Before I managed to get my hands on some ajo sacha, I was so anxious to try it that I reached for a substitute first.
At the time I was waiting for my order of ajo sacha to arrive, I had valerian root capsules that I’d previously bought to help me sleep. I’d ended up not using them much and stowing them in the fridge because they were pretty stinky.
Stinky or not, to my delight, I discovered that valerian root has the equivalent effects of ajo sacha. (And so does vervain, by the way.)
There’s references to valerian root’s equivalency with ajo sacha here, and in a book called ‘Plant Spirit Shamanism: Traditional Techniques for Healing the Soul’ by Ross Heaven and Howard G. Charing. In the book, the authors stated that ajo sacha helps us “stalk” our inner psychological issues, which was just what I wanted, and I was counting on valerian root to work as my ajo sacha substitute.
Did valerian root work?
Yes, it did!
I took 4-5 capsules of valerian root before bed. For the first time when taking valerian root, I set deliberate intentions for spiritual healing through dreams. (Edit: If you plan to try valerian root, I suggest trying a lower dose first. Taking 4-5 capsules at once gave me some stomach pains, with 1 capsule containing 500mg of valerian root. While the pain abated after some time, there’s no need to make yourself suffer physically. )
The valerian root I took gave me many strange dreams. Most were deeply uncomfortable. In the dreams, I found myself in situations that frightened or saddened me greatly.
A recurring dream I had with valerian root was being in very vivid parallel-seeming worlds where my father was still alive. I had this parallel-world dream several times.
In each dream, my world and circumstances were slightly different, but the common element was the same. That my father would get sick and die.
In one, he was still married to my horrible and cruel ex-stepmom (in real life, they were already divorced when he got sick). In this particular dream, we were leaving a relative’s wedding together and jumped in a van trying to avoid my ex-stepmom and giggling about our childish escape from her.
When my dad was seated inside the van, he turned to me suddenly and said that his stomach hurt (in real life, my father passed away from colon cancer). And the me in that dream knew in that moment that he would die. That feeling was as real and as devastating to me as it was in real life.
I had this type of dream over and over again… each with slight differences, enough to let me know I was in a parallel world/existence, but that I was still me and my dad was still the person I needed the most. It broke me to be made to relive the moment when I knew he was going to die every single time.
But there was a lesson there… I know why I had those dreams, and it was not to punish me.
I was gutted when my father died and I blamed myself. I was grieving him, missing him and felt like the loss of him was unbearable. On top of all that pain, I hated myself for not being able to help him. I would have these recurring thoughts of “if I had only given him this particular thing to try” or “that one or that one”, or “maybe if I had been a better and more loving daughter”, that he would have lived. This was one of the many ways I tortured myself (there were others).
Because of my issues, I believe the dreams I had were meant to show me a certain truth — that no matter what I did or didn’t do, and regardless of the circumstances of our lives, or anything else that could have been different, that my father would still have passed away (parallel dream worlds, same outcome every time). I needed to be shown that his death was bigger than I could fathom and I had no control over it despite all my illusions…
I don’t believe I would have reached the same truths if left to my own devices and thoughts. Somehow, valerian root as a teacher plant *knew* that I had to be made to suffer again and again in that precise way in order to learn what I needed to know and to accept it truly in my heart.
So I’ve discovered that valerian root can be very helpful spiritually. And like ajo sacha, it forces us to face our issues head on… and it isn’t delicate about it either! 🙂
As I write this, I feel extremely grateful to all the plants and herbs that grow in our world that help us shed our painful illusions to pave the way for healing. What love they must have in them to do this for us, and without asking for anything in return!
It’s a humbling thought.
Other similarities between ajo sacha and valerian root
After a bit of research, I found that the two herbs—ajo sacha and valerian root— have other similarities apart from their effects on our dream states.
1) Banishing evil spirits
– In South America (e.g. Peru), ajo sacha is sometimes added to brews, including ayahuasca, to drive away “evil spirits”
– One old European folk wisdom says to tie a bundle of valerian root and hang it outside your home to keep out “evil spirits”
– Native Americans used valerian root to clear the mind and soul and to ward off “evil spirits”
2) Creating a feeling of calmness
– Drinking ajo sacha tea leads to calmness, relaxation and a feeling of sedation
– And valerian root is known for being a sedative herb that also brings about feelings of calmness and relaxation
3) Relieving arthritic pains
– Both ajo sacha and valerian root can treat arthritis pain
I thought that their similarities were very interesting, especially considering that each plant naturally grows on a different continent — the Americas and Europe.
|Flowers from a valerian plant, native to Europe
|Flowers from an ajo sacha plant, native to the Americas