In a lucid dream, the dreamer achieves awareness without awakening from the dream. In this special altered state of consciousness, skilled lucid dreamers can manipulate dream content and thus attain memorable experiences that may help them in their waking lives.
They can find solutions to their problems, elucidate mysteries, improve their athletic performance, and simulate various real-life scenarios. The possibilities that reside in lucid dreaming are limitless. The problem with lucid dreaming is, however, that it is almost impossible to induce reliably.
If only there were lucid dreaming pills you could just swallow anytime you wanted to enter your dreams consciously…
…actually there ARE lucid dreaming pills!
Lucid dreaming enthusiasts have developed a series of practices and adopted many herbs and supplements to facilitate lucid dream induction.
Look no further.
This article contains a list of the most effective and well-known lucid dreaming supplements, herbs, and pills, as well as links to in-depth information regarding each supplement.
And I continuously update this article with any new lucid dream supplement I hear about or try, as well as with new scientific information regarding the already listed supplements. Therefore, I’d recommend bookmarking this page and referring to it whenever you are looking for a new lucid dreaming pill to try.
Galantamine is to lucid dreaming what Tylenol is for the flu. Everyone has heard of it, and true LD enthusiasts have likely used it as well.
Galantamine is a medicine used to boost memory and to treat milder versions of Alzheimer’s disease. It acts as an acetylcholine booster. In this regard, it is a two-pronged solution. It inhibits AChE, an acetylcholine inhibitor, and it acts as an acetylcholine agonist, thus further boosting the levels of this neurotransmitter.
By modulating ACh levels, acetylcholine boosts the length of the REM sleep stage. Since the overwhelming majority of dreaming takes place during this sleep stage, ACh promotes dreaming. The more you dream, the more chances you have to achieve in-dream lucidity through the many practices enthusiasts and specialists have developed for this purpose.
In addition to opening up more time for dreaming, galantamine also enhances the quality of dreams, making them more vivid, intense, and easier to remember.
Huperzia and Huperzine A
Huperzine A is a compound found in plants such as Huperzia serrata. It is available in supplement form, without a prescription, and it is another popular LD-inducing solution among lucid dreaming enthusiasts.
The pharmacology of huperzine A resembles that of galantamine, in the sense that it too acts on the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, preventing its breakdown. The way huperzine A achieves this pharmacological feat is by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, a natural ACh inhibitor.
Science has thus far failed to understand the way huperzine A promotes lucid dreaming. The only logical explanation we can currently provide is the acetylcholine-based one. By promoting the accumulation of this neurotransmitter, huperzine A impacts sleep/wake cycle regulation. Namely, it promotes longer REM sleep stages, thus increasing the frequency and vividness/intensity of dreams.
While consistently elevated ACh levels can provoke unpleasant side effects, slightly elevated levels of the neurotransmitter help with focus, learning, memory, and mental function in general.
Like galantamine, huperzine A can fight mild forms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Since ACh offers the best-known and most logical pathway to dream modulation, boosting it is the most straightforward way to promote lucid dream-induction.
Unlike huperzine A and galantamine, choline approaches the ACh equation from a different angle. Rather than blocking its breakdown or acting similarly to it, choline aims to boost ACh production.
Being an ACh precursor, it can stimulate production by making available more of the compounds needed to create ACh.
The human body can make choline in the liver, and many foods contain choline as well. A healthy diet strikes a balance between the ingested choline and the quantities the body produces.
In the context of lucid dream induction, choline boosts ACh levels, thus achieving the lengthening of REM sleep stages. Given that most dreaming occurs during this sleep stage, it thus increases the frequency and intensity of dreams, offering LD enthusiasts more opportunities to achieve in-dream lucidity.
Wild Lettuce (Lactuca Spp.)
Lettuce may seem like the most innocuous green-leaf vegetable, but it is a reservoir of “lettuce opium,” a white, milk-like liquid in its stems that has mild narcotic and analgesic effects.
