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I purely cannot remember when I first started making them, but I’ve always found them to be quite enchanting. It’s definitely been a long time, as I recall that my daughter (now grown with children of her own) was in grade school when she had an episode of troubled dreams that were disrupting her sleep.
At first I tried the ‘change the channel’ approach of flipping her bed pillow over, but that only worked a few times. I finally made her a dream pillow to slip into her pillowcase, and I recall her blowing me away one night with her question:
“Mom, do these work because of what’s IN them, or because it gives you something to pay attention to?”
“A little bit of both, Sweets, a little bit of both”
A couple of summers ago, when said daughter’s middle son was prone to the occasional tearful toddler meltdown, his older brother took a cue from GramaBee and upon seeing his brother beginning to dissolve in tears, raced to the garden for a sprig of (ready?) MARJORAM with great urgings to ‘smell your medicine plant, Aulii!!’ which DID eventually work. Every time.
Now. Are there chemical constituents in Marjoram that affect the neuro-activity of a weeping child? Oh please. Just like there are chemical constituents in a hug. But ourSELVES can grab hold of a sweet, strong scent and be ok.
So there we are – a little bit of both.
Over the years, I’ve come up with dozens of recipes, often depending on what is at hand. Now that I inhabit the World’s Tiniest Herb Shoppe at Eugene, Oregon’s famous Saturday Market, it was time to get serious about the production of these fun and lovely things.
With a large box of my own ‘gatherings’ on one side of me and the Mountain Rose Herbs catalog in front of me, I set out to concoct a whole series of ‘flavors’. NOBODY does fragrant roses like Mountain Rose.The rose bushes around me that are scrappy enough to grow above where Bambi can reach them unfortunately have no scent. So that was TOP of my shopping list.
What rather started it all was my swooning over my own Clary Sage when it bloomed and learning that while it utterly curls most women’s toes, most men will take a whiff and turn and say exactly the same thing….”What.” in a hilariously deadpan voice. Innnnnnteresting. Combining my Clary Sage with Mountain Rose’s Damiana? Oooh, I’m onto something NOW!
And “Molten Goddess” is born. (with the addition of a few more lovelies) No guarantee of sleeping with THIS one!
As I went down the Mountain Rose list, I came upon Patchouli. But of course! “Tie-Dye DREAMS”!! Patchouli, Jasmine, Hops, this is GREAT. (hey. It’s Eugene)
Delighting in how magnificent both our ever-present Doug Firs and White Cedar are when dried, I began to hatch “NorthWest Nights’ but two evergreens needed softening, so I added a touch of roses there too, along with a bit of LemonBalm (which grows like an absolute WEED here) and a few other things.
These are all fine and fun, but ONE of these probably needs to be a tad ‘therapeutic’, so I started working on “Buoyant Cloud”. Herbs I knew to be softly uplifting and relaxing to actually encourage sleep.
Keeping in mind the wise observance of my daughter so many years ago, I put as much thought into the labels as into the blending of the herbs and flowers themselves:
Roses to sing to your heart
Patchouli for relaxing balance
Lemon Verbena to lift your spirits
Motherwort for a bit of ‘there, there’…….
But perhaps the best was “Blue Malva Flowers for attracting moonbeams” (what???)
This bit of brilliance was a spin-off from a wonderful thread on the Wise Woman Forum where many of us were discussing our SILVERING hair, when someone suggested that the silvering of our hair brings us more in tune with the moon. Absolutely. I had a large bag of Mtn Rose’s Blue Malva Flowers from my days of concocting hair rinses to glorify my own silver streaks. In they go. No, they have no real SCENT, but they have PRESENCE.
So four of my ‘flavors’ are quite complex and Molten Goddess is a very limited edition as there is only so much of my own Clary Sage to be had. I decided to do one more – “Sweet and Simple”….just lavender and roses.
If I had to depend ONLY on what I can grow and gather, most of them would be very limited additions.
And so, the sewing begins, although it seems a shame to lock all the pretty colors and textures in fabric, but I put out clear-bottled samples of each so folks can smell and see them at Market.
So here’s to a Gently Uplifting Sleep; a Nostalgic Snooze (guess which one THAT is); Soft, Sweet Slumber; A Magical Nighttime Journey; or a Deep, Magnificent Sleep. (love our evergreens)
This little gem is part of the MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS BLOG CONTEST