One of my favorite products to make as a gift, from my book Organic Body Care Recipes, is the "Dream Maker Herbal Sleep Pillow." Herbal dream or sleep pillows have been used by children and adults for centuries to induce relaxation and melt away the day’s nervous tension. The delicate scent is said to bring on pleasant dreams.
The winter holidays, though a generally happy, festive time, can be overwhelming and exhausting for many, especially with all the errands to do, company to entertain, gift wrapping and tree trimming, and cooking. So December is the perfect time to give such a gently fragrant gift that will transport the recipient, whether young or old, to a calmer, more peaceful place. Your homemade creation will be truly welcomed and treasured for months to come.
Dream Maker Herbal Sleep Pillow
¼ cup chamomile flowers, dried
¼ cup lavender buds, dried
¼ cup lemon balm leaves, dried
¼ cup rose petals, dried
1/8 cup hops, dried
2–3 drops lavender, Roman chamomile, geranium, or sweet orange essential oil
1 3-x-5-inch muslin drawstring bag or decorative, soft-fabric pouch
Place all the herbs in a medium-sized bowl, and stir gently to blend. Add the essential oil, and stir a few more times. Loosely stuff your pouch with the herb mixture, and tie it or sew it tightly. If you make your own pouch, fabrics such as flannel, sand-washed silk, satin, velveteen, and brushed cotton are soft and inviting. A dream pillow has a relatively short shelf life because the herbs are exposed to air. The scent lasts for a couple of months if you store the pillow in a nightstand, away from heat and light. I usually store mine in a ziplock plastic bag to preserve the freshness of the volatile oils.
Note: The amounts of herbs listed are a close approximation of what you’ll need and can vary depending on the size of plant materials and your particular pouch size. Don’t pack your pillow so tightly that the herbs can’t breathe and move.
Simply tuck your fragrant pouch into your pillowcase right before going to sleep, or do as I do, and hold it close to your face. Breathe deeply, and drift off.
Recommended for: Insomniacs in need of deep sleep and sweet dreams
Use: Daily if you wish
Prep Time: Approximately 10 minutes (if you use a premade muslin drawstring bag)
Yield: One dream pillow
Stephanie Tourles is a licensed holistic esthetician who has been practicing and teaching healthy living for more than 20 years. She is also a certified aromatherapist, with extensive training in the nutritional sciences, and is the author of Organic Body Care Recipes, among other books on natural body care. Stephanie lives in Maine with her husband and pets. You can find her Web site at www.stephanietourles.com.