Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dream Pillows Soothe Nightmares of War

The voice on the other end of the phone I’d just answered said, “Hello. I’m Mary. I’m a member of a motorcycle gang, and I want to order some dream pillow materials.”
The caller went on to tell me that her group consisted of several men who had served in Vietnam in the 1960s. Her husband, she said, suf-fered from persistent nightmares from that war and seldom slept through the night without waking in terror. Mary had bought my book, Making Herbal Dream Pillows, at a bookstore, found my website listed and had ordered a dream pillow from my company. “I wanted one from the source,” she said with a laugh.

I was imagining a motorcycle gang, dressed in their leathers, riding the roads on big Harleys, sleeping on the side of the road, roaring through dusty desert towns. How could a sweet little dream pillow fit into that scene?

Without hesitation, Mary began to describe the events that led up to her phone call. She’d ordered the Restful Sleep Pillow, willing to try anything that might help her hus-
band sleep, placed the tiny pillow in-side his pillowcase as they camped, and didn’t tell him. Since the pillows are intentionally made to have a very subtle fragrance, he wasn’t tipped off to its presence.

The first morning after the dream pillow was placed, she said he came to the campfire seeming very relaxed and mentioned that he’d slept through the night. Nothing more was said.
After the second night, she said her husband came to the morning campfire and, as he visited with fel-low road hogs, said, “I’ve slept two nights in a row without nightmares. This fresh air is really good for sleeping!” Mary kept quiet, happy to be seeing results, but not yet certain of the source.

More mornings followed without comment, then on the fifth day her husband said out loud that he’d been almost a week without a flashback nightmare and didn’t know why. Mary sheepishly said it was the dream pil-low she had placed in his pillowcase five nights before. He didn’t believe it, and Mary said, “I’ll prove it,” and dragged his pillow out of their tent. She directed him to fish around in the pillowcase and bring out whatev-er he found as their friends watched.

He was dumbfounded. “I have no idea what this is,” he said, “but it’s amazing and it works, so keep it in the pillowcase.”

The reason for Mary’s call was to say that the six other Vietnam veter-ans in the group all wanted their own dream pillow, and she needed to order materials to make dream pillows as they traveled across the country.

My Restful Sleep Pillow recipe is good for soothing nightmares of all types, and it’s fairly simple to make. But remember, never use any oil, fragrance or essential oil in a dream blend — they make for a very unpredictable dream blend. Always wash the cloth you make the pillow from, as the dye and sizing can cause headaches or nightmares. Finally, use the best, well-dried herbs and flowers (not ones that have been stored with other fragrances).

Restful Sleep Pillow (from my book, Making Herbal Dream Pillows, Storey Publishing, $14.95, available from http://www.Long CreekHerbs.com).

1 tablespoon rose petals (any color as long as they ‘re fragrant and not chemically treated)
1 teaspoon mugwort
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon hops (broken up a bit with your fingers)
Fabric
Thread
Fiberfill

Mix herbs together. Sew previously washed cloth to make a 5-by-5-inch pillow, into which you’ll place some fiberfill, herb mixture and a bit more fiberfill, and sew the pillow closed. To use, simply place the pillow any-where inside your pillowcase — it doesn’t matter where since most people move their heads around during sleep anyway.

Jim Long is a contributing editor to The Herb Companion magazine.

2 comments:

Jacob said...

Hi,
I have seen your Blog... It’s too informative. There are many posts which are really too Good and very useful.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,

Perhaps an odd question, when washing the fabric pre-filling what do you recommend in the way of detergent/conditioner due to fragrances. Or is that irrelevant as it'll air out or be overpowered with the herbal scents.

Warmest wishes Monika