There are many supplements, both commercially available preparations and traditional herbs that enhance the ability to lucid dream, have vivid dreams, and have visitation dreams. I have tried many of them and continue to update this page with my experience reports. For ease of reference I have divided them up into two categories:
Commercially Available Ludid Dreaming Supplements
The best resource for information on commercially available supplements is Advanced Lucid Dreaming: The Power of Supplements by Thomas Yuschak. This resource gives dosage recommendations and instructions on use as well as what is known about how these substances affect dreaming from a scientific perspective. The book also explains how the neurotransmitters involved in sleep operate.
Galantamine is THE most talked about lucid dreaming supplement. I have had some seriously major lucid dreams using it (see The Lucid Dream Pill – Galantamine and How The Mind Works). It does not cause lucid dreams as much as it supports and prolongs the balance of neurotrasmitters in your brain to allow you to have longer and more vivid lucid dream experiences. Galantamine is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, which is a fancy way of saying it slows down the break down of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain. This neurotransmitter is at peak concentrations during REM sleep. Galantamine is also used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other related neurological disorders.
Galantamine should be taken during the night when longer REM stages of sleep will occur. Typically I take it around 3:00 – 4:00 AM. If taken before bed it can cause some very odd and unpleasant experiences for some people. Again I learned the “less is more” lesson with Galantamine – if I take a 4mg tablet, I get lots of dreams. If I take 8mg I get nothing! If you are going to use Galantamine more than infrequently, it is recommended that you take Piracetam in the morning to prevent building up a tolerance.
Concentrations of acetylcholine in the brain can also be increased by taking a choline suppliment. The formulation of Galantamine that I use contains choline, but you can also buy it separately if you want to take additional amounts of choline or try it by itself.
Alpha GPC (Choline)
I have used two forms of direct choline supplements – choline bitartrate which is present in the form of Galantamine I use, and Alpha GPC, which is derived from highly purified soy lecithin. Alpha GPC rapidly delivers choline to the brain across the blood-brain barrier and is a biosynthetic precursor of the acetylcholine neurotransmitter. Alpha GPC can be taken with Galantamine to further boost levels of choline in the brain.
Yohimbine is extracted from the bark of the Yohimbe tree. It is used as a weight loss supplement and a natural alternative to Viagra. To use it for dream enhancement purposes you need VERY small dosages, and I have not been able to find any tablet form of it with that small of a dose. I use Yohimbe Bark Extract, 1ml is 50mg so I use one drop! Too much Yohimbine will give you insomnia. It does seem to make it easier to use the WILD (wake induced lucid dream) method of lucid dream induction, where you go directly from waking consciousness to the dream state. It should be taken in the middle of the night like Galantamine (or with Galantamine). Sometimes when I use it I get a soundtrack of electronic music with the dream. The first time this happened I thought I’d fallen asleep with my earbuds in! Many of the liquid Yohimbe preparations available online do not seem to include the concentration or dosage. I found mine at Giant Eagle! I have also seen it at The Vitamin Shoppe.
L-Dopa (Mucuna Pruriens or Velvet Bean)
L-Dopa is best known for its use in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. It is also the miracle drug from the movie “Awakenings”. L-Dopa is a precursor for Dopamine, which is another neuotransmitter. Pharmaceutical grade L-Dopa is only available by prescription, but naturally occuring L-Dopa is found in the velvet bean (Mucuna Pruriens). It is available as a supplement in this form, DopaBean. L-Dopa doesn’t seem to bring on lucid dreaming as much as it brings on exciting and vivid dreams. I have not experimented with it much yet, but hope to do so soon.
5-HTP is sold as a mood enhancer, anti-depressant, sleep aid, and appetite suppressant. Also known as oxitriptan (INN), is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin from tryptophan. All of that is a fancy way of saying it increases the neurotransmitters that are present at the onset and during deep sleep. Taking 5-HTP at bedtime will tend to put you into more deep sleep with the suppression of REM at the beginning of the night, leading to a phenomena known as REM rebound in the early hours of the morning. This means long REM periods for dreaming! An added bonus is it helps you fall asleep at night. When using Galantamine and other supplements taken in the middle of the night it creates a more balanced night’s sleep. I have had geat dreams using it just by itself, as I sometimes don’t wake up or wake up to late to take Galantamine.
