A field of flowering Silene Capensis, a.k.a African dream herb.

Simon’s Silene Capensis (African Dream Root) Guide

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Silene capensis, or African dream root (also Silene undulata, Xhosa dream root, Xhosa dream herb and ubulawu) is a plant native to the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

It has a white, erect, trichotomously panicled flower with obtuse lobes. The stem and leaves of the plant are clothed with long spreading hairs (see picture above).

It is traditionally used by the Xhosa people (a Bantu ethnic group divided into several tribes in southern Africa). Their mythology and traditions attach great spiritual and medicinal value to the Silene capensis (undlela ziimhlophe, or ubulawu in Xhosa language). However, in modern medicine, is not widely known and has been very little studied pharmacologically.

Although, it does not have psychoactive effects in the traditional sense, it is used and boasted by some legal herbal high enthusiasts due to its reported potential to cause very vivid, lucid dreams at night.



Interesting facts about Silene capensis:


In Xhosa oral tradition Silene capensis it is closely linked to the River People, a euphemism of respect for the ancestors, particularly among diviners initiated at the river.

The root of Silene capensis features among the several offerings in the rites that are made at the river on behalf of the candidate being inducted as a diviner and addressed to the River People.

A picture of Xhosa people performing a traditional ritual dance in Mgwali village, Eastern Cape of South Africa. Their traditions attach great values to Silene Capensis (Xhosa dream herb, African dream root).
Xhosa people performing a traditional ritual dance in Mgwali village, Eastern Cape of South Africa.


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Silene capensis guide



Silene capensis – legal status


It appears to be legal everywhere in the world. If you know of a country or state where it isn’t, leave a comment below!



Buy Silene capensis


Although, African dream root is a very obscure legal high,it is legal everywhere, therefore it’s not impossible to obtain. You can find a shop to order dried African dream roots online from the US below!




Buy Silene capensis US


A picture of African dream root (Silene capensis)
Buy Silene capensis (African dream herb) shipped from the US.

Buy Silene Capensis  (African dream root) from the US on the link below:

Buy Silene Capensis (African dream root) shipped from the US /credit cards accepted/



Buy Silene capensis – Netherlands


I cannot currently recommend any shops to buy it from the Netherlands.



Main active ingredients of Silene capensis


The main active ingredients in Silene capensis is reportedly a group of chemical compound called Triterpenoid saponins. These ingredients are known to be responsible for the foam produced by the Silene capensis root powder when put in water. However, regarding the compounds’ connection to the plant’s effects on dreams, formal scientific and pharmacological research is yet absent.

African dream root is a not very well studied legal high and its effects and the main active ingredients are not well understood and not studied at all.

Source: Psychoactive Ubulawu Spiritual Medicines and Healing
Dynamics in the Initiation Process of Southern Bantu



The effects of the Silene capensis


Silene capensis reportedly causes vivid and realistic lucid dreams even for people, who never had any lucid dreams. It does not only make dreams more intense, it also makes users remember their dreams a lot better – at times, even to small details.

Internet testimonials say, that taking African dream root for months, can cause the lucid dreaming to become permanent – you will have the same vivid and insightful dreams even after you stopped taking roots. However, this is only an online rumour. I haven’t found any scientific study, that would back this up.

The large amount of positive testimonials suggest, that this might not merely be a placebo!



Dangers of Silene capensis


Since no formal research had been done regarding the effects of Silene capensis, its possible dangers are also unknown. That being said, it is safe to assume, that it does not have any serious undesirable side effects. I went through tremendous amount of forum threads and experience reports online, and none of them gave an account of any considerable unpleasant symptoms experienced after taking African dream root.

That being said, as with any herb with psychoactive properties, you should avoid overly large doses and handle it with caution in case of risky conditions (pregnancy, diabetes, heart conditions etc.).

Also, throwing up is possible, if you take too much, but that is at least partly because of the way it is consumed (more about in the section about consumption).



Silene capensis health benefits


Silene capensis doesn’t have any health benefits recognised in modern medicine. Although, this might be due to the lack of pharmacological research done on the plant.

Although, it does have some sort of traditional medicinal uses amongst the Xhosa people of southern Africa, it’s considered more of a spiritual remedy.



African dream root – consumption, preparation


A picture of the foam produced by stirring water with Silene capensis powder. This is what is called the "ubulawu dream foam" by the Xhosa people of Southern Africa.
Silene capensis, African dream root – the ubulawu dream foam

The traditional way of consumption is to put the powdered (fine powdered, or it won’t really work) roots in water, then mix it with a fork or by shaking the bottle.

A thick layer of foam will be produced on top of the liquid. You need to consume this foam (taste and consistency is very bad, but might be worth it!).

Source: Dreams and Medicines: The Perspective of Xhosa Diviners and Novices in the Eastern Cape, South Africa


You can also try putting the powder into boiling water and drinking it after it cooled off (sort of as a tea). Or you can just chew the roots.

Here I’ll only describe the traditional preparation, as the other two are quite straightforward and don’t need much explanation. However, there are positive reviews of all three methods online! So if you don’t like one, you can still experiment with the others. Let me know in the comments section below which one works for you.