While this substance is more plentiful and potent in wild lettuce varieties like Lactuca virosa, it is present in your garden-cultivated lettuce as well.
The lettuce compounds that impact sleep are lactucopicrin and lactucin.
Lactucopicrin acts like an ACh booster by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase. In this regard, its mechanism of action is similar to that of galantamine and huperzine A.
Lactucin, on the other hand, is an adenosine agonist. It mimics the action of the neurotransmitter which is responsible for signaling tiredness in the body. Thus, lactucin tricks your brain into feeling tired and primed for sleep.
Most people know that green tea contains minute amounts of caffeine, and as such, it may act as a tonic. That hardly fits the mold of lucid dream-induction. Despite that, however, green tea does facilitate lucid dreaming, thanks to its L-theanine content.
L-theanine is an amino acid that improves cognitive processes in several ways. It boosts memory, thus facilitating dream-recall. It also improves the ability to focus and concentrate. Moreover, it seems to counteract caffeine’s sleep-adverse effects while retaining its benefits.
Green tea is a good source of L-theanine though white tea may fare even better in this regard.
In addition to improving cognition, L-theanine also has a positive impact on mindfulness, and on the vividness of dream content.
Unlike green and white tea, black tea is not a good source of L-theanine for lucid dreaming purposes. You can buy L-theanine separately in supplement form, but tea is a decent and cost-effective source of the compound.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 is one of the supplements LD enthusiasts consider indispensable. Pyridoxine allegedly enhances the dream experience and improves dream recall. Unfortunately, science is yet to prove a solid link between dream enhancement and vitamin B6.
Lucid dreaming enthusiasts believe based on anecdotal evidence that pyridoxine can enhance dream salience, thereby creating a set of conditions that facilitate lucid dreaming.
The role that vitamin B6 could fulfill in the LD-triggering equation is a safer and healthier alternative to sedation. A 2017 study examined various solutions for inducing spontaneous sleep in children. It has concluded that while melatonin is important for sleep induction, a solution containing vitamin B6 in addition to melatonin and tryptophan works even better.
These findings suggest that vitamin B6 does indeed have a role in sleep induction, although the mechanisms by which it acts upon sleep are still unknown.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests, however, that pyridoxine may be a promoter of nightmares.
Melatonin is a hormone that modulates sleep cycles. As such, it is one of the best-known sleep-promoting supplements. It sets the stage for longer REM sleep stages, thus promoting dreaming. Like most of the mentioned supplements, it cannot single-handedly trigger lucid dreams. It merely creates a set of circumstances that facilitate the onset of lucid dreaming.
5-HTP is a precursor of serotonin and is another potent sleep cycle modulator. It works in conjunction with acetylcholine, acting as a counterbalance to the effects of the latter.
By boosting serotonin levels, one can boost the length/depth of the deep-sleep cycles.
From the perspective of lucid dreaming, it makes sense to boost serotonin because the REM rebound effect subsequently increases the duration of the REM sleep cycle as well.
L-tryptophan is an interesting amino acid we can only acquire through diet (or supplementation). It is the precursor of 5-HTP and, therefore, serotonin as well. It can act as a serotonin booster.
It may also convert to DMT through several intricate biochemical processes, thus boosting the quality and vividness of dreams.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
A subspecies of the Artemisia family of plants, mugwort can contribute to sleep and dream stimulation in many ways. We have to note that while mugwort does not carry any toxic components, other members of its family, like Artemisia absinthium, do. That said, many Artemisia subspecies fulfill ritual roles in many cultures around the world due to their hallucinogenic, stimulating, hypnotic, and analgesic effects.
The effects of Artemisia vulgaris are hallucinogenic, anti-depressant, and dream-inducing.
What can you expect if you take mugwort for lucid dreaming?
In addition to making your dreams more vivid, the herb will improve your dream recall, and it makes it easier to trigger lucid dreams. Please note that the use of mugwort may result in nightmares. Discontinue its use if you experience such problems.
