A few years ago, I was browsing around one of my local herb shops and noticed something I’d never seen before.
I saw a big glass jar full of brown roots high up on one of the shelves.
The label on the jar read:
African Dream Root
“Huh…” I thought to myself.
I’d never heard of this root before.
And as an active dreamer, I was always on the lookout for new plants that could help enhance my dream life.
I asked the clerk in the store about it, but he didn’t know much about it.
All he said was that their customers use it to have vivid and lucid dreams.
I was immediately intrigued and decided to learn as much as I possibly could about this herb.
Now, I am excited to share everything I’ve learned about African Dream Root with you in this in-depth blog post.
In this article, you’ll learn about:
- The History of African Dream Root
- The Different Names of African Dream Root
- The Effects of African Dream Root
- How To Prepare African Dream Root
- And More!
Ready to dive in? Let’s start at the beginning.
What Is African Dream Root?
If you’ve never heard of African Dream Root before, know that you’re not alone. I had never heard of it before I encountered it in my local herb shop.
This powerful dream herb is essentially unknown in the west. You won’t see it stocked on the shelves of your local supermarket or in the ingredient list of your favorite sleepytime tea blend.
In fact, you’d be lucky at all if you were able to find a local source for this plant.
However, simply because African Dream Root is not easy to find doesn’t mean it’s not worth searching for. On the contrary, this dream root has the power to entirely transform your dream life.
African Dream Root – also known as Xhosa Dream Root – is a plant that’s native to the eastern cape of South Africa. It’s use by the Xhosa People spans back thousands of years. Traditionally, it has been used in ritual settings by healers, shamans, and diviners.
Side Note: In case you’re wondering how to pronounce Xhosa, you say it with a soft “K” – as in, Koh-suh. For a long time I mispronounced it with a Z – saying Zoh-suh.
A Closer Look At The Xhosa Dream Root
This powerful root belongs to the Silene genus of flowering plants. It is known by two botanical names: either Silene undulata or Silene capensis. This plant grows beautiful white flowers with an aromatic fragrance similar to jasmine, cloves, and even bananas.
While African Dream Root does grow both leaves and flowers, it’s the roots that are used to produce its dream enhancing effects.
The Xhosa People hold Silene capensis in high regard. They consider it a sacred plant and use the root in religious, initiatory, and other ritual settings. The Xhosa word for this African Dream Herb is iindlela zimhlophe. This loosely translates to “white ways” or “white path” and speaks to the root’s effects. When consumed, Xhosa Dream Root can induce vivid, lucid, and even prophetic dreams.
As an interesting side note, I think it is worth mentioning that Nelson Mandela was a member of the Xhosa Tribe. In fact, he’s perhaps the most well-known member of this people group. What’s also interesting is the fact that Marvel used the Xhosa language to inspire the language spoken in Black Panther’s Wakanda.
How about that? You learned something new today! Though we still don’t know if Nelson Mandela ever participated in a Xhosa Dream Root ceremony…
Anyways, let’s get back to the point of this article.
The Different Names Of African Dream Root
So far in this article we’ve covered a few of the different names of African Dream Root. I think it will be helpful for you to have them all spelled out here for your future reference. Here’s a look at all the different names of African Dream Root I’ve discovered in my research:
If you know of any other names for this dream root, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them to this article.
The History Of African Dream Root
When it comes to the history of the African or Xhosa Dream Root, I owe a great deal of gratitude to the South African ethnobotanist Jean-Francois Sobiecki. His article on the psychoactive spiritual medicines of the Southern Bantu Diviners is the most comprehensive resource I’ve found on the traditional and practical uses of Xhosa Dream Root.
One of the first things that needs to be considered is why is plays such a crucial role in the culture of the Xhosa people. The reason for this is because the Xhosa people place a great deal of importance on dreams. They view them as a way to connect with the ancestor spirits of their culture.
Traditionally, African Dream Root is used in the preparation of an ubulawu. For lack of a better term, an ubulawu is a psychoactive spiritual medicine made up of a number of psychotropic plants. Ubulawus are used in traditional healing and initiatory settings to help expand someone’s consciousness and connect them with a world beyond our ordinary reality.
Here’s a section from Sobiecki’s abstract that clarifies this point:
“Findings reveal that there is widespread reliance on ubulawu as psychoactive spiritual medicines by the indigenous people of southern Africa to communicate with their ancestral spirits—so as to bring luck, and to treat mental disturbances. In the case of the Southern Bantu diviners, ubulawu used in a ritual initiation process acts as a mnemonic aid and medicine to familiarize the initiates with enhanced states of awareness and related psychospiritual phenomena such as enhanced intuition and dreams of the ancestral spirits, who teach the initiates how to find and use medicinal plants.”
While Xhosa Dream Root is traditionally used in the creation of these psychoactive spiritual medicines, it does have a great power when consumed on its own. I wish I had more information to share with you about this incredible dream root, but the fact of the matter is that there is very little reliable and accessible information about it. As I discover more about this root, I will update this post with new information.
The Effects Of African Dream Root
Now that you have an overview of African Dream Root, let’s talk about the fun stuff: its effects.
