Calea zacatechichi – Dream Herb (seed)
Calea zacatechichi is a perennial Asteraceae shrub native to Central America. It has been reported that the Chontal Indians of Oaxaca make a tea from the dried leaves of this shrub for their effect of producing vivid dreams which are easily recalled upon waking. The Chontal medicine men believe it clarifies the senses and call the plant ‘leaf of god’. Teas of this plant are regarded as being extremely bitter. Alcoholic tinctures appear to be an easier method of consumption.
Care and Cultivation
Calea zacatechichi seeds can be sown just under the surface of a free draining mix in full sun. Seeds should germinate in 1-3 weeks. Keep moist until germination. We find very hot and humid conditions conducive to germination. We will be trialling the Takeaway Tek with this species.
Perennial to 2 metres high and wide with pleasant smelling flowers in spring. Likes a full sun to part shade position with adequate moisture. More tolerant of dry conditions once established. Likes a regular feed. Trim after flowering to keep compact.
75+ seeds per packet
The following information is taken from:
Study on Calea zacatechichi. L. Mayagoitia , Jose-Luis Diaz, & Carlos M. Contreras. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 18 (1986) 229-243. Eleavier Scientific Publishers Ireland Ltd.
Significantly more dreams (P < 001, in comparison to placebo) were reported after the methanol extract. Similarly, the number of dreams reported during naps was significantly higher following the administration of the plant extracts than with diazepam (P < 0.01). It can be appreciated that, although not significant, the number of dreams reported was greater after the ingestion of Calea extracts than placebo. The number of subjects that did not remember dreaming was always greater after placebo and diazepam administration and conversely, the individuals that reported more than one dream per session were always the ones treated with zacatechichi extracts. The dreams reported by subjects ingesting Calea extracts, were of a shorter content (measured by the number of lines written in the report). Spontaneous reports of emotions and nightmares were not different among the four treatments. Nevertheless, with the methanol extract more colors during dreaming were mentioned.
These results show that zacatechichi administration appears to enhance the number and/or recollection of dreams during sleeping periods. The data are in agreement with the oneirogenic reputation of the plant among the Chontal Indians but stand in apparent contradiction to the EEG sleep- study results. It is well known that dreaming activity is correlated to the REM or paradoxical phase of sleep (Aserinsky and Kleitman, 1953) and it could be expected that a compound that increases dream would also increase REM stage frequency or duration, as it has been shown to occur with physostigmine (Sitaram et al., 1978). In contrast, zacatechichi increases the stages of slow wave sleep and apparently decreases REM sleep. This also occurs with low doses 12-10 mg) of diazepam (Harvey, 1982). Despite this similarity in EEG effects, diazepam decreases dreaming reports (Firth, 1974) while zacatechichi extracts enhances them. Such discrepancy may be explained by the fact that dreaming and imagery are not restricted to the REM episodes but also occur during slow wave sleep (SWS I and II) as lively hypnagogic images (Roffwarg et al., 1962). Such images are reported as brief dreams and are known to be enhanced by marihuana (Hollister, 1971). All this suggests that Calea zacatechichi induces episodes of lively hypnagogic imagery during SWS stage I of sleep, a psychophysiological effect that would be the basis of the ethnobotanical use of the plant as an oneirogenic and oneiromantic agent.