Silene Capensis — the African Dream Root

Silene Capensis—the African Dream Root


Also called Undiela Zimhlophe, African Dream Root and Ubulawu, Silene Capensis is a perennial herb believed to possess dream-inducing properties (oneirogenic). It’s considered sacred by Xhosa people of the Eastern Cape of Southern Africa, where they believe it can induce prophetic dreams, especially during the shaman initiation journeys. And in many cases, they believe that they could contact their dead ancestors and that they could receive assistance or advice from them for using it.

The gunpowder plant, another name for S. Capensis, only requires a mix of a small amount of pulverized root with water to make a white froth, which is sucked off before swallowing. As a result, a user’s dream, for several nights, would become easier to recall and more vivid.

Based on traditions, ritual purity is essential for communicating with the ancestors and it can only be achieved if someone would wash with these plants. Then, the foam-producing roots are grated/sucked and then added to billycan of cold water. It’s whisked until a froth is formed using a fork stick, which according to traditions is carved using only a wild olive branch. It is believed that if there is lack of froth, there is an incorrect ritual timing or ancestor disapproval during the ceremony.

This foam can be ingested or used as a face and body wash.

As published at Azarius.net, not much has been documented of the dream root’s pharmacology, but its dream-inducing activity might have been coming from the roots (only about 250 mg is reported to be active) that can produce profound dream effects.

To use it, you can get half a teaspoon of the dream root with half a cup of water. You can drink it early in the morning and with an empty stomach. Alternatively, you can get a heaped teaspoon to mix with one-half liter of water before blending until froth appeared. Suck off this foam with an empty stomach until you feel bloated before going to bed so that its alkaloid content can travel through your body. Before sleeping, think of one question that you want to be answered. Reports revealed that dreams could become very colorful and remembered upon waking.

But even if you take S. capensis in the morning, you can feel its effects until the evening because its alkaloids travel through your blood very slowly. Therefore, you can feel its dreaming effect no matter when you consume the root. To become effective, you may have to take it for several days before it can build up in your system.

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