January is one of the darkest times in Vermont. We are mid-winter, leaving the land gray, often icy and barren, reminding us that we are far from spring. It’s the perfect time to focus on our dreams and rebuild our vital energy through sleep. Dreaming is often overlooked as a powerful way to answer questions, gain insight or process feelings.
One of the most compelling aspects of dreaming is that we can tap into our subconscious. Most of our favorite dream herbs soothe occasional anxiety and tension, allowing us to enter a deeply relaxed state.
Mugwort is a plant that herbalists have turned to for centuries as a tool for magic and dream work in many different countries. Known to support our ability to tap into the fantasy world, both in sleep and in shamanic trance work, mugwort was called upon in ancient times to help a person to visualize life dreams and desires. It is also a symbol of protection and is burned as an incense or smudge stick in ceremonies.
As an aromatic plant, it supports a healthy nervous system gently soothing tension and stress.
Passionflower supports the nervous system in unwinding when you are feeling wound up from occasional anxiety. Being in a state of relaxation, allows for the dream work to be more easily attainable. This herb is a trusted ally for supporting our transition to wind down at the end of the day.
Yarrow is recognized as a protective, healing plant that encourages prophetic dreams. Similar to that of mugwort, this plant was used in times of visioning to connect a person to their dreams and desires. Its circulatory tonic effect soothes energetic stagnation and blockages.
Chamomile is well known as a bedtime tea, because of its soft and nourishing flavor. Because of its uplifting quality, chamomile is known to support a sense of mental calm and soothes wired nerves at the end of a long day.
Rose is one to protect and strengthen the emotional heart. Sometimes dreams can be confusing or difficult, and we can feel unsettled after waking. Rose supports the emotional heart, making it easier to soften the images we may not want to hold on to.
*If you experience bad dreams, do work around letting them go, as dream interpretation is a practice that requires unweaving as we try to sort through what they mean and what we want to take away from them.
Rosemary the herb of remembrance, and one that can be used as a catalyst to support cognitive function. One of the biggest struggles of tapping into our dreams and subconsciousness is remembering them! Using herbs that support healthy brain function can be helpful when exploring our dreams and their meanings.
Lemon balm has been used for its brightening and soothing qualities since the Middle Ages. Herbalists have found that its “gladdening effect” plays a role in encouraging deep, restful sleep by supporting mood and mental calmness. A traditional “Dreamers mead” often included mugwort, lemon balm, and honey.
Hops offer support of a deep, restful sleep, allowing us to complete deep sleep cycles, which is where some of the most profound dreaming happens. They are fast acting as they soothe tension and enable us to enter the dream word blissfully.
All of these herbs make an excellent salve or dream balm and are lovely taken in tincture form as a tea or in the bath. Hops are one that is usually quite bitter in tea, and often better in tincture form.
Other practices have included putting herbs like yarrow and mugwort underneath your pillow to encourage vivid dreams, hanging lavender and rose above your bed to guide safe and calm dreaming and creating bedtime routines that include herbs to support dreaming.
All explorations of dreams should include writing them down if you can. Try to keep a journal next to your bed so you can easily jot down thoughts in the morning before they slip back into the realm of the unconscious and you go about your day.
Try our Hit the Hay formula for a fast acting blend of herbs that support occasional sleeplessness and to relieve tension at the end of the day.
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