Herbalogy ~ Three Wild Herbs for Lucid Dreaming

Do you remember what you dreamt about last night?  How about the night before?

For thousands of years, we humans have placed a ton of value on the content of these bedtime reveries, deriving inner wisdom and even premonitions from them. Dreaming feels like a birthright, an extra sense that allows us to process both rationally and spiritually while our body rests up.

They are one of behavioral science’s biggest mysteries, with no agreed-upon theory of their origin and specific purpose. For some, dreams occur nightly, but others never experience them at all.

One thing is for sure – many who don’t dream wish they did.

Since I was young, I’ve had them on a regular basis, but have always known there were deeper places to go in this state of consciousness.  The quest for many is to achieve the lucid dream, or “knowing we’re dreaming” inside the dream.

The lucid dreamers I know are able to navigate their dreamscape with an awakened mind, asking characters they come across pretty insightful questions about their spirit path. They can run, jump, and fly at will, gaining profound inner wisdom from the experience.

If you would like to dream more at night, and perhaps experience the magical lucid dream, there are three wild herbs that have been used throughout time to accomplish just that.

The herbs below are all 100% legal, and easy to get ahold of. However, please do your own research before trying any of them – herbs are medicine and they should be treated with proper caution.  These plants each have a variety of other medicinal uses, but we’re focusing solely on their dream-enhancing effects.

Wild Asparagus Root  Asparagus racemosus

wildasparagusrootThe Chinese word for wild asparagus root is Tian Men Dong – or heavenly spirit herb. For millennia, it’s been cherished by shamans, monks, and yogis for its heart-opening effects.

Also known as “The Flying Herb”, it’s believed that wild asparagus root helps one fly through the universe at night, achieving magnificent dreams. The wisdom schools of ancient China placed much
value on dream work, namely lucid dreaming.

In Chinese folk medicine, it is believed that this particular herb has a direct and positive effect on the heart energy, dissolving the dualities that come with our physical incarnation – black and white, left and right, inside and out. This allows our consciousness to blossom into infinite space while we sleep.

Preparation: the best way to use wild asparagus for this particular purpose, is to brew a tea of either the fresh or dried root.  Keep in mind that a tea from the freshroot will be much more potent.

Valerian Root Valeriana officinalis

valerianrootThis herb has been used in folk medicine for centuries as a calming aid, muscle relaxant, and to promote deep sleep.  Because lucid dreaming usually requires a heightened state of slumber, it has become a commonly reported side effect of valerian root.

Many also report that valerian greatly improves the ability to remember their dreams. Robert Monroe, a famed specialist in Out Of Body Experiences, once said “Most of us dream, and those who don’t simply are not remembering them.”

Imagine an herb that not only promotes deep states of sleep that are fertile ground for vivid dreams, but also boosts our ability to remember what happened the morning after.  Valerian might be just that.

Warning: Because there isn’t enough information available regarding its effects during pregnancy, women who are expecting are better off avoiding it altogether.

Keep in mind: If you already experience extreme dream states, you might think twice before trying valerian.  It can intensify your nocturnal adventures quite a bit – which is wonderful when you’re having a good dream, but not-so-great if you’re having a nightmare.

Preparation: Valerian is most commonly brewed in a tea, but be careful to use water that is hot, but not boiling, in order to preserve the delicate oils in the root. Some also prepare a tincture from the dried or fresh root (this can usually be found at health food stores).

Mugwort – Artemisia vulgaris

mugwort1Very common throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, mugwort has a rich history of use, both as a medicinal and metaphysical ally.  In the middle ages, it was known asCingulum Sancti Johannis, because Saint John the Baptist famously wore a belt of it whenever he traveled through the woods.  It is referenced often in Celtic and Norse mythology as a magical plant that can ward off evil, and was hung in doorways and burnt as incense to clear stagnant air and prevent illness.

