Calea ternifolia // Calea zacatechichi
is a species of flowering plant in the aster family, Asteraceae. It is native to Mexico and Central America. Its English language common names include bitter-grass, Mexican calea, and dream herb. Dream Herb (Calea zacatechichi) is also known as Calea Ternifolia, or leaf of God. Dream Herb has been used by the indigenous people of Mexico, including the Chontal, for thousands of years. They believed the herb would clear their senses and put them in touch with God.
In Mexico the plant is used as an herbal remedy for sickness and fever. The Zoque Popoluca people call the plant tam huñi (“bitter gum”) and use it to treat diarrhea and difficulty with breathing, and the Mixe people know it as poop taam ujts (“white bitter herb”) and use it for stomachache and fever.
Zacatechichi, the former species name, is a Nahuatl word meaning “bitter grass”. Users take the plant to help them remember their dreams While quite bitter if brewed in hot water, the bitterness can be considerably masked by brewing with Osmanthus flowers, which have a compatible scent profile. Chemical compounds isolated from this species include flavones such as acacetin and sesquiterpene lactones such as germacranolides. The sesquiterpenes known as caleicines and caleochromenes may be active in its effects on sleep.