Ashwagandha dreams

So I am taking ashwagandha tincture (because of reasons I may explain some other time but right now it’s not relevant) and prior to starting, I had read that ashwagandha can cause vivid dreams and even weird light effects when you close your eyes.

Unfortunately I haven’t had the weird light effects (and I was really looking forward to that too). But the dreams have been interesting, especially in comparison to valerian. Now something like 10% of people get no effect from valerian, I hear, but I am one of the ones it works on. Now and then I take it when I need some help falling asleep. The dreams it gives me are…intense.

Normally I would say I’m a semi-lucid dreamer–I’m almost always aware at some point in the dream that I am, in fact, dreaming. But not with valerian dreams. They feel totally real. Well, I don’t really like the dream/real dichotomy because what’s not real about a dream? It’s a real dream. But I mean my valerian dreams feel like I am awake.

ashwagandha berries

Ashwagandha berries. It’s a member of the tomato (i.e., nightshade) family, can you tell?

Now ashwagandha has a similar effect, in that in the dreams I feel like I’m awake and not dreaming. But the quality of the dreams has been very different from what I experience with valerian. In all my ashwagandha dreams, I have been striving or struggling for something, and usually frustrated by not quite getting it, or waking up before I could finish the story. They aren’t nightmares by any means, and I feel pretty refreshed when I wake up, but always very frustrated.

Smells like a teenager's gym socks soaked in horse urine, but looks lovely and gives wonderful dreams.

Valerian–smells like a teenager’s gym socks soaked in horse urine, but looks lovely and gives wonderful dreams.

Contrast this with my most recent valerian dreams, which were all about friends from far away clamoring to tell me how much they love me.

Once again, I’m truly blown away by the subtle powers of plants. What chemical constituent could account for the difference between dreams of love and dreams of struggle? I’m reminded of the way that agrimony brings to my attention things in my life that are no longer working for me and that need attention. How does it do that? It’s nothing short of magic as far as I can tell.

Have you tried valerian or ashwagandha? I’d love to hear about your dreams! (Or any crazy light effects.)

Advertisements

20 thoughts on “Ashwagandha dreams

  1. I started taking aswagandha(500mg), a half hour before bed, about a week ago. I do sleep quite soundly, but now I experience vivid dreams that are troubling and unsettling, but they are not night mares. I have not experienced anything like the light effects you mentioned. I also take rhodiola(250 mg) in the morning after breakfast. I take these supplements on the advice from the author of the, “Adrenal Reset Diet”.

    • I’m sorry to hear your dreams are unsettling. I get that effect from valerian. Like you said, they aren’t nightmares, but very vivid and very…strange. Even for dreams. But after taking it for a while I didn’t notice the weird dreams as much, so either I got used to them or (I think more likely) the symptom lessened. Ashwagandha didn’t have quite as strong an effect on me as it obviously does on you. If you can tolerate it I’d stick with it a while and see what happens.

  2. I have been taking Ambien for about 10 years and wanted to try a more natural route. I’ve tried this in the past with Kava Kava, Valerian, Chamomile, teas, aromatherapy, etc…, but they either didn’t help my insomnia, or they have me horrible nightmares or sleep paralysis. Ambien gives me bizarre dreams, but not nightmares, so I keep going back to it. On my first night with Ashwagandha at 450m it took me forever to fall asleep, no help there, but the dreams were great, slightly exotic honestly which I can definitely live with lol. The 2nd night I took 2 capsules slightly earlier and I got to sleep better but had a horrific nightmare that someone was trying to kill me, and did… I have never died in a dream before, ever. I had a heavy late dinner though and thought maybe that was it. Last night though I had a normal dinner and took 2 capsules again early and fell asleep fine, but again had a dream that something was in my house trying to kill me…thank goodness it didn’t succeed this time, but I don’t know if I can handle it anymore. All 3 times I also felt quite groggy in the morning as well. Maybe I’ll try 1 again tonight.

    • Hi Christina, your issue was similar to Charles’, so please see my reply to him below as I think it also addresses your questions.