The exact mechanism of mugwort’s action on sleep and dreams is a bit of a mystery. A toxin called thujone may have something to do with the herb’s effects. The root and leaves of the plant may also contain a monoamine oxidase inhibitor.
In Parkinson’s patients, dopamine levels in the brain are abnormally low. L-DOPA can correct such deficiencies. Unlike dopamine, L-DOPA can cross the blood-brain barrier and deliver a dopamine boost where it is most needed since it is one of the precursors of dopamine.
Acting as a nootropic, L-DOPA can improve dream recall, but its effects on dreaming and lucid dreams are more profound. Interestingly, this compound can increase the frequency of dreams and enhance their quality without expanding the REM sleep stage.
Mucuna pruriens, a good source of L-DOPA, has been used in tribal ritual and medicinal purposes for thousands of years worldwide. The herb acts as a nootropic, a sleep herb, as well as a dream stimulator. Due to its unique profile of constituents, of which L-DOPA can make up as much as seven percent, Mucuna pruriens offers a greater degree of control over dream content.
Dream Herb (Calea zacatechichi)
Besides being a popular and potent promoter of lucid dreaming, Calea zacatechichi is also useful for OBEs and astral projection.
Indigenous to Central America and Mexico, Calea zacatechichi has been known for centuries for its healing and hallucinogenic effects.
Although its oneirogenic effects are undeniable, we do not yet fully understand the mechanisms by which Calea zacatechichi promotes dreams and OBEs.
The chemical composition of the plant includes caleochromenes and caleicines, both compounds related to the active ingredients of huperzine A.
That considered, we can surmise that Calea zacatechichi exerts effects similar to huperzine A on dreams and the REM sleep stage. Namely, it extends the REM stage, increasing dream frequency.
LD enthusiasts have pointed out the usefulness of Calea zacatechichi for wake-induced lucid dreaming (WILD). The plant boosts the hypnagogic imagery that precedes the dream state, thus giving oneironauts an easier path into the realm of lucid dreams.
The interesting fact about dimenhydrinate is that it is nothing more than a fairly common antihistamine. While it does its job as an antiemetic, alleviating nausea and motion sickness, it carries some side effects that are interesting for LD and OBE enthusiasts.
It facilitates sleep, and it might enhance dreams. It also has a hallucinogenic effect. In addition to the effects oneironauts may find desirable, it may also cause blurred vision, constipation, and dry mouth.
Despite these scary potential side effects, some LD enthusiasts use it as a dream modulator, although its efficacy in this regard is questionable.
Those who have experienced them, describe dimenhydrinate trips as confusing experiences that blur the boundaries between hallucination and dreaming. The key to using Dramamine to help trigger lucid dreams is to stick to small doses. Not only do such doses limit the unpleasant side effects, but they also help induce a dreamlike state of mind, conducive to wake-induced lucid dreams.
Smokers who want to kick the habit are not the only ones who use nicotine patches. Although nicotine disrupts the normal sleep cycle, some oneironauts combine it with galantamine to trigger lucid dreams.
Nicotine’s ability to disrupt the sleep cycle, increasing sleep onset latency and REM sleep latency, is somehow an asset from the perspective of lucid dream induction.
Those who have succeeded in achieving in-dream lucidity due to a combination of nicotine and another LD supplements, have reported hallucinations, vivid dreams, music accompanying lucid dreams, and sleep paralysis.
Anecdotal evidence points to the usefulness of nicotine in triggering OBEs.
Wild tobacco is a plant native South American peoples have long used for various ritual purposes and healing. The hallucinations it triggers are very vivid, often consisting of flashes of light and bright chromatic displays. Such hallucinations are dreamlike, and they are indeed easy to mistake for dreams.
True Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
Native to North America, True Passionflower, Maypop, Apricot Vine, or Passion Vine has been used as a sedative since ancient times.
In addition to acting as a sedative, the plant also promotes sleep, having benefic effects on insomnia.
