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Trip Report: Lively dreaming with Calea zacatechichi
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In this blog item Sleeping problems: first aidDo you also have a sleep ritual?Dream Herb: Trip ReportWhat is Calea zacatechichi?

Trip Report: Lively dreaming with Calea zacatechichi

Dreamherb, or Calea zacatechichi, is a plant used by Aztec shamans from Mexico to help them navigate the dream world. This plant has only recently caught my interest. I have to admit that I 'didn't dream' for a long time and, strangely enough, was not interested in it either.

When I heard a friend tell me about his 'just real' experience, complete with chases and beautiful girls, I could hardly imagine it. In this blog I write about the adventures I got thanks to this mysterious Mexican dream herb.

Sleeping problems: first aid

For a while, I didn't really care about dreams. I had been happy for a long time when I fell asleep quickly and didn't wake up more than once. Because I was a waitress in a bar and worked evening shifts, my sleep rhythm was completely confused. On weekends and sometimes a few days during the week, I heard the birds whistle and saw the morning light illuminating my way as I cycled home. I was dead tired, but also full of adrenaline from the busy nightlife. I've never been a night bird either, and my whole system begged me to do things differently. When I finally lay in my bed, I couldn't find the peace and quiet to fall asleep. Often I lay asleep for a few hours in a half-sleep state and was awakened by the slightest weather. When I got up in the middle of the day and went for breakfast, I felt anything but rested. As you may know, we go through different stages during our sleep. People who have a disturbed sleep rhythm no longer follow this sleeping pattern, which can drastically change their sleep.

Poor sleep and crossing out nights clearly had a major impact on my state of mind. I was much more easily irritated and sad, for the smallest things I could already burst into tears. Also my memory was lost, I forgot my keys, an appointment, my phone number, you name it. Physically I was also severely weakened, short of breath and quickly dizzy. All strong indicators that a lack of sleep has disastrous consequences for your health. Because I listened to my body, I took steps to change this. Right now I can speak of a healthy sleep rhythm. I don't do evening shifts anymore. It took my body a long time to recover from this confused state. It took some time before I managed to lie in bed around 10 p.m. with the feeling that I could fall asleep. To give me extra support I used CBD oil for a while. I took this every night, in a high dosage (15 drops of Cibiday Terps Oil Night). Now my evening consists of a fixed ritual, and this helps me enormously to calm down.

Do you also have a sleep ritual?

For me it is very important that I have eaten a healthy and filling meal in the evening. Going to sleep with a grunting stomach is impossible for me. If I'm still a bit hungry, for example, I eat a small piece of dark chocolate. Note: for some people this works like a nightcap, for others it can give energy again which makes sleeping more difficult. So always eat only a small piece.

I drink a cup of sleeping tea every night. Through time I have become a real tea nut, it is so healthy and tasty and soothing!
Calea zacatechichi is not exactly an herb you want to make tea from every night. When I think back to the taste I almost have to gag. For a relaxing tea I drink for example CBD Hemp Tea Good Night.

Dream Herb: Trip Report

Now that I regularly (usually then) go to sleep at 10 p.m. and get up early again, it happens more often that I can remember a part of a dream. Although I don't possess the quality of remembering and after telling, which some dream telling friends have of me, I still regularly remember a few details of my dream (it took place near the sea, there were a lot of people together). For a while there was a Dream Diary next to my bed in which I diligently wrote down the fragments of my dreams. This is a tip for forgetful dreamers: remember yourself as much as possible and note down everything you remember in the morning. When you fall asleep with this intention, it seems that your mind is making an extra effort and can tell you in broad lines what happened to you that night. I decided to raise the quality of my dreams even more by trying Calea zacatechichi. 

Zacatechichi in the language of the Aztecs means 'bitter grass'. Soon I found out that this is indeed the case. I put water on the fire, took a big spoonful of Dreamherb and divided it over two mugs. I also added some freshly picked oregano. In my ignorance I thought that was a good idea, to add an extra dimension to the taste. I also took a large spoonful of honey to stir through the tea. Pure waste, as it turned out: at my first sip my facial muscles contracted into a grimace of pure disgust. My friend spit everything back into his teacup and concluded that he didn't necessarily need to have interesting dreams tonight. You hear: Dreamherb is not for wimps. So I didn't taste anything of the added honey and oregano. It was as if the dark liquid in my mug didn't want to disappear. When I was about halfway there, I started to get nauseous. For a moment I had to think of my Ayahuasca experience, also there the drink had an unprecedented intense taste. If I have to compare the two I think Calea zacatechichi is the crowning glory. When I finally swallowed the last drop, all I could do was sit dead still on my bed. One wrong move and everything would come out again. 

Then something strange happened: my sight started to get a bit cloudy, sounds seemed to muffle more and more and my thoughts were winding in inimitable directions. Although it was still a bit early and I was actually still planning on reading or chatting, I must have crawled under the blanket and fallen asleep. Indeed, I ended up in the dream world that left me with bright images. 

In my dream I had been ordered to take care of a dragon. I discussed this dangerous task with a woman, a kind of witch it seemed, who had more information about this mythical creature. She told me that the dragon often flew over the mountain tops and ate sheep. My task was to 'tame' the dragon. 

How I finally tried this and if I succeeded I forgot. There is something left of a cigarette that I had to roll and give to the dragon to calm him down... Anyway, I woke up with an unprecedented feeling of having experienced something magical and according to my friend I looked like a very enthusiastic child when I told about my adventures.

What is Calea zacatechichi?

Calea zacatechichi is related to the sunflower. Originally it grows in Central America, mainly Mexico and Costa Rica. The plant comes from Mexico and has a long history of use here. The Chontal Indians from Oaxaca, for example, saw this plant as a hallucinogen that could help them to dream more intensely and to come into contact with gods. This Indian tribe consists of so-called 'dream walkers', who enter into this mysterious subconscious dimension, from which they learn lessons that take them to the waking state. The art of inducing dreams by means of psychoactive plants is also called oneiromancy. Except for this application, the plant was also used medicinally by the indigenous people. It was used for stomach complaints, diarrhoea, fever and asthma. Although more research is needed and science does not yet understand the full effectiveness of the plant, some results have emerged that indicate that the plant can indeed help with intestinal problems. Studies on the activity of the plant as a hallucinogen are also available, although to a limited extent.

The effect of the active substances remains largely unknown to date. It is suspected that its action is mainly due to the sesquiterpene lactones kaleicin and kalechromene. In 1986 a double-blind study with placebo control was conducted. The group was divided into participants who received Calea zacatechichi, participants who received the placebo and participants who received Diazepam. The first group clearly reported more intense and vivid dreams. (Source: Psychopharmacologic analysis of an alleged oneirogenic plant: Calea zacatechichi. Mayagoitia L, Díaz JL, Contreras CM. J Ethnopharmacol. 1986 Dec;18(3):229-43.)


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