  3. I just tried taking Ashwagandha at night and had a very vivid dream that bordered on a nightmare (or perhaps I am just not used to such vivid dreaming). I hope the dreams settle down because if I take the herb during the day it makes me really tired. Do you think such dreams will eventually subside? They wake me up and I can’t get back to sleep.

    • My understanding is that the dreams usually settle down after a while. Also, ashwagandha is actually taken to boost energy levels over time, so if/when your sleep becomes normalized, you should no longer be tired from taking it during the day.

      The most important thing to bear in mind here is WHY you are having trouble sleeping. Herbs aren’t like drugs that are taken to get rid of a symptom; they either interact with the underlying cause (which will appear very unpredictable or possibly even unrelated if you aren’t fully aware of what that cause is–and I suspect that’s part of the reason for the weird dreams caused by ashwagandha and valerian), or they will be unable to address that cause, in which case they won’t help. So what that means is, there is no herb that will work like Ambien and just put you to sleep–they will all have some effect on your mind/consciousness, your overall energy levels, and how you handle stress (both physically and psychologically).

      In my opinion, that’s what makes herbs preferable to drugs, but because our culture has gotten so far away from using plant medicine, I think it can be very confusing for people trying to help themselves, as the herbs don’t seem to respond predictably to the symptom.

      Ashwagandha is interesting because it’s a tonic herb that, long term, can boost energy, stamina, and libido, yet also reduce stress and aid in normalizing sleep. However, no tonic can heal a person who is abusing their body, mind, and heart by continually exhausting them and subjecting them to high levels of stress. That’s a certain recipe for burnout no matter what herbs are, or aren’t, used.

      • Hi Alexandra. I appreciate your reply! I am actually taking Ashwagandha for high blood pressure (a hereditary condition). I took doctor prescribed meds but they damaged my hearing for some reason. I would much prefer natural ingredients. As I mentioned, when i took Ashwagandha a few months ago during the day for about two months, it made me very listless. So I decided to take it at night. I had another vivid dream after writing the post here, but towards the end of the dream I actually became very lucid, and told myself that i can stop the dream at any time so I had no need to be scared. I am intrigued by the notion of vivid dreaming, particularly as it relates to out-of-body experiences. Now I am excited to get back to bed and experiment with my consciousness!

      • Hi Charles, with regard to feeling listless, is it possible that the ashwagandha lowered your blood pressure TOO much? I’ve actually never heard of that use for it, although that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work–I’m always discovering new uses for herbs. Your lucid dream sounds very cool, and I agree that vivid dreaming is worth exploring. Do you keep a dream journal?

      • Hi Alexandra. From what i heard the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, uses the herb to lower his blood pressure, and apparently with some success. There are actually quite a few people who use it for this purpose, and some complain about the listlessness I have been experiencing. I think this herb adapts to each body and sometimes in opposite ways. Regarding the dreams, much to my disappointment, I have had no lucid dreams in four days (actually it was the blackest of blank sleep) but last night i had a weird experience of sleeping on my hand, and as the hand fell asleep, I dreamed that an animal was chewing on it. Ouch! What herbs do you recommend for inducing lucid dreaming? Valerian perhaps?

        -Charles

      • I haven’t found that valerian promotes lucid dreams. Weird dreams, yes, but not especially lucid. Some people recommend the supplement galantamine, and there are lots of herbs that have been used traditionally to promote shamanic journeying and visions. But take into account that (1) all of these will disrupt your sleep to varying extents, and (2) my understanding is that ultimately lucid dreaming is a practice like any other, i.e., it takes practice. Fundamentally it’s a mind training, so plants alone won’t be enough to achieve lucid dreaming regularly/on demand.

  4. Wow, you hit the nail on the head there. In all honesty, have PTSD, and even though I know that, I still try to scurry around it. My nightmares probably stem from past trauma, but I feel like if I admit it, it will never leave. Thank you so much for your response.