Mugwort is known as “Molush” by the Chumash Indians of California, and its Paiute name translates literally to “Dream Plant”.  It’s often smoked in indigenous ceremonies, and interestingly, is also hailed by various tribes for its power to ward off evil, bad spirits, and disease.

Known for its dream-enhancing effects, many report that it magnifies the brilliance of color and overall duration of their mid-slumber journeys. On a personal note, I’ve had some lovely experiences with this one ☺

Mugwort grows just about everywhere. You’ll often find it underfoot, whether in the woods or walking through an overgrown urban environment.  Is it sheer chance that this sacred herb that reportedly heightens consciousness is sprouting up all around us?

Preparation: Like the two plants mentioned above, Mugwort is quite often taken as a tea, but can also be smoked in a pipe. The leaves of the Mugwort plant are what contain the active chemical constituents.

We wish you wonderful and wisdom-packed journeys tonight, and many nights thereafter. Remember, like any good herbalist, we each need to do careful research on the medicinals we choose to work with – this is a central pillar of the plant path.

Everyone deserves to dream!

Chinese Acupuncture Therapy ~ Moxibustion

MOXA_POLES_MILD

MOXIBUSTION THERAPY

Whenever I administer either a Reiki treatment or perform reflexology on a client, oftentimes the only acoutrements I use are Moxa sticks and my personal blend of massage oil. Moxibustion therapy was first introduced to me decades ago by my allergist, who became a licensed Acupuncturist at the University of Beijing. It is simple and surprisingly effective treatment for everything from allergies to arthritis, and the positive feedback I’ve received from administering these treatments are the reasons I maintain this practice.

I use the same brand Moxa stick as pictured here. You will find them and similar products at your local Chinese herbal shop, or online. They are inexpensive, so be sure to buy them in bulk because you will find you will be using them daily once you get used to how they work on the body.

Moxibustion is a very old, traditional Chinese medicine therapy employed by acupuncturists. It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Mongolia. The artemisia leaf or mugwort (known as ai ye or “doctor’s grass”) is the herb used in moxibustion. It is believed to emit yang energy when burnt. Since ancient times it has been burnt to disinfect and keep sterile the air to prevent the spread of infectious disease in hospitals and patient treatment centers.

An important attribute of artemisia leaf (ai ye) is its ability to penetrate moisture and dampness. In ancient times, Chinese armies used this knowledge to find underground springs during times of war, when constant movement made easy sources of water unavailable. Soldiers would burn argy wormwood and wait for the smoke to settle. Where the smoke accumulated they would dig a well for water. Chinese medicine also takes advantage of this special property to help dispel dampness from the body. Herbalists associate dampness with decay and toxin retention because it is extremely conductive to fungi growth.

The effects of acupuncture and moxibustion are unique because they do not add any additional elements in to the body. Instead, moxibustion simply re-adjusts the body’s natural mechanisms to effectively raise their functioning ability by promoting the flow of qi, viz., by warming the meridian channels with the moxi stick, you are supplementing qi and activating blood circulation, thereby relieving the cold, which alleviates pain and promotes vital functions to cure deficiency. Because moxi treatments do not introduce foreign elements in to the body, they are the purest and most natural forms of treatment.

Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff; practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a cigar-shaped stick. They can use it indirectly, with acupuncture needles, or burn it on the patient’s skin.

moxibustion client

How to Use:

Ignite a moxa stick at one end and place it two to three centimeters away over the treatment site to bring a mild warmth to the local place, but not burning, for some fifteen minutes until the skin becomes slightly red. You can either manually hold the stick, or use smaller sticks or discs that are inserted into wooden applicator boxes that either sit atop the skin or are strapped onto the client.

Contraindications of Moxibustion:

1. Excess heat syndrome, or Yin deficiency syndrome, with heat signs are contraindicated to moxibustion.

2. Scarring moxibustion is prohibited on face and head, and the places closest to the large blood vessels.

3. Pregnant women are not administered moxibustion in the abdomen and lumbosacral regions.