While many herbs have gained notoriety for their dream-enhancing properties, none other has become so ubiquitous with dream herbs as Calea Zacatechichi, otherwise known as the 'Mexican Dream Herb'. This innocuous herb is native to Mexico (obviously) as well as other areas in Central America.
The herb has been used for thousands of years as both a medicine as well as a divination tool.
When used in ritual, it is customary to drink the tea of the plant, while simultaneously smoking cigarettes. In addition, it is common to place the herbs under ones pillow while sleeping. The effects of calea zacatechichi are clear and unmistakable once you experience the depths to which this plant introduces you. Dreams vividly weave from dream to dream, while containing more complexity and depth than normally experienced. The increased vividness also makes it easier to become conscious within your dreams, otherwise known as lucid dreaming. Just taking a few hits of this plant from a bowl before bed has granted me access to some areas of the mind that I never assumed had existed. As for the medicinal use, the plant is utilized as an hebal remedy for dysentery and fever. The Zoque Popoluca people use this plant to treat diarrhea as well as asthma.
When talking about Calea Zacatechichi, it is unavoidable to bring up the extraordinary bitterness of these leaves. As a test, I chewed on one of the leaves to see exactly how much bitterness this plant offers. After I felt I was nearing the end of the string of bitterness, another wave of complex bitterness permeated my taste buds. I continued chewing until, to my dismay, I discovered that the bitterness never ending, not dissimilarly to a fractal.
Luckily, humans have found the perfect herbal pairing, which effectively neutralizes much of this complex bitterness. When brewing calea zacatechichi alongside "Osmanthus flowers", the bitterness is dramatically softened, due to the compatible scent profile of the flowers.
The chemistry of this plant is as interesting as it is elusive. As neuroscience has fundamentally failed to understand the underlying processes between dreams, it is no surprise that herbs that affect dreaming have continued to evade scientific understanding (as of yet). What we do know, however, is that the plant contains many flavones. Flavones are a type of flavonoid, which are basically secondary metabolites that are found in plants. Though we have isolated a few chemicals from its plant, we have little to no idea how it affects our dreams.
If you are looking to try any oneirogen (herbs that enhance dreaming) for the first time, then I suggest the quintessential Mexican Dream Herb as a great starting point.