Drugs and Herbs for Inducing Lucid Dreams

Whenever there’s a discussion about lucid dreaming, the question of inducing lucid dreams always comes up. About 50% of the population experiences a lucid dream at least once, about 20% lucid dream every month, and only 1% experience lucid dreams multiple times a week. 

There are effective lucid dream induction techniques you can use to enjoy the benefits of this phenomenon. However, most methods require a certain level of consistency and effort to bear fruit.

But there’s another option: certain drugs can alter your brain, increase the likelihood of having a lucid dream, and stimulate dream control. For example, one such drug is galantamine, a naturally occurring organic compound often used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. There is a lot that needs to be understood about using drugs and substances to induce lucid dreams. So let’s get into it.

The Science Behind Lucid Dreams

Usually, when you’re dreaming you don’t know that you’re dreaming. Then you wake up and realize it was a dream. But with a lucid dream, you’re aware that you’re dreaming. You can interact with the dream environment and even control the dream. 

How does this happen?

We go through different sleep cycles and stages every night. Most people experience lucid dreaming in the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage. While in REM, your brain “numbs” or paralyzes your muscles to prevent you from acting out your dreams. You can’t move any part of your body except your eyes. 

It’s still unclear what exactly happens in the brain when you’re having a lucid dream. However, one study showed that lucid dreaming happens in a hybrid state where you have both features of waking and REM. 

Some doctors believe it has something to do with the lateral prefrontal cortex, the brain part responsible for logic, being awake when it’s normally expected to be dormant. 

Can We Induce Lucid Dreams?

Unintentional lucid dreaming is rare but there are ways to induce lucid dreams. These include cognitive techniques involving mental exercises, habitual reality checks, and using external stimulation. The Shape app extensively covers these techniques and more.

The MILD technique, developed by Dr Stephen LaBerge, is one common method of inducing lucid dreaming. The WBTB technique is yet more effective, involving waking up at targeted periods of the night to activate the prefrontal cortex before going back to bed.

You can also trigger lucid dreams with herbs and other substances. 

Drugs and Substances That Can Stimulate Lucid Dreams

For centuries, different cultures have used different natural herbs to induce lucid dreams or vivid dreams, mainly for spiritual purposes. Some modern drugs are believed to increase the chances of lucid dreaming. 

Take a look. 

Galantamine: The Alzheimer’s Drug

Galantamine is a fast-acting acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI) used to treat memory decline in Alzheimer’s disease. 

According to this study, galantamine can also increase the chances of having lucid dreams. It significantly increases cognitive clarity, dream recall, and control during lucid dreaming. 

Research further shows that the most effective method of achieving lucid dreams with galantamine is taking it “in the last third of the night” and using a technique like MILD to enhance mental focus. 

Huperzine A 

Huperzine A is a natural acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI). Like galantamine, it is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease symptoms and the two have a similar mode of action. So it’s no surprise that some people may use it as a lucid dream pill. 

During clinical trials, there were reports of intense dreams after taking Huperzine A. However, there’s no conclusive evidence to show that it can actually induce lucid dreams.


Your brain produces melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your circadian rhythm and sleep/wake cycle. It is produced in response to the daily light/dark rhythm and modulated by the circadian clock. 

People use melatonin supplements to help with sleep disorders, jet lag, and anxiety, among other issues. 

A study conducted in 2000 to investigate the effect of melatonin on dreams showed that it can lead to an increase in dream recall, bizarreness, and vividness. While further research is required to support these findings, some lucid dreamers claim that melatonin has helped them get vivid dreams and improve dream recall. 

Lucid Dream Herbs

Trying to induce lucid dreams is not a new concept. Some indigenous tribes have been using herbs to have vivid dreams for centuries or millennia. 

Calea Zacatechichi (Dream Herb)

This plant is native to Central America and Mexico and is sometimes known as Mexican Calea and bitter-grass. Traditionally, indigenous people used it to treat illnesses like fever as well as promote lucid dreams. 

Although there isn’t enough research to confirm these reports, it’s possible that the dream herb can enhance hypnagogic imagery.

Note: This herb is illegal in some countries and states in the United States. There was also a study linking it to nephrotoxicity (toxicity in the kidneys). 

African Dream Herb (Entada Rheedii)

This plant is found in most tropical and subtropical areas. It was used as a topical ointment for issues like ulcers and to induce vivid spiritual dreams. To get these dreams, indigenous people would smoke it or consume it directly just before going to sleep.

Research has yet to be conducted to back up the claims that Entada Rheedii can induce lucid dreams, or how much you need to consume to induce a lucid dream. 

Lucid Dreaming Supplements

Other than herbs and drugs that can lead to lucid dreaming, there are supplements developed specifically to induce lucid dreams. 

Lucid Dream Leaf

This supplement claims to be a collection of natural herbs that enhance dream vividness and dream recall. 

According to the manufacturer, they have a blue pill that prevents your brain from going into REM for the first four hours. This is supposed to make your dreams more vivid and help you lucid dream. They also have a pill that works as an AChEI and enhances conscious thinking. 


LucidEsc is a vegan lucid dreaming supplement designed to induce lucid dreams. It contains Huperzine A and claims to have been developed by lucid dreamers and approved by established lucid dream teachers. 


Research on the concept of lucid dreaming is still ongoing to better understand its effects, downsides, and other details. But so far, studies show that lucid dreaming has its benefits

There are several techniques for inducing lucid dreams. But for different reasons, some people may choose to use drugs and substances to increase their likelihood. Galantamine, a drug for managing Alzheimer’s symptoms, is a good example of a drug that can induce these dreams. You can also find traditional herbs and supplements to help you have lucid dreams. 

However, note that some of these drugs and substances may not work. Others may have negative side effects. It’s important to be responsible while exploring and consult your doctor when in doubt. 

You can also choose to stick with trusted techniques like WILD, MILD, and WBTB. 

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