ritual, I found that I didn’t wake up very often in the middle of the night and was able to slide right back into sleep — usually continuing the same dream — after something woke me. I felt heavy and drowsy in the morning, but I also found that my breathing was improved and that gave me a boost throughout the day and even made my workouts better. And my bathroom visits were better, too.

On top of the immediately tangible benefits, I noticed that my ideas flowed more easily and I filled up my notebook with more and better brainstorming than usual.

I haven’t yet tried drinking the tea and smoking the herb in conjunction yet. I guess that’ll make for Part 2. I don’t like taking anything all the time, so I’m giving myself a small break. Part 3 will be part of an upcoming series on microdosing. Looking forward to that!

To summarize about Calea Zacatechichi:

  • It’s safe and legal (though I would check to make sure you’re not allergic before diving in by placing a leaf under your tongue for 15 mins or so)
  • It’s a gentle psychedelic that affects dreams
  • It has medicinal qualities that can improve digestion and breathing
  • It has a reputation for causing wild lucid dreams (I wouldn’t know, but it did make my dreams more interesting and I remembered them better)
  • It lubricates the idea machine
  • It tastes bitter!!!
  • The net effect is an overall improvement in performance, though you may feel groggy in the morning

I got mine from Bouncing Bear Botanicals and I can vouch for them as a safe source.

Obligatory legal note: I am not dispensing medical advice or advocating the use of anything untested by the FDA; just sharing my own experience. Follow in my footsteps at your own risk. Etc.