Other therapeutic effects of Passiflora incarnata include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, and antispasmodic effects.
Concerning sleep, Passiflora incarnata fights insomnia, inducing longer and deeper sleep without resulting in hangover-like effects in the morning.
The active compound profile of the plant includes small amounts of harmala alkaloids, as well as a flavone called chrysin, which exerts effects similar to the drug diazepam.
Isovitexin, one of the constituents of cannabis, can also be found in True Passionflower.
In the context of lucid dreaming, Passiflora incarnata makes dreams more vivid and colorful. By extending the sleep cycles, it creates more opportunities for dreaming.
Like many of the herbs we have discussed, Bacopa monnieri is a traditional herbal healing and dream-enhancing solution. It has anxiolytic, nootropic, and cognition-enhancing effects. It also purifies the blood, treats asthma, and soothes pain resulting from inflamed joints.
Although Bacopa monnieri does not contain well-known psychoactive compounds, some of its constituents readily cross the blood-brain barrier, thus exerting an effect on the brain. That explains its cognition-enhancing and nootropic effects.
It contains nicotine, together with other alkaloids such as brahmine and herpestine.
As a dream herb, Bacopa monnieri seems to exert impressive effects. It promotes deep, uninterrupted sleep, and within it, a plethora of vivid dreams and nightmares.
Given its nootropic effects, it also helps with dream recall.
We do not currently understand the mechanisms through which Bacopa influences sleep and dreaming. It probably accomplishes its effects by modulating the levels of acetylcholine.
Damiana (Turnera diffusa)
Damiana is a shrub native to southern California and northern Mexico. It is well known for its psychoactive effects. Like most of the herbs we have discussed, damiana has a wide range of health applications, treating ailments from low libido in women to asthma.
As a psychoactive herb, damiana is a depressant. Its effects on sleep stem from its ability to instill a relaxed, calm state of consciousness in its users. Drinking damiana tea before bedtime is a great way to unwind and get primed for the onset of sleep.
Among the many constituents of the shrub, eucalyptol stands out as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Like many of the supplements and herbs we discussed, damiana increases acetylcholine levels in the brain, thus expanding REM sleep and facilitating dreaming.
In addition to increasing the frequency of dreams, damiana also improves their vividness and makes it easier to remember them.
The herb can induce erotic dreams/LDs.
The seeds of the Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) tree, nutmeg contain psychoactive ingredients. The effects that such ingredients produce are hallucinogenic. In the case of nutmeg, they are deliriant and nootropic as well.
Nutmeg also facilitates deep sleep and treats insomnia.
The nutmeg constituent most likely responsible for the psychoactive effects of the supplement is myristicin.
Once ingested, myristicin metabolizes into MMDA in the liver. MMDA is a psychedelic compound, and it belongs to the amphetamine class.
In addition to giving rise to MMDA, myristicin may also act as a serotonin antagonist, thus creating a REM rebound effect that is conducive to dreaming and the easier induction of lucid dreams.
Furthermore, myristicin may also act as an acetylcholine blocker on the level of the nervous system. Thus, it can boost ACh levels in the brain.
People have used the bark of the Yohimbe tree (Pausinystalia johimbe) as a tonic, aphrodisiac, and stimulant for centuries. The compound that is likely responsible for these positive effects is a constituent of the bark, known as yohimbine.
Yohimbine is likely a norepinephrine stimulator, raising the levels of this particular neurotransmitter. How does that affect sleep and dreaming?
When norepinephrine levels spike during the commencing of the REM sleep stage, they facilitate in-dream lucidity. Norepinephrine-fuelled lucid dreams feature mostly positive content, are easier to remember, and may take on an erotic tinge.
Higher doses of yohimbine produce larger norepinephrine spikes. Excess amounts of this neurotransmitter may stimulate the sex organs.
That said, yohimbine may produce unpleasant side effects, such as anxiety, serotonin syndrome, and insomnia.