This is how it’s prepared:

  • Obtain powdered Silene capensis roots (if you buy whole dried roots, you have to powder them yourself, however, this could be a tough task, as they are quite elastic)
  • Put a tablespoon of powder into a litre of water (might let it soak for a few hour or a day, in the fridge or outside, experiment with what produces the best effects for you)
  • Shake it up or stir it hard with a spoon or fork until a thick layer of foam is produced on top (you can use this mix for a few more days, you only have to use more powder, if it stops producing foam)
  • Drink all of the foam in the morning, before breakfast and don’t eat anything for 1-2 hours afterwards (you can also eat an additional batch before going to sleep)
  • Repeat this every day for a course of a few days (or weeks) until you notice the effects

If you’ve done it the right way, you will have the most vivid and realistic lucid dreams of your life – according to internet testimonials and the Xhosa people of Southern Africa

However, keep in mind, that many people report no effects. This is not 100% scientifically proven, although the tremendous amount of testimonials suggest, that it indeed does works. However, not for everyone. 

Also note, that effects might not come right away. You may have to eat the foam (or drink tea, or chew roots) for a week or two, before you experience any effects.



Buy Silene capensis – US


Buy Silene Capensis  (African dream root) from the US on the link below:

Buy Silene Capensis (African dream root) shipped from the US /credit cards accepted/


Buy Silene capensis – Netherlands


I cannot currently recommend any shops to buy it from the Netherlands.



African dream root – reported experiences


There are plenty of reports online, that describe fascinating dream-experiences under the influence of African dream root. Here are some excerpts:


A positive testimony and also an alternative recipe:

“So, I had read on another forum that someone was taking as little as 250 mg per day in a tea and was getting effects strong enough that he never even bothered with the traditional preparation. I like to stick to what works so I tried it his way. For three days I simply put 250-350 mg in a travel mug, poured boiling water over it, and stirred every 5 min, letting it go for at least 20 minutes. Then I’d add honey and put it in the freezer to chill and drink it on the way to work. After of course removing the xhosa root itself. Okay, I’d say that every two or three months I have a dream that is both remembered and vivid before taking this root. I had vivid dreams I remembered all three nights after I drank the tea during the day.

On day four (yesterday) I stopped taking the tea to test and if I did have any dreams, I don’t remember them. From my experience this root has a definite effect on dreams. Not a drug herb, but an enjoyable herb nonetheless.”

Source: Erowid Experience Vault – Silene capensis – Xhosa Dream herb*



Another working method and the results: 

“So a little while ago I ordered some Silene Capensis, from an Internet vendor. I was interested in lucid dreaming at the time and thought I would give it a shot. I ordered 14 grams of ‘Silene Capensis Whole Root’. I prepared this root by breaking up the root into very small pieces. I then got a water bottle and filled it up with water, approximately half full. I put the root with the water and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

The next morning I shook up the water bottle, until lots of foam was produced. I drank almost all the foam, waited an hour and ate breakfast.

**The Experience**
That night I went to bed around 2 a.m. I had the most intense, lucid dream of my life. This in fact was my first lucid dream. I remember every detail of the dream, and it was very vivid. I am surely going to try this amazing root again.”

Source: Erowid Experience Vault – Silene capensis – A Powerful Root



If you find this Silene capensis guide useful please give it a “+1”:

Thank you! It helps my website a lot.


Share your own trip report in the comment section below (to ensure anonymity don’t use your real name or real email address when submitting trip reports)!

Some of the information presented here might be outdated or incorrect (check “last updated” below). Make sure, that if you are planning to try out any of the substances to research them yourself as well.

I’m 100% committed to safe and responsible legal high consumption. If you have a few minutes to spare please read my blog post about responsible and safe legal drugs use.


Silene capensis is only one of the legal highs included in Simon’s legal high guide, check out the others as well.

If you are only interested in other legal light drugs, then check out Simon’s legal light drugs for more (coming soon).


Last updated: 2015. 11. 27.

Simon's Silene Capensis (African Dream Root) Guide
Article Name
Simon's Silene Capensis (African Dream Root) Guide
An overview of the effects and traditional uses of Silene capensis (African dream root). The plant, traditionally used by the Xhosa people for shamanistic rituals, is said to induce vivid lucid dreams. Although, its effects are not scientifically proven, testimonials suggest that there might be something to it.

2 thoughts on “Simon’s Silene Capensis (African Dream Root) Guide”

  1. Lucid dreamer says:

    FYI: lucid deeming is the holy Grail of consciousness. Right up there with the Entheogenic state of consciousness. Scientists who specialize in the study of consciousness, categorize the lucid dream state as unique ; not an extension of any other kinds. If African dream root could produce lucid dreams, these researchers would be right on it, very closely. True lucid dreams are so coveted, that anything producing them would be wildly popular; just like the entheogens are to those who seek the mystical States of consciousness. Since this root remains still in ,obscurity, the effects from it are obviously not profound enough for it to rank highly in the Pantheon of consciousness- changing substances. I’m still all for dream enhancement, but with the expectation that lucid dreams are basically a gift from the gods.

  2. I tried this root i cut it up in to small peices an put it in a teabag the put in cup boiled water i just dipped an let sit a bit squeezed it coupke tines sn after drinking it i got a relaxed floaty feeling later i went to bed bfore i felk a sleep it waslike diff pictures an images popin up in my mind after i fellsleep a had one realy vivid dream and rrnenberd it i never drean or renenber the once in gteat great while the last tin i hdreamdream i rememberd i was walki home and got surounded by 10 13. African americanteenagers. Ab they wanted money i had none they stompped me to death. That only dream i had before 3 mon be4 that an remembered it in years

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