Cloudherb (Tagetes lucida), also known as Mexican dragon and yauhtli. It has its origins in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico. The plant produces yellow-orange flowers.
The indigenous people of Mexico and Central America have been using this plant for centuries. The Huichol use it during rituals by smoking the herb and processing it into tea. In this way they create visions. The Huicol Indians smoke the ground powder (called yahutl) in long, thin pipes made of clay. This is mixed together with strong tobacco, or smoked pure.
The Aztecs ground the herb into powder and blew it into the faces of their victims. According to the ritual this would make them sleepy, before their hearts were cut out of their bodies and they were burned in honor of the fire god, Huehueteotl.
In present-day Mexico, Tagetes lucida is still used for ritual purposes. Traditionally, the herb is burned at the Fiesta Del Perion, to honor Saint St Michael and expel evil spirits.
The light psychoactive effect of Tagetes lucida is especially evident when you close your eyes. It can also be made into a tea to help calm the stomach, for general relaxation and to improve the day after heavy alcohol consumption. It is also used in various parts of the world in the kitchen as a flavouring reminiscent of aniseed.
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