Piracetam is used to treat people with seizures, dementia, concussions, or other neurological problems. A two week regimen of piracetam was found to enhance verbal memory in healthy college students in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. It is sold as a supplement to enhance memory and learning. For dreaming purposes taking Piracetam after a lucid dreaming attempt with Galantamine will prevent building up a tolerance to Galantamine. Piracetam will inhibit lucid dreaming if taken in the evening.
Traditional Herbal Lucid Dreaming Supplements
- Calea Zacatechichi
- Dreamer’s Blend (Shaman’s Garden)
- African Dream Bean (Entada Rheedii)
- Kirkii (Uvuma Omhlope)
- Silene Capensis
- Celastrus Paniculata
- Dream Tea (Rose Mountain Herbs)
There are many places to buy traditional dreaming herbs on the internet. I buy from Shaman’s Garden. They don’t sell things they haven’t personally tested. But first – a word of warning about herbs. Many of the powerful medications we have today originate in plants. Edgar Cayce himself once said in a reading that there was a cure for every disease somewhere on Earth, and you can bet many of them are found in plants! That said, I don’t order herbs from sources I don’t trust and I do some research on them before I start ingesting them. They are not regulated by the FDA and are therefore a good example of the maxium, buyer beware. Warnings aside, I have had some very good results with some dreaming herbs.
Known as “Dreaming Herb” this plant is indigenous to Mexico and was used by the Chontal Indians to obtain divinatory messages through dreaming. Traditionally they drank a tea and smoked a cigarette made from the leaves before going to sleep. Everyone who tries this plant complains of the same thing – it is really, really bitter tasting. Given that I opted for the capsules. I tried it twice but unfortunately got insomnia. Since then I have read on Rebecca Turner’s site that they work better if you take them in the middle of the night (3:00AM or so) like Galantamine. I will definitely try this soon.
Also as an experiment, I recently had the opportunity to purchase a calea zacatechichi plant! From what I read it is very easy to grow. I spent two days inside a shipping box and yet arrived looking like it had just spend the summer on the porch. I am hoping it will grow well over the next year and yield enough spare leaves for me to attempt to make my own tea and/or capsules. Calea zacatechichi is one of the ingredients in Dreamer’s Blend (below), with which I have had some very positive results.
Dreamer’s Blend (Shaman’s Garden)
A blend of several dreaming herbs (Calea Zacatechichi, Blue Vervain, Wild Lettuce, and California Poppy are in the mix) the blend can be made into a tea or smoked. I tried making the tea but I have to warn you – it is kind of nasty and I found it even worse with sugar in it! My 12 year old son and I tested in on the winter solstice. I sprinkled a pinch of it onto the gas fireplace coals with the idea of using it as incense, and made a cup of tea from it for each of us. Yikes! Warning! It smells like weed! Unfortunately a lot of herbs smell like dope. This is also a problem if you use sage to smudge a haunted house before you try to sell it. Always be sure there is ample time for the smoke to clear before the real estate people show up.
Due to the taste my son only drank a couple swallows of the tea. I drank his cup of tea and mine. My son had the lucid dream! Go figure. I bought some gel capsules from the health food store and will try packing it the capsules and taking them at 3:00AM, as suggested with the Calea Zacatechichi capsules.
African Dream Bean
So far I have only had one trial but I think it is pretty amazing stuff! The plant is more or less a weed in Southern and Eastern Africa. The seeds grow in huge pods and are rather impervious. I can testify to that – they are not easy to get open. They are known to float in the ocean for years and wash up on beaches on both sides of the Atlantic – for this reason they are also known as “Sea Beans”. The plant will grow in the Southern United States. Interestingly, when they arrived I realized that I already had one! Many years ago I was given a necklace that belonged to Grandma Anderson, made from large seeds. Her brother – Uncle Lawrence – brought it as a gift during one of his trips to Florida. I realized the center pendant of the necklace is an African Dream Bean!
Some of the information on this herb says to smoke the leaves (not included with purchase) and some said to smoke the white stuff inside of it. I saw a rating on Shaman’s Garden that suggested eating the white stuff inside of it. Since I don’t smoke things I tried this route. I took approximately 1/3 of a dream bean at about 10:00PM and went to bed. Another review said they taste like macadamia nuts – don’t believe it! They taste like cat manure! I broke it into little pieces and swallowed them without chewing.I had a lot of dreams all night, many with spiritual content. My husband woke me up at 8:30AM to see if I was coming to breakfast. I mumbled something about seeing if I could get up and fell back asleep. I had a lucid dream where I was talking to my mother on the cell phone. When I woke up I went downstairs, and judging from the time Bill woke me up and the time I went downstairs, this conversation lasted a little over an hour! Given that I give the Dream Bean a full 5 STARS! Transitions can be intense – I almost feel like a need a seatbelt sometimes when I use this. I am also thinking of taking the dream bean at 3:00AM, rather than before bed, as it seems to act more like Galantamine.
One word of warning: as with many dream inducing suppliments, I have found that when using dream beans less is definitely more. I took a larger dose of dream bean recently and ended up with insomnia and a stomach ache. Start small and gradually increase the amount.
Kirkii (Uvuma Omhlope)
Also known as Uvuma-omhlope. According to Shaman’s Garden, Kirkii is used to help produce clear vision when entering into a trance. Another are the root infusions that are used in rituals to assist diviners to “see” in a metaphysical sense. And, one of of the places that Ubulawu is reportedly extremely useful for, is for helping with lucid dreaming. But, it’s not only used to help induce lucid dreams; it’s a multi-faceted tool to help one connect and communicate with one’s ancestral spirits by assisting in visionary and prophetic dreams that are often used to find answers to specific questions. It comes in a powdered form that can be added to other dreaming herbs to make tea. I had better success with it when I put into a gel capsule and took it before bed. That night I had a dream cell phone call from my father. I will definitely work more with this plant.
Per Shaman’s Garden: “Known as African Dream Root or Ubulawu, this Silene Capensis plant is reportedly more effective than the better known Calea zacatechichi. It has been used for countless years by a culture who believes ancestors are contacted through dreams, so they cultivate and seek out plants that enhance dreaming. It is suspected that this sacred plant’s oneirongenic, or dream-inducing activity is likely due to triterpenoid saponins contained within its roots. Relatively small amounts of root (250 mg range) are reported to be active. The plant exerts only minimal alterations in waking consciousness, yet the effects upon the dream state can be profound.”
There are two methods of preparation:
1) Half a teaspoon is mixed with half a cup of water. This is drunk early in the morning upon waking, while the stomach is empty. When you feel hungry it is safe to have breakfast.
2) A heaped tablespoon is mixed with 2 cups (1/2 liter) of water, and the water is blended until a froth is formed. Keep sucking the froth off the container until you feel “bloated” with froth, and then go to bed.
The plant comes as a fairly chunky dried root, so I processed it in a food processor to make it easier to mix in water. I plan to do a lucid induction trial with it soon, as I hate to waste it on mornings when I have to get up for work and therefore cannot sleep in and dream. I have read that it takes several days to build up in your system. Dream reports to come!
Celastrus is classified as a brain simulant, dream herb, and cognitive enhancer. If taken about an hour before bedtime it is said to be a lucid dreaming aid and increases dream recall. The active part of the plant is the oil in the seeds – this extract is part of a product called Cognihance that has been getting rave reviews. Celastrus has been demonstrated to improve learning and memory in both physical and mental paradigms.
Dosage is to chew 10-12 seeds, or steep 1 tsp of seeds in 4 cups of boiling hot water for 3 hours. The seeds are soft and should be easy to chew. I have not tried this yet but will have dream reports soon! More information can be found at the Celastrus Shop website.
Dream Tea (Rose Mountain Herbs)
I love this stuff! It contains: Organic Peppermint, organic Mugwort, organic Damiana leaf, organic Chamomile flower, organic Gotu Kola leaf, organic Rosemary, organic Rose petals and a pinch of organic Stevia. Overall the Chamomile flavor dominates and it is a wonderful, relaxing, before-bed kind of tea. It is a very good sleep aid and the mugwort improves dream recall. It tastes great! I have had better than average dreams when I drink it before bed and it also has a lovely side effect of making you have to pee in the early morning hours, which is the perfect timeto take your Galantamine and go back to sleep.