Hops are the most effective used herb in sleep pillows. The female hop cones create lupulin under there bracts. Lupulin is a powdery substance that creates a mild narcotic sedative, which can induce relaxation and peacefulness during sleep.
To make them, you would use the dried hop flower, better known for flavoring beer . You want to be sure you have a sweet hop variety, like maybe the Fuggle or Golding.
Sweet Hop Mix*
4 cups hop bracts
2 Tbs. ground allspice
2 Tbs. dried orange peel
2 Tbs. lemon balm
2 Tbs. pinhead orris root mixed with a few drops of essential oils of allspice and neroli (orange blossom)
Will fill a pillow 12-14 inches square or you can make many small filled socks. Anything you have laying around. To mild the smell of hops, if too potent add lime flowers, lemon verbena, rosemary, chamomile, lavender, rose, thyme or mint. You don't have to follow this recipe, be creative.. Think about the herbs that smell good to you and use them.
Note: Replace every 4-6 months. Stale hops release a horrible scent that may keep you awake. *
CAUTION: Two important things to keep in mind with hops! **
1. Should not be used with pregnant women because of estrogenic-like activity. **
2. Do Not use if on prescription sedatives and/or sleep medications unless instructed by physician. **
* "Sweet dreams are made of this", Vegetarian Times, Sep 1995, Pg 83
** "Sweet Dreams herbs for sleep and relaxation", Better Nutrition, Oct 2000, Pg 62