Silene undulata (Silene capensis)
Silene undulata better known as African Dream Root, has been used by the shamans of the Xhosa tribe of South Africa for thousands of years.Silene undulata was particularly used for spiritual and shamanic rituals. It is revered as a sacred plant that is found growing in the river valleys of the eastern cape province of South Africa. It is known for its powerful ability to induce vivid and sometimes lucid dreams that are remembered upon waking. Furthermore Silene undulata was used by the shamans to guide their people. According to the shamans, this species of plant, also called “Undela Ziimhlophe” translates to ‘white paths’. Its effects are mild during normal waking state, however, when on e falls asleep the power of the plant awakens, inducing powerful psychic dreams.
Traditionally, Silene undulata was consumed in the morning on an empty stomach to allow the alkaloids to be absorbed into the body. Following an hour or so, it was then recommended to eat. The effects will be felt at night during sleeping. Dreams will become colorful and vibrant. This is how the shamans would commune with the world of the spirits and ancestors to receive guidance. Silene undulata has also been used in the past as a divination tool to foretell of the future and to support the tribe in maintaining a connection with the world of the unseen and invisible.
The alkaloids build up in the system. Therefore drinking the tea over multiple days will enhance the effects, particularly for individuals who are less sensitive.
The chemical constituents are thought to be triterpenoid saponins. These are sleep aids as well as viral inhibitors, is a potent antioxidant and may also help to reduce cholesterol. Very little research has been done on this plant, therefore its exact chemical makeup is still relatively unclear.