The latest trend in lucid dreaming is the prescribed use of supplements to increase dream recall and trigger more dreams where you become aware you are dreaming. These supplements, which include herbs, enzymes and Flintstone vitamins, can greatly increase your chance to go lucid.
But they will not do the trick alone.
In a nutshell, these supplements are worthless if not taken with the right mindset, as well as more traditional forms of lucid dreaming induction.
At best, a supplement taken without mental preparation will increase the chances for a beginner lucid dreamer to be jolted into lucidity – but the lucid dream scene that emerges may be difficult to handle due to the beginner’s own inexperience with juggling the rawness of lucidity.
However, taken with intention, respect, and as part of an ongoing mind-training program, these supplements may enhance the opportunities to work with self-awareness in the dream.
OK, that said, lucid dreaming supplements can make your mind go pow.
Here is a break-down of the most effective lucid dreaming supplements, also known as oneirogens.
Calea zacatechichi: Known as “the dream herb,” Calea Z. is from Oaxaca, Mexico and has been used for centuries by Chontal shaman/dreamers as a cure-all and a “voyaging” aid.
The scientific studies on Calea Zacatechichi suggests that it heightens the vividness of imagery in hypnagogia and the non-REM periods. Ingestion of the plant may also temporarily decrease deep slow-wave sleep and REM periods.
Lucid hypnagogic dreams may be experienced in these non-REM states, but because the herb also increases micro-awakenings and disturbs sleep, there are more chances to promote lucid dreaming from sleep onset. This can then create a REM rebound effect leading to more vivid and memorable dreams in the morning as well.
Or—pro tip—you could take Calea in capsule form. This gets around the bitterness issue and also ensures you take a specific amount.
Mugwort: This gentle herb in the sage family (Artemisia vulgaris) is used to help remember dreams. It has a gentle aromatic effect. It has a long European history of use also as a midwife’s herb due to its ability to stimulate blood circulation; in ancient Greece it was associated with the power of the moon. Traditionally mugwort is enjoyed as a tea and an incense.
Silene Capsensis: This root from South Africa has considerable anthropological evidence as a lucid dream aid, but its active compounds have not been discovered yet. Historically, Silene Capensis has been used by the Xhosa people during initiation rites. Women initiates take the root, and then report their dreams to diviners. In the West, it has had a mixed reputation, with many reporting no effects whatsoever.
Choline: This is an amino acid that also promotes acetylcholine, therefore enhancing the expression of REM sleep. It’s cheaply found as a Lecithin supplement, but is also present in some common foods such as bananas, onions, soybeans, potatoes and plantains. Choline is believed to elongate dreams, as well as help with remembering them. Many people have found that choline and galanthamine taken together are a solid cocktail for promoting lucid dreaming.
Galantamine: This has become known as the “lucid dreaming pill.” Galantamine is an alkaloid synthesized from a couple plants, including the red spider lily and common daffodil bulbs. The natural compound has been used for centuries in Europe; its memory-enhancing properties are hinted at in Homer’s Odyssey.
It appears to increase lucidity by promoting an important neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Galathamine is also being tested to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Stephen LaBerge is also testing galanthamine on seasoned lucid dreamers, and his initial reports are very positive.
Read my in-depth review of galantamine for lucid dreaming here.
Other brain supplements: In general, many report increased lucid dreams by loading up on amino acids (like choline) and vitamins before bed. Some safe ones, as long as the dosage is controlled for, are arginine, ornithine, phenylalanine, and the B vitamins. All of these, as well as your average multi-vitamin, may also enhance dreams though the work of antioxidants and by providing the raw material for neurotransmitters associated with the waking/sleep cycle.