It should be no surprise to you at all that the Xhosa Dream Root helps people have incredibly vivid, lucid, and even prophetic dreams. It is especially useful for those who want to kickstart their dream lives.
If you’re someone who has trouble remembering your dreams – or think you might not dream at all – working with African Dream Root could be a great way for you to start having some bright, vivid, and hopefully memorable dreams.
In my personal experience with this dream root, I’ve found that my dream life has become more colorful, story-driven, and meaningful. I’ve experimented with taking this root during the daytime as well as right before bed. In both cases, I’ve found that it does not have a stimulating effect and I’m able to fall asleep quickly.
In fact, it’s effects during waking life are essential unnoticeable. It is a very subtle herb that only shows its true form during sleep. Don’t be surprised if you feel nothing at all after taking this herb while you are awake. There is no “high” or feeling of an altered state of consciousness when taken during the day.
However, when you do fall asleep, prepare yourself for a night of interesting and vivid dreams!
For me, it is hard to speak to the prophetic nature of Xhosa Dream Root since I taking it outside of the ritual context. I believe that part of the power of this herb lies in the traditional preparation and consumption rituals. Combined with the guidance of a skilled healer or shaman, I do believe that achieving prophetic dreams is possible.
I have personally experienced prophetic dreams throughout my life. However, none of them have come directly from my experience with this African Dream Root.
I will note that in my own experience – as well as from the experience of many others – African Dream Root works best to enhance your dreams when you take it consistently over time. Don’t be surprised if your dream life doesn’t instantly improve the first day you try this root. It needs time to integrate with your body, mind, and spirit in order to help you have better dreams.
As with all plant medicines and teachers, you should approach this root with reverence and respect. All plants have their own intelligences and spirits. It would serve you well to develop a relationship with this plant and ask it to help you achieve your goals in the dream world.
How To Consume African Dream Root
By now you’re probably wondering how to consume this incredible dream root. While it may seem logical to simply order some of the roots and make it into a tea… the traditional way to prepare this herb does require some special preparation.
Don’t worry, you can easily prepare this root and consume it in the traditional way with things you probably have lying around your kitchen. In fact, all you’ll need to prepare your dream elixir is the following items:
- African Dream Root
- A mortar and pestle OR a coffee grinder
- A small jar with a lid (something like an empty, clean jam jar would be perfect)
- Clean spring, filtered, or distilled water
Here’s the traditional way to prepare and consume Xhosa Dream Root:
- Gather your African Dream Root and place it into a mortar and pestle.
- Use the mortar and pestle to grind the root into a fine powder
- If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, that’s ok. You can use a regular old coffee grinder to pulverize the root as well.
- Weigh out 250mg of the finely ground powder and add to an empty glass jar with a lid
- Fill the glass jar 75% full of pure spring water (you can also use filtered or distilled water as well) and tighten the lid on top.
- Shake the water and herb vigorously until a froth forms on the top
- Unscrew the lid, grab a spoon or a straw, and consume all of the froth that’s on top of the liquid.
- Repeat shaking the water and herb mix another 7-10 times and continue consuming the froth that forms on top of the mix
In case you’re wondering, you don’t drink the actual water with the dream root in it! What you really want to be doing is slurping the foam that forms at the top of the liquid.
But Why The Foam?
You may wonder why you consume the foam instead of liquid. To understand this, we need to get a bit “sciency” for a second. The reason that you want to consume the foam instead of the liquid is because African Dream Root contains psychoactive compounds called a saponins.
And here’s the thing about saponins:
When they are combined with water and shaken up, they become frothy. So, when you’re slurping the foam off the top of your dream root concoction, you’re essentially getting the dream enhancing saponins directly into your system.
I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely what I want!
African Dream Root Tea
If this process seems too tedious or labor intensive for you, you can also make a tea out of the roots. You would still want to grind up the roots into a fine powder to maximize the extraction of the dream-inducing saponins in the root. From there, you could simply pour boiling water over your powder and allow it to steep. For maximum effect, I’d recommend letting it simmer on low heat on the stove for as long as is convenient for you.
Silene Capensis Tincture
If neither of those options sound good to you, it is also possible to take African Dream Root as a tincture. Personally, I love tinctures because they are not only convenient, but when made correctly, they extract the full spectrum of the plant. This can create a really potent effect.
I have found some very high-quality Xhosa Dream Root tinctures on the market. However, you want to be very careful when buying tinctures because you need to be aware of how it was made. What sort of extraction process did the maker use? What kind of alcohol was used to make the tincture? Was the organic material used to create the tincture high-quality?
Because of this, I cannot simply recommend African Dream Root tinctures carte blanche. If you would like some more information about where to find high-quality tinctures, please leave me a comment below or send me an email. I’d be happy to connect you with some trustworthy sources.
There you have it!
I hope you have a much more expansive understanding of African Dream Root after reading this post. My hope is for you to discover natural herbs that can help you enhance your dream life. Dreams are such a powerful source of meaning in our lives. I’ve found that one of the quickest ways to transform our waking lives is to more deeply engage in the world of our dreams.
African Dream Root has been a trustworthy plant ally for me, and I hope it will be for you as well. If you have any questions or concerns after reading this post, please leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.