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An oneirogen, from the Greek ὄνειρος óneiros meaning "dream" and gen "to create", is that which produces or enhances dreamlike states of consciousness. This is characterized by an immersive dream state similar to REM sleep, which can range from realistic to alien or abstract. Many dream-enhancing plants such as dream herb (Calea zacatechichi) and African dream herb (Entada rheedii), as well as the hallucinogenic diviner's sage (Salvia divinorum), have been used for thousands of years in a form of divination through dreams, called oneiromancy, in which practitioners seek to receive psychic or prophetic information during dream states. The term oneirogen commonly describes a wide array of psychoactive plants and chemicals ranging from normal dream enhancers to intense dissociative or deliriant drugs. Effects experienced with the use of oneirogens may include microsleep, hypnagogia, fugue states, rapid eye movement sleep (REM), hypnic jerks, lucid dreams, and out-of-body experiences. Some oneirogenic substances are said to have little to no effect on waking consciousness, and will not exhibit their effects until the user falls into a natural sleep state.

List of possible oneirogens[edit]

Disputed oneirogens[edit]

  • Valerian (herb) – A study conducted in the UK in 2001 showed that valerian root significantly improved stress induced insomnia, but as a side effect greatly increased the vividness of dreams. This study concluded that valerian root affects REM due to natural chemicals and essential oils that stimulate serotonin and opioid receptors. Another study found no encephalographic changes in subjects under its influence.[8][9][10]

Hallucinogenic oneirogens[edit]

Non-chemical oneirogens[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mossoba ME, Flynn TJ, Vohra S, Wiesenfeld P, Sprando RL (2016). "Evaluation of "Dream Herb," Calea zacatechichi, for Nephrotoxicity Using Human Kidney Proximal Tubule Cells". J Toxicol. 2016: 9794570. doi:10.1155/2016/9794570. PMC 5040790. PMID 27703475.
  2. ^ Sałaga M, Fichna J, Socała K, Nieoczym D, Pieróg M, Zielińska M, Kowalczuk A, Wlaź P (June 2016). "Neuropharmacological characterization of the oneirogenic Mexican plant Calea zacatechichi aqueous extract in mice". Metab Brain Dis. 31 (3): 631–41. doi:10.1007/s11011-016-9794-1. PMC 4863909. PMID 26821073.
  3. ^[bare URL PDF]
  4. ^ LaBerge (August 2018). "Pre-sleep treatment with galantamine stimulates lucid dreaming: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study". PLOS ONE. 13 (8): e0201246. Bibcode:2018PLoSO..1301246L. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0201246. PMC 6082533. PMID 30089135.
  5. ^ National Center for Biotechnology Information (2021). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 4205, Mirtazapine. Retrieved September 24, 2021 from
  6. ^ "Muscimol".
  7. ^ Sobiecki, J.F. (December 2008). "A review of plants used in divination in southern Africa and their psychoactive effects". South African Humanities. 20 (2): 333–351. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  8. ^ Klepser TB, Klepser ME (1999). "Unsafe and potentially safe herbal therapies". Am J Health-Syst Pharm. 56 (12538): 125–38, quiz 139–41. doi:10.1093/ajhp/56.2.125. PMID 10030529.
  9. ^ Wong AH, Smith M, Boon HS (1998). "Herbal remedies in psychiatric practice". Arch Gen Psychiatry. 55 (103344): 1033–44. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.55.11.1033. PMID 9819073.
  10. ^ Miller LG (1998). "Herbal medicines. Selected clinical considerations focusing on known or potential drug-herb interactions". Arch Intern Med. 158 (220011): 2200–11. doi:10.1001/archinte.158.20.2200. PMID 9818800.
  11. ^ "Iboga". 23 January 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  12. ^ Koenig, Xaver; Hilber, Karlheinz (29 January 2015). "The Anti-Addiction Drug Ibogaine and the Heart: A Delicate Relation". Molecules. 20 (2): 2208–2228. doi:10.3390/molecules20022208. ISSN 1420-3049. PMC 4382526. PMID 26807959.
  13. ^ "The Link Between Mindfulness, Meditation, and Lucid Dreaming | Psychology Today".
  14. ^ Machado, RB; Suchecki, D (2016). "Neuroendocrine and Peptidergic Regulation of Stress-Induced REM Sleep Rebound". Frontiers in Endocrinology. 7: 163. doi:10.3389/fendo.2016.00163. PMC 5179577. PMID 28066328.


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