Calea zacatechichi, seeds
Calea zacatechichi belongs to the family of the Asteracae, the daisy family. The plant is as well known as dream herb or bitter- grass. Its distribution area ranges from Costa Rica to Mexcio where it mainly grows at a higher altitude.
The dream herb is an herbaceous, annual plant that reaches a height from about 1,5m.
The leaves are oval, dark green and look like the leaves of the stinging nettle. They get 3,5 cm long and 1,5 cm wide. The venation is clearly visible. The young leaves are first violet at the bottom side. This violet color vanishes when the leaves get older. One can make a tea from the leaves but this tea is very bitter. That’s why the plant is called bitter- grass. The flowers are small and whitish or yellowish. The fruit is a nut, it is called achene. The fruits of the Asteraceae are all called achene. It is about 2 mm long and has a pappus which means that the fruit is able to fly. One achene contains about 20 seeds.
The Aztecs used the plant to have intensive dreams. In their culture dreaming is very important. When consuming C. zacatechichi dreams get more intensive and real. Furthermore the people are able to remind what they were dreaming. Being awake the dream herb has nearly no effect. That’s why the plant is called dream herb. C. zacatechichi contains several alkaloids and sesquiterpenlactons. The plant is rated poisonous. Until today nobody knows which substance is responsible for the intensive dreaming. Because of that one should not consume the plant.
Today some natives still consume the dream herb for religious reasons. The “leaf of god” shall make it possible to be near god and receive messages from him. They also believe that C. zacatechichi heals many illnesses while sleeping.
In medicine bitter- grass is used against fever, headache and swellings of the skin. But one should not underrate the adverse effects like vomiting and sickness.
The seeds of the dream herb should be pressed on the surface of the substrate. The substrate should be kept moist at a temperature from about 22°C. One should only spray the water on the substrate. Actively watering can sweep away the freshly germinated seeds. The young seedlings do not have deep roots. They start rooting at the surface and go down later.
The seeds of C. zacatechichi germinate quite irregular after some weeks. It is possible that weeks after the fist seed germinated, more seeds start germinating.