  5. I read your response to Charles about lucid dreaming and you are definitely correct about it being mind training. I think that there are some people that are naturally gifted with this ability, but it is essentially trying to control your subconscious mind, which most people can’t do even with practice. Above you also mentioned starting a reading journal which I know is a good step, though can be inconvenient to have to write things out in the middle of the night…again as you mentioned, it will be a sleep disruption. I used to keep Freud’s interpretation of Dreams on my nightstand and just write keywords/phrases in my journal at night, then look them up in the morning….it was fun and interesting and beat trying to write out the whole dream. What I can do now though is if I wake in the middle of an interesting dream, I can make myself continue into that dream, even if I am in and out, though once I am deeper into it, I don’t realize that I am dreaming anymore, I have no control. I was never able to do that before. I can also prevent myself from entering a bad one again after I wake. That’s as far as I’ve gotten though. Good luck to you though Charles.

  6. Hi Alexandra & Christina. Thanks again for the replies. Yes, i am aware that it takes mind training. I actually intended to program the mind by making suggestions just before going to sleep or between sleeps, particularly in the early morning. But I don’t think i will continue with the Ashwagandha. It just wipes me out, and I don’t feel quite myself. I used to have a lot of falling dreams and lucid dreams when i was younger. I lost touch with that as work and family responsibilities presented themselves. I kind of miss that. I’ll do some research on galantamine and see where it leads. Should I report back?

    • Hi Charles. I would be interested to see how it affects your dreams, but I thought it was designed to increase clarity during consciousness for Alzheimer’s/Dementia…I don’t know much about it though really. As far as my mind works, I know mine will never go backwards…I will never dream like I did as a child, because my reality was so different. I can never unsee the things I have seen, or unlearn the things I know, or unexperience the things I have experienced, and all of that affects, and sometimes haunts my dreams. I’m the most interested in having control over my dreams to prevent the nightmares, but again it goes back to dealing with the underlying cause…fear. One day maybe. I wish you luck on your journey, though.

      • Hi Christina. What you say is very relevant. I am not interested in re-living the content of my dreams when I was younger. It is more the mechanism of lucid dreaming that I wish to experience again. However, my life is so busy now (both my mom and brother are in serious condition in hospital), that I have a feeling that my body just wants to rest rather than dabble in anything mystical or esoteric while asleep. The Ashwagandha simply re-kindled my interest in lucid dreaming.

  7. Hi Charles, I am sorry to hear about your mother and brother and hope they are well soon. Given what you have on your plate, you’re probably right that you need sound sleep right now more than anything.

    If you do try galantamine or something else, I’d be interested to hear your results, although of course you needn’t feel obligated to report back.

  8. I got to this page because I was hoping to discover if others, like myself, are having frustrating ashwagandha dreams. I have kept a dream journal for several years now since I began to meditate. I usually have vivid dreams sometime odd and often symbolic and about a third of the time lucid not necessarily at the beginning but towards the middle often understanding a message as to meaning before I awaken. I began taking ashwagandha and holy basil primarily because of early stage adrenal fatigue but I also have low thyroid and high blood pressure and borderline high blood sugar. From my research ashwagandha would seem to be helpful for everything. I have noticed no difference in my blood pressure but blood sugar is perfect, It is too early to tell on thyroid and cortisol levels I wont get new blood work till Nov. Anyway I .have been taking ashwagandha and Holy Basil for a little over a week. Every time I take them together I have borderline nightmares. I can take Holy Basil in afternoon and not get sleepy but I can only take ashwagandha just before bed as it makes me sleepy. Just it makes me have a whole night full of annoying and frustrating dreams and I always wake feeling MORE stressed . As an aside, I often can tell I am dreaming but can not channel the dream to more positive footing and only about half of the time can wake myself up. I am taking 470 mg and was told I should be taking double. Can anyone tell me how long before their dreams stopped and what dosage they were taking? thank you
    Ruthann Adhuma Joy

  9. Dear Alexandra.
    Just a quick note that i started taking Ashwagandha a week or two ago. 2gr morning, 2gr evening. During the day I’m not sure if does anything. What i wanted to let you know that i rarely remember my dreams but since i take the hurb, i have not waken up without remembering the dream or last dream. Mostly i can stay in the dream while awake. Fascinating. I took some Sulferit a year or two ago but they gave me nightmares. Sofar Ashwagandha is giving me interesting dreams. Not alway positive but fascinating never the less. I try to analyse them and have to say they are mostly very clear on what they mean. Or at least in my humble opinion.
    Thank you for sharing you thought before.
    Kind regards,
    Peter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s