To boost the vividness of dreams and steer clear of unpleasant side effects oneironauts stick to smaller doses of yohimbine.
African Dream Herb (Entada rheedii)
The active part of the plant Entada rheedii, the one responsible for its oneirogenic effect, is the pulp of its seeds. The plant, which is a giant climber, houses its seeds in massive pods.
Like most of the plants/supplements we have discussed thus far, Entada rheedii has been used for ritualistic purposes for centuries. Unlike most of the discussed plants, however, this plant has been used primarily as a dream enhancer.
Entada rheedii enhances dreams by generating clearer imagery and improving vividness. It also makes dreams easier to remember.
The mechanism of action of this plant-based dream-enhancement solution is probably centered on tryptophan. The tryptophan derivatives present in the pulp modulate serotonin and melatonin biosyntheses through a convoluted pathway.
The pulp also contains saponins, which may also exert an effect on dreams.
Oneironauts have used Entada rheedii pulp in conjunction with other dream-enhancing supplements to amplify their dream-wise effects.
African Dream Root (Silene capensis)
For lucid dreaming, African Dream Root is one of the most interesting herbal supplements. Some lucid dream enthusiasts have credited the plant with the first in-dream lucidity episodes they ever had.
At first glance, the mechanisms behind the dream-modulating effects of the plant are simple. The roots contain copious amounts of saponins. These compounds act as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. By inhibiting this ACh inhibitor, the saponins boost the available acetylcholine levels, thus facilitating vivid dreams, better dream recall, and lucid dreaming.
The tribal peoples of South Africa have long used Silene capensis as a dream enhancer for ritual purposes. Ritualistic use relies on the ingestion of copious amounts of the herb, combined with fasting and abstinence.
As mentioned, the compounds responsible for the dream-wise effects of African Dream Root are saponins, so it makes sense to prepare a concoction out of the roots and stir it till it produces foam. Users then eat the foam.
Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric Mushroom)
This mushroom is the red, white-dotted mushroom often depicted in children’s books and popular culture. The mushroom contains compounds with a strong hallucinogenic effect. Various cultures have used it for this reason, for ritualistic purposes, since ancient times.
In the context of dream modulation, this mushroom is laden with interesting constituents.
The two compounds responsible for its hallucinogenic effects are ibotenic acid and muscimol, a GABA receptor agonist.
Popular culture depicts Amanita muscaria as toxic and unsuited for human consumption. The compounds responsible for this reputation are muscarine, which is, indeed, highly toxic but only present in trace amounts, and ibotenic acid. Those who choose to consume Amanita muscaria neutralize the ibotenic acid through high temperatures.
Tryptophan is also one of the constituents of this mushroom.
DMAE is a compound that acts directly on the reticular formation in the brain as a powerful stimulant. This target site is interesting from the perspective of lucid dreaming since it is responsible for consciousness.
One of DMAE’s most interesting features is that it can penetrate cellular membranes, passing right through them. Its lucid dreaming-wise effects are similar to those of choline because DMAE is eventually metabolized into choline in the body.
Unlike DMAE, however, “regular” choline cannot pass through cellular membranes.
In addition to promoting in-dream lucidity, DMAE also has effects conducive to weight-loss.
Based on anecdotal evidence, we can affirm that DMAE is useful for wake-induced lucid dreaming and wake-back-to-bed lucid dreaming.
DMAE salts exist in several variants. Of these, lactate salt seems to be the most effective facilitator of lucid dreams, OBEs, and other “exotic” states of consciousness. Pacetamidobenzoate salt works relatively well, while tartrate does not.
Lucid dream induction should not have adverse effects on sleep quality. Regardless of the supplements/herbal concoctions you choose to facilitate lucid dreaming, pay keen attention to dosage, toxicity, and other factors that may affect your health and mental wellbeing.
Did I foget any supplement, herb, or pill, which you find useful for lucid dreaming and out-of-body experiences induction? Make sure to let me know by commenting below.