From this very interesting site: Herbal Musings~
“For centuries, the fragrance of herbs have been captured in pillows and sweet bags to purify and scent the home. They were known by European mothers anxious to lure their offspring into tranquil sleep, by those seeking relief from headache or depression, and by the solitary who yearned to find true love. Fragrant herbs were sewn into pillows and placed at the head of the bed or between the linens. Often, their scent would be carried from open doorways and windows where they were carefully hung. During medieval times, herbal pillows and sachets were actually more of a necessity than mere fanciful decorations. They were actually designed to mask the consequences of poor sanitary conditions of the time, when fresh air was considered potentially dangerous.
It was the lady of the house who took pride in making these preparations and spent considerable time doing so. One can recall perhaps, grandmother’s rose jar lovingly placed in the “best room” where her guests would benefit from the jar’s sweet aroma. When visitors came to call, the lid was lifted and the contents stirred to release the soothing perfume. In all probability, she also made sachets or sweet bags to scent her linen and fine articles of clothing. She may even have placed small pillows of fragrant herbs near her head upon retiring to prevent nightmares and assure a good nights rest.
Today, herbal pillows are all but neglected as sleeping aids. But, if you’re willing to take a chance on this simple indulgence, they stand a good chance of resurrection.
Herbal pillows are made by sewing dried herbs into a square of cloth or bag, but without a fixative, their aroma is short lived. Many herbs lose much of their original scent when dried.
The lovely scent of the rose for instance, is greatly diminished when dried. Fixatives help to retain and develop the fragrant combination of herbs used in making potpourri, the base material for making herbal pillows.
Spices add an interesting scent to the potpourri mixture, and also act as fixatives. Cinnamon is derived from a tree (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), grown in China, India, and the East Indies, and was used during Biblical times to make holy oils to anoint priests and altars. The familiar sticks, obtained from the inner bark of a young tree, may be ground and added to the potpourri mixture.
Sandalwood (Santalum album), native to the Malabar Coast, is another enticing additive. Since ancient times the wood of this tree was used for making fans, musical instruments, and to line closets to ward off moths. Sandalwood is also burned at the altar, and eventually became an important ingredient in incense burned in synagogues. The chips, or shavings, are most suitable for potpourri.
Various materials are suitable for pillow coverings, such as velvet, silk, or chintz. A layer of muslin or cotton should be placed between two evenly sized squares of material, which can be 12 to 18 inches, or whatever size you care to make the pillow…On this layer, the potpourri is added, and another thin layer of cotton or muslin is placed on top…Decorating the pillows with bits of ribbon, buttons, lace, or everlastings, adds a personal finishing touch, and will help to make your dreams a little bit sweeter.”
*I didn’t include every last detail from this site so visit the original post for more info. A very worthy site.
From another informative site I discovered:
“For centuries, herbs have been used to induce a restful sleep. Herbs have been traditionally steeped in teas, used in baths or simmered in aromatherapy pots to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere that allows one to fall into a deep slumber. An herbal sleep pillow is another time-honored way to use the sleep-inducing power of herbs. An herbal sleep pillow provides a continuous scent of lavender and mint that works all night. The pillow also serves as a room freshener during the day, filling the bedroom with the light fragrance of mint and lavender.”
And Sweet dreams~
*Please note, I linked the images so that if you click on a picture it will take you to the site where you can glean yet more information about herbal sleep pillows or purchase those that they make, all depending on the site~