Ever thought you could dream on a pillow of tea? Me neither. In fact, when I was asked awhile back if I wanted to try a tea pillow, my first thought was, “Get real. A pillow made of tea?” It was a reasonable question. After all, tea is, well, you know, sort of liquidy, at least after being steeped. In dry form, tea is just a bunch of tiny pieces of dried leaves from the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis), not the sort of thing one considers suitable for dreamland. Duck feathers, foam, etc., are strong contenders, but not little crunchy bits. Nevertheless, I agreed to give it a try.
Now, I’m not a massage therapist, nor am I into aromatherapy (as Madam Potts is). In fact, most of the scents used in aromatherapy seem to have the very opposite effect on me that they are supposed to have. For example, sandalwood does not make me feel calm; it makes me sneeze and causes my head to start pounding like drums in the jungle. Must be that hyper-sensitive sniffer of mine — a gift and a curse, as “Adrian Monk” used to say.
The gift part of that is when I say something smells good, you can depend on it. The curse part is that when something smells bad, I have to be very careful around it or suffer the consequences. That’s as true for tea as for any other odoriferous substance.
Of course, being an avid tea drinker who lives the “tea life,” I have experienced a variety of tea scents, ranging from the subtle to the dreamy to the downright horrendous. Each scent can evoke a different emotional reaction in me. The malty aroma of Assam can bring to mind images of early morning fog floating over the green grass and slowly burning off as the sun warms the chilly air. The seaweedy scent of a fresh Japanese Shincha (a special green tea that should be used within a month of purchase) carries with it images of the sea: gulls riding the air currents while keeping a sharp eye looking out for their next meal, waves tipped with white foam as they are blown inland by winds that have traveled great distances across the oceans, and atoms of seasalt mixed in the air that fills my lungs.
The scent of the tea pillow that finally arrived (several months after that initial inquiry and my acquiescence) conveyed a plethora of images. The paperwork didn’t specify, but I suspect it was full of Tie Guan Yin — earthy, woodsy, and reminiscent of a day I spent mushroom-picking years ago, ferreting on the ground for those tasty fungi among the fallen tree leaves in various states of decomposition. For some strange reason, I also had images of the nine main dragons of China come to mind: Dilong the Underground Dragon, the Dragon King, Yinglong the Winged Dragon, Tianlong the Celestial Dragon, Shenlong the Spiritual Dragon, Fucanglong the Dragon of Hidden Treasures, Panlong the Coiling Dragon, Li the Homeless Dragon, and Huanglong the Yellow Dragon — all symbolizing the qualities of beauty, friendship, and wisdom to us mere mortals.
You can well imagine the dreams that scent inspired. Let’s just say that a Freudian psychiatrist would probably have a field day interpreting them.
One of my concerns with something like this tea pillow is having the scent fade over time. Years ago I made sachets from the petals of a dozen roses received on Valentines Day. They had a strong and pleasant aroma at first. That fragrance faded a few months after the sachets were placed in the drawers of my linen cabinet. Could the same happen with this tea pillow? When not in use, maybe this tea pillow should be kept in a plastic, airtight bag. I’m not too crazy about the shocking pink fabric either, but if I’m asleep and not looking at it (naturally, since I’m prone to sleeping with my eyes closed) the fabric color shouldn’t be a problem.
All in all, I think my final assessment would be that I would rather steep the tea than dream on it. As pleasant as this pillow smells, one whiff makes me thirsty, not sleepy. The aroma is a bit distracting when I’m trying to drop off to the “land of Nod.” But that’s me. Just about anything can keep me awake unless I’m totally exhausted. A nice cuppa Chamomile, though, is a big help.
For now, I’ll just keep this tea pillow in its plastic bag for my next road trip or airplane ride. Time to go have a nice cup of tea. Snore!
Before heading off to Dreamland, make sure to spend some time checking out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!