Fill­ing sa­chets and pil­lows with aro­matic, sooth­ing herbs is an old tra­di­tion. Make one for your­self and keep it tucked be­side your reg­u­lar pil­low.

Herbs & Superfoods - - Herbs For Sleep & Stress -

Hops, laven­der and chamomile are tra­di­tional herbal in­gre­di­ents for sleep pil­lows, but modern research sug­gests a nose full of cape jas­mine ( Gardenia jas­mi­noides) could also help send you off to dream­land. Re­searchers in Ger­many found that the scent of cape jas­mine is just as ef­fec­tive as val­ium for re­liev­ing anx­i­ety and pro­mot­ing sleep. A fur­ther study found that a mix­ture of es­sen­tial oils that in­cluded laven­der, basil, juniper, and sweet mar­jo­ram re­duced sleep dis­tur­bance and im­proved over­all well­be­ing in older pa­tients. So the next time you head off to bed, remember to place a drop of gardenia oil, or a mix of laven­der, basil, juniper and sweet mar­jo­ram on a tis­sue and leave it be­side your pil­low for a bet­ter night’s sleep.

For a more tra­di­tional rem­edy, make a herbal sleep pil­low filled with fra­grant hops ( Hu­mu­lus lupu­lus). The heav­ily scented es­sen­tial oil from the fe­male hops has mild seda­tive prop­er­ties that may help al­le­vi­ate in­som­nia and ease anx­i­ety and ten­sion. Fill a small bag with fresh hops and sew it closed, then sleep with the bag in such a way that you can smell it. Or slip it inside your reg­u­lar pil­lowslip, on top of your reg­u­lar pil­low. Re­place it ev­ery four to six months as the ther­a­peu­tic prop­er­ties of hops di­min­ishes over time.

You could also try laven­der in your pil­low, or a vari­a­tion of herbs: 1 cup dried laven­der, 1 cup dried hops, ½ cup dried rose petals, ¼ cup dried lemon balm and ¼ cup dried chamomile.

For a stress-re­duc­ing blend for sa­chets, mix ½ cup hops, ½ cup mug­wort ( Artemisia vul­garis) and 1/ cup sweet mar­jo­ram.

3 Troubled with night­mares? Try scents as­so­ci­ated with your child­hood to bring about a calm­ing re­sponse. Rose petals and clove pinks ( Di­anthus caryophyl­lus) may re­mind you of time in your grand­mother’s gar­den when you were young, or you may remember the smell of gar­de­nias from your mother's per­fume. In­cor­po­rate these into a calm­ing blend: try rose petals, clove pinks, gar­de­nias, rose­mary, laven­der and hops. Or ex­per­i­ment with other herbal fra­grances that you find ap­peal­ing.

For a longer last­ing fra­grance, add a fix­a­tive such as or­ris root, just as you would for pot­pourri. Or­ris root is the dried root of Iris ger­man­ica, Iris flo­rentina or Iris pal­l­ida. When freshly dug, the roots smell earthy, but af­ter a cou­ple of years of dry­ing, the roots take on the scent of vi­o­lets. Chop the dried root finely and add it to your mix.

Can’t sleep be­cause your part­ner is snor­ing due to si­nus or nasal con­ges­tion? Fill a pil­low with eu­ca­lyp­tus leaves and add a drop or two of pep­per­mint oil.

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