Dream Pillows

Dream Pillows: Aromatherapy Part II ~ continued.

Dream pillows have been made for hundreds of years, dating back to the days when herbs were believed to have magical powers. Fragrance unlocks pleasant memories that play out in our dreams in a most delightful way. Dream pillows ~ or comfort pillows ~ are used for inducing sleep and vivid dreams. They were often used in the sickroom to ease the nightmares that may come with medicine and the smells of illness. Tucked into your regular pillowcase, the subtle scents that emanate from a small dream pillow will aid in better sleep and more lucid dreams, perhaps summoning long-hidden memories.

Scents do evoke memories, especially florals, perhaps of childhood days when there wasn’t a care in the world. Since everyone’s sense of smell is different, you really must experiment with different plant materials to find your preferences. Most everyone likes lavender, and makes a nice relaxing base scent for a sleep bag. Other herbs may cause more action packed dreams!  For the frequent traveler, herbal dream blends are meant to give quiet rest, a familiar scent and peacefulness to inspire confidence and ensure the fullest enjoyment of the trip. Make one for yourself prior to a vacation or business trip!

The healing energies of aromatic herbs and flowers are designed to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Nurture your creative spirit
  • Inspire romantic thoughts
  • Increase mental clarity and awareness

Here’s a listing of commonly used pillow herbs:

chamomile – relaxation, pleasant dreams
balsam fir needles – relaxing, soothing
dill – comes from Norse word “dilla” meaning ‘to lull’, helps one to fall asleep
hops- relaxation, pleasant dreams , strong scent
sage – “helps dreams come true”
thyme – to bring dreams of fairies
orange peel – protected and safe feelings
sweet woodruff – protection from nightmares and bad thoughts of others.
lavender- eases headaches, promotes psychic cleansing
marjoram – healthy thoughts
mints – adds vividness and alert feelings to dreams.
rose – loving thoughts, can be exotic or even erotic
rosemary – keeps away bad dreams.
red clover – prosperity
lemon grass – prophetic dreams
mugwort – for remembering dreams, vivid dreams
damiana – sensual dreams, aphrodisiac
patchouli – sensual, erotic, aphrodisiac, haunting
leather scraps – wild west dreams, action and excitement

Some herbs to avoid: chamomile for people prone to allergies, other sages, tansy, and artemisias may cause nightmares.

Dream pillows are easy to make with little effort. A simple muslin bag works well as a sleep or dream bag to tuck inside your pillowcase. You can make prettier pillows (or sachets) with floral fabric, lace and ribbons, vintage buttons, hand-stamped messages, and so on… to set on the bed as both decoration and mood setting.

The following recipes will help to get you started. The muslin bags should be filled about 1/2 way with herb mixture so that they will flatten in your pillowcase.

Restful Sleep
1/2 part hops
1 part marjoram
1/2 part linden
12 part orange granules
1 part lavender
1 part chamomile

Relaxing Sleep
1/2 part catnip
1 part lavender
1 part mugwort

Lovely Dreams
1 part mugwort
1/2 part roses
1/2 part chamomile
1/2 part lavender
1/4 part peppermint

Explore your own fav custom herbal ‘recipe’ blend… and ♥ sweet ♥ dreams!

Fragrance – One of Nature’s Greatest Gifts

A Cursory Overview: Aromatherapy 101

Aromatherapy is the art of using fragrance or scent to achieve a physiological effect – elevated moods, relaxation, energizing – healing the body and mind.

source: theveryessence.com

How Does “Smell” Work?

Our ability to smell is estimated to be 10,000 times more sensitive than taste. A scent travels chemical pathways to a section of the brain called the limbic system. Olfactory receptors send messages to the brain which triggers memories and emotions. Some scents have the ability to gear-up glands to increase hormone production. Less understood are effects on enhancing immune system, healing wounds, relieving nausea, etc. Also, fragrance makes a major contribution to the taste of food.

Scent Source – What Are Essential Oils?

They’re not an “oil”. Rather, they’re a concentrated volatile essence of plants, flowers, or trees obtained through evaporation or distillation.  Essential oils work by being absorbed by your skin which is the largest organ of your body. They may also be inhaled via your lungs into your bloodstream. While every essential oil has a specific purpose/effect, they’re not always achieved by everyone who uses them.

Precautions and Safety Information

  • Respect the use of essential oils; they are very concentrated – less is best!
  • Use essential oils externally only!
  • Always dilute essential oils in a carrier or base oil before using.
  • Some oils may cause irritation, burning or photosensitivity. Test your skin’s sensitivity.
  • Some essential oils may affect medications you may be taking or physical conditions, such as pregnancy, prone to seizures, high blood pressure, etc. Consult your physician!

Storage Tips

Store essential oils in dark glass bottles away from light and heat. Plastic may deteriorate over time. Label properly and keep out of reach of children and pets. Protect the surface of fine furniture.

Suggested Uses of Essential Oils

  • Massage Oils
  • Bath Salts       
  •  Lotions/Topical Applications
  • Diffusers
  • Scented Candles
  • Potpourri/Simmering Pots
  • Facial Steam
  • Compress

Commonly Used Carrier or Base Oils

Carrier oils are used as a dilutant for essential oils since essential oils should not be used “neat”, or applied directly to the skin (lavender and tea tree are a few exceptions). Not all carrier oils can be used as 100% of your base oil. Do your homework and select appropriate oil for the intended use.

Apricot Kernel – Good for all skin types; can be used 100% – normally used at 10-50% base.

Avocado – Useful for eczema or dry skin; heavy/thick, use 10-25% of base oils.

Castor Oil – Good for chapped, dry skin, massage; dissolves in water; 10-100% of base.

Coconut Oil – Long shelf life, does not clog pores; irritant to some people; use 10-50%.

Olive Oil – Use for hair/nail care, cosmetics; helpful for inflamed skin. Has a distinct natural odor; 10-50% base solution.

Grapeseed Oil – Good for all skin types; absorbed easily into skin. Slightly astringent properties; tones & tightens skin. Can be used at 100% of the base oil.

Jojoba – Actually a liquid wax  & yellow in color obtained from the jojoba bean. Good for all skin types and closest to natural sebum. Quickly absorbed by skin; soothing for inflamed skin, psoriasis or dermatitis. May help in the treatment of acne; anti-oxidant properties. Used as 10-100% of base oil.

Sunflower Seed – Good for all skin types and easily available. Especially good for bruises, cradle cap, diaper rash. Easily absorbed and little or no natural odor. Can be used as 100%.

Sweet Almond Oil – Pale yellow in color; good for all skin types. Help relieve itching, dryness, inflammation & soreness. Non-penetrating, used in massage as 100% base.

Wheat Germ Oil – Yellowish oil good for all skin types except those w/wheat allergy; 10-30% base.

There’s so much more to explore…wishing you whole wellness!