Herbs at Bathtime

It’s easy to bring a little herbal health to bath time with you and there are lots of reasons why you should.

Relaxing in a warm bath is, in itself, beneficial as it soothes the skin, stimulates circulation and helps your muscles release any tension that’s built up during the day. Add herbs to the equation and you have the perfect remedy for a tired mind or body. Herbs have many healing and therapeutic properties that benefit not only the skin but your whole self. Some will encourage relaxation, while others will stimulate brain waves, helping to clarify or solve a problem that may have been bothering you.

Herbs that Help

  • For relaxation, choose chamomile, rose and hops
  • For soothing aching muscles, try thyme, lavender and rosemary
  • To relieve stress, combine, rose, jasmine and sage
  • As a pick-me-up, choose between peppermint and rosemary
  • To stimulate, try lemon verbena, bay leaf and basil
  • If you’re suffering with a cold, lie back in some eucalyptus-scented water

How to Do It

There are several ways to bring the power of herbs into your bathroom: in a bag, through an infusion, through a decoction, or combined with a milk powder. We’ve suggested one combination of herbs for each method but you can experiment and choose herbs you like or to meet your need.

A Herb Bag

We’ve used cups for measuring out ingredients. The measurements don’t have to very accurate and we suggest you use a medium-sized mug. For information, a cup is 8 fl oz, which is slightly smaller than most mugs, which are 10 fl oz (half-pint).

Make a drawstring bag out of a piece of cheesecloth or muslin. You’ll need to end up with a bag about 4″ square to hold the herbs. Place up to ½ cup of your favourite herbal mix into the bag and pull it tightly shut so the herbs can’t escape. When you’ve used the bag once you can empty it and wash it gently ready to be re-used.

If you can’t face even the little bit of sewing involved in making a drawstring bag, you could have a large square of cheesecloth, place the herbs in the centre and tie some string around the top. Alternatively you could use an old (clean) and worn thin sock!

Let the bag hang under the running water as you fill the bath. Then use the bag as a cloth for washing. For an extra luxurious bath, add ½ cup honey to the running water. Or for a different experience add a couple of tablespoons of sea salt.

For a Herb Bag

  • ½ cup lavender
  • ½ cup sage
  • ½ cup rosemary
  • ½ cup rose petals

Mix and store in an air-tight container and use as desired.

To Make an Infusion

  • ¼ cup sage leaves
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • ¼ cup thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons orange peel (infuse with the herbs)
  • a few drops of grapefruit essential oil (add after straining)

Place herbs in a bowl and pour over 2 pints of freshly boiled water. Leave the herbs to steep for about 30 minutes and then strain and add to your bath water.

To Make a Decoction

  • ¼ cup lavender flowers
  • ¼ cup rose geranium leaves
  • a few drops of grapefruit essential oil (add after straining)
  • ¼ cup rose petals (add to the bath water)

Crush the herbs slightly and then place in a saucepan (not aluminium). