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Calea zacatechichi

(Bitter Grass, Dream Tea)


Calea is a shrub native to Mexico but also cultivated elsewhere. It is used by a tribe called the Chontal to induce dreams that are considered prophetic, and as a remedy for gastrointestinal infections such as dysentery and as a fever treatment.

In the West, the dried leaves and young stems are taken as a well-boiled ‘tea’ or smoked with tobacco by those of an experimental disposition wishing to try to use dreams to provide solutions to personal dilemmas or problems.
The tea made from the dried plant is extremely unpalatable and the crushed dried material is also sometimes packed into gelatin capsules to avoid the taste.

Users often report an immediate increase in dream recall and frequently experience ‘lucid’ dreams where the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming, and may be able to control parts of the dream at will. Whether the dreams experienced have any meaning beyond providing possible access to subconscious processes is open to question, but a small minority of longer-term users report an increasing clarity and coherence to sequences of dreams which is sometimes described as experiencing an ongoing alternate reality.

It should be noted that increased dream recall and frequency of lucid dreaming may continue after cessation of use, indicating that some semi-permanent (or permanent) changes in brain function can occur. Whether such changes are physiological or functional is not known at present.
Other than this, no serious toxicity has been noted by users, although some nausea can follow immediately after consumption. Smoking the herb with tobacco will incur the usual dangers of smoking tobacco.

At present, cultivation and consumption of  C. zacatechichi is legal in most countries and states except in Louisiana, USA.



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