For centuries, people have stuffed their mattresses, pillows and sachets with natural herbs and flowers,to give the area they sleep in a lovely aromatic smell, ward of illness and evil spirits and also to help them relax and fall asleep.
Herb, sleep or dream pillows can be purchased. Or, you can make your own quite easily:
Select cotton, muslin or linen fabric, place right sides together and cut into two square pieces (say, 4 to 6 inch square), allow half an inch for seam allowance. Sew up the 3 sides of your cloth, by hand or machine – leaving 1 side open for stuffing. Turn fabric right side out and press with an iron. Fill with the herbs of your choice, such as hops, lemon balm and lavender for restful sleep. A fixative such as orris root powder mixed with the dried herbs will help the herbs retain their fragrance for longer. Sew up the remaining side to close. If you wish, you could add decorations to your pillows, such as lace, ribbons, etc. The completed pillow can then be placed under or into your regular sleep pillow. Or next to you, on top of your pillow.
As you become more proficient at making the pillows you can make different styles (with additional filling for extra softness or firmness such as polyester filling, rice, etc) – heart shaped pillows, rectangular ones, or even animal or doll shaped ones – like the one I made and sold recently from my Etsy shop (Night Time Etie). Etie contains chammomile herb which is good for restful sleep. Herb pillows also make wonderful and gifts for family and friends. My Missy Comfort Pillow range contain herbs and polyester filling – here is one of them:
An excellent book to read is ‘Making Herbal Dream Pillows’ by Jim Long. It contains details of blends the author has formulated. For example there are blends to inspire creative dreaming, some to comfort you when travelling, others to evoke romantic dreams, etc.
The web is also a good source of recipes and blends. There are also articles on the proprieties, historical background, countries of origin, etc of the many different herbs.
If making herb pillows for yourself or others – please ensure that you or the recipient is not allergic to any of the herbs or plants used. If in doubt, please consult a doctor or herbalist.