Herbs for dreams and sleep
For centuries the medicinal and curative powers of herbs have been understood, and their use for sleep and relaxation is widespread. You may have had a chamomile tea to help relax before bed, or used lavender in the bath to help you unwind, but there is much more to the use of herbs for dreams and sleep than you may have realised. Herbs can actually influence the quality and content of your dreams.
There are many ways to use herbs for dreams and sleep aids: as teas to drink, inhaled as an essential oil in the bath or infuser, or dried in a “dream pillow” placed nearby when you sleep.
You can use a wide variety of herbs to help you relax and get to sleep, and many of these herbs will also help create more pleasant dreams as you will feel less tension and anxiety. Herbs for this purpose include chamomile and lavender, as mentioned above, but also valerian, passionflower, hops and lemon balm.
If bad dreams or nightmares are a problem, herbs that may help keep them away include angelica, anise, hyssop, rosemary, thyme and burdock.
Spearmint and peppermint can help make dreams more vivid. Gingko Biloba can improve brain function and also sharpen the dreaming mind. Mimosa may make dreams more colourful.
You may have had a chamomile tea to help relax before bed, or used lavender in the bath to help you unwind, but there is much more to the use of herbs for dreams and sleep than you may have realised.
Mugwort is a powerful herb believed to help lucid dreams, and to make dreams more vivid. If you struggle with remembering your dreams, mugwort can be helpful with dream recall. If you already have vivid dreams that you recall easily, be careful with mugwort as you may find it overstimulating and have lots of active dreams that leave you feeling exhausted when you wake! Mugwort is a great ingredient to add to dream pillows to enhance the effect of other herbs.
Other herbs that may be helpful for inducing lucid dreams include valarian, sarsaparilla, lemongrass and the Aztec “Dream Herb,” calea zacatechichi (available online and from speciality herb stores.)
Many herbs can have a more direct influence on what you actually dream about. Rose and rose petals are good for adding a sense of love and gentle romantic quality to dreams, while jasmine is good for romance and more erotic dreams for women. Cinnamon may have a similar effect for men.
Lemongrass and cloves can add a sense of the exotic to your dreams, but only need to be used sparingly.
Sage may enhance healing dreams.
Fir needles and pine can help your dream have a sense of the outdoors.
Catnip and clover may assist in dreaming of your animal spirit guide.
Some herbs have also been used traditionally to help induce prophetic dreams. If you would like to try and induce a dream of this nature vervain, clary sage, heliotrope and bay may prove useful. But be cautious, as dreams are complex and subtle, so knowing whether you really did dream about a future event can be extremely difficult to judge.
Some herbs, particularly as oils, may be too strong for dream pillows or should not be injested, and may cause unpleasant effects in your dreams or create a headache on waking. As with any medicine or aromatherapy, if you find that herbs are having a negative effect on you, stop using them immediately.
The Dream Well offers a course on Sacred Dream Initiation which covers Shamanic dreaming, lucid dreaming, the use of herbs for dreaming and much more. Contact Amy at The Dream Well for more information.
Read this article to learn more about dream meanings.
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