By Jim Long
What is a Dream Pillow?
Dream pillows were once called comfort pillows, and were used in the sickroom to ease the nightmares that may come with medicine and the smells of illness. Relaxing herbs -– primarily catnip, lavender, and mugwort -– combined in little pillows were respected for their usefulness in easing the sleep of crying babies.
Dream pillows work just as well on healthy folks, but maybe not for everyone. Although most people react to fragrances in pleasant ways, the people who have had the least reaction are heavy smokers, elderly people, and those who use excessive amounts of cologne or perfume; all seem to have desensitized noses. But for most people, fragrance unlocks pleasant memories that play out in their dreams in the most delightful way.
Wanderlust shouldn't translate to restless nights. These easy-to-make herbal dream blends are meant to give quiet rest, a familiar scent, and peacefulness to the traveler, in order to inspire confidence and ensure the fullest enjoyment of the trip.
Give one to your favorite frequent traveler, or blend one for yourself prior to a vacation or business trip.
If you have trouble adjusting to the unfamiliar smells of a hotel room or strange bed, try this calming blend:
1/2 cup mugwort
1/2 cup rose petals
1/4 cup lavender flowers
1/4 cup marjoram
1 tablespoon passionflower, leaves or petals
Passionflower is a vine grown for its frilly, colored flowers. The leaves and flowers are used as a sedative. To easily dry passionflower, put several flowers and leaves in a small paper bag. Fold the top and secure with a paper clip. Place the bag on the dashboard of your car during the day in the heat of summer. As soon as the herbs have dried (this will take about one day), store them in an airtight container in a darkened place until you're ready to mix your own dream blend.
Roses come in many varieties, but the best ones to use in dream blends are the fragrant varieties of shrub or antique roses. Many of these date back several centuries, unchanged, sturdy and deliciously fragrant. The most ineffective roses to use for dream blends are tea roses. These are bred for show, with little regard to fragrance.
Gather roses for drying during midmorning, right after the dew has dried. Scatter the petals into a little basket and place it in a warm, airy, dark place. With your hands, stir the petals every day until they are dried.
This traveling blend works more like a vacation than a sleepy-time comfort pillow. Author Jim Long has found it brings about dreams of big white fluffy clouds, tropical islands, orchids, pineapples, and soothing sun-drenched beaches.
1 cup rose petals
1 cup mugwort
1/2 cup hops flowers
1/2 cup lemon verbena leaves
1 tablespoon lemongrass, cut in pieces about 1/2 inch long
1 tablespoon jasmine flowers
1 tablespoon chopped mimosa flowers
1 tablespoon mint
2 whole cloves
1 small piece dried orange peel
2 tablespoons marjoram (optional)
Lemongrass, found in Oriental produce stores, is a fresh, bulblike grass. It likes moist-to-wet soil and full sun. To harvest lemongrass, snip off leaf blades and cut them up, then dry them in the shade.
In the fall you may want to cut back the lemongrass, dig up the clump, pot it, and move it inside. In the spring, remove it from the pot and replant it in the garden.
Jasmine flowers are a bit harder to find unless you have a greenhouse and can grow them yourself, or live in a warm climate. The flowers are available in many whole food stores that sell herbs in bulk or by the scoop, or from mail-order suppliers. Fragrance researchers suggest that jasmine is one of the most sensual fragrances for women.
Making Herbal Dream Pillows
Tuck a fragrant dream pillow into your pillowcase tonight and you'll summon long-hidden memories and inspire the dreams you've always wanted. Includes directions for 17 dream blends specially designed to:
Excerpted from Making Herbal Dream Pillows