African Dream Root is native to South Africa where it is regarded by the Xhosa as a sacred plant. It was traditionally used in the initiation of shamans to produce vivid dreams.
These vivid dreams are likely to be caused by triterpenoid saponins contained in the roots. The effects are not very strong in waking consciousness but can be profound while sleeping. Dreams are very colourful and remembered on waking. The Xhosa also used African dream root to communicate with dead ancestors. Before going to sleep, natives would focus on a question and an ancestor would appear in the dream with the answer.