There was a question asked in one of the Facebook groups I participate in if there are any dream supplements or herbs that enhance lucid dreams and AP. I don’t know about AP, but there are plenty of plants that enhance (lucid) dreaming and which I have tried out myself:
– Calea zacatechichi (also called “dream herb”) – should be used as tea or rolled up and smoked before bedtime and is supposed to increase dream vividness and the possibility of becoming aware within a dream (for some people). It’s extremely bitter which is why I find it extremely difficult to digest, besides that it never worked for me either as tea or rolled and smoked. I experimented with it a little and tried filling the herb into capsules and taking around 1 g per try (4x 250 mg per capsule) before going to bed which showed to be a completely different story – I became aware within a dream each time I took it this way. But I only took it like that a couple of times so it’s hard to say whether it’s actually because of the plant or merely a placebo. I also made Calea tincture, but I didn’t try that one out yet.
– Silene capensis (also known as “African dream root”) – a root that is “traditionally” used by powdering and mixing with water which creates foam that you are supposed to ingest in the morning to increase dream recall and dream vividness. Another way of ingesting is to simply chew 250-500 mg of the root before going to bed. I tried both ways but never had any luck with it. There is also the third way – preparing a coup of tea by boiling the root, but I didn’t give that one a try yet.
– Nymphaea caerulea (“Sacred blue lily”) – it is suggested to drink tea made from leafs and flowers and/or smoking the flowers before going to bed which creates a “dream-like” feeling before sleep and increases dream vividness and dream recall. Unfortunately I couldn’t get my hands on leafs and flowers so I can’t say whether or not it works but I did try Nmphaea tincture which did in fact slightly alter my perception before sleep, yet didn’t have any significant effect on dreaming itself. Maybe I just didn’t take enough (I usually only took 6-8 drops which could be insufficient).
– Lycoris radiata (“Red spider lily”) – the plant itself is HIGHLY POISONOUS but scientists research its extract (galantamine) due to its effects in treating Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairments. They also found out that galantamine has an interesting side effect – it causes very intense, very vivid dreams and great dream recall and also enables one to become aware within a dream. I tried the extract (never did it myself because you need a real chemical laboratory to extract it from the plant and besides I’m not all that interested in chemistry 🙂 ; instead, I just ordered it via internet – search “lucid dreaming pills” and “galantamine” or get it here or here) and it enabled me to become lucid practically every time I used it. But keep in mind that the dreams actually are very vivid and can be rather morbid / unpleasant (especially if used in combination with other enhancers).
These are the more “exotic” ones, but there are others, of course – for example mugwort, chamomile, hop flowers, valerian, lemon balm, mint, lavender (also goatweed / St. John’s wort, but this one is toxic if taken in high doses so be very careful),… They can all be used either as tea or tinctures and they promote sleep and/or increase dream vividness and dream recall. I didn’t try them all yet (still waiting for the tinctures to be ready 🙂 ), but I’m currently using lemon balm tincture before bedtime and it knocks me off in 15-20 minutes. 😀
If you take a look at the “pharmacological side” of dream enhancers, first one to come across is Melatonin (a hormone, released by the pineal gland which helps us fall asleep). If taken as a dream enhancer it prolongs the REM phase in the morning hours when its effect subsides and increases the probability of becoming aware within a dream (especially if combined with other enhancers, i.e. galantamine). If you’re interested in that kind of supplements, you can also try Alpha-GPC, L-theanine, Piracetam (or other nootropic drug for that mater) or Yohimbine (use this one in small amounts only due to numerous possible side effects!). REMEMBER! WHENEVER USING ANY OF THE “CHEMICAL” (OR PLANT-BASED) ENHANCERS, DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST! THERE IS PLENTY OF INFORMATION ABOUT THEM (AND ESPECIALLY ABOUT THEIR POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS) AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET SO MAKE SURE TO FIND OUT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE DOING BEFORE GETTING INTO IT! I tried all of those (“chemical” ones especially and also most of the “natural” ones as well) with practically no side effects but that doesn’t mean that these “chemicals” and mind-altering drugs will have the same effect on everybody else as well. There is a book called “Advanced Lucid Dreaming – The Power of Supplements” by Thomas Yuschak which is a great way to start but as I said – do your research first before getting into any of it!
That said, the best way to increase your chances of becoming aware within a dream is to practice your dream recall by keeping a dream journal, developing your dreaming attention, meditating and being attentive to what happens around you in your waking life. 🙂 But hey, the choice is always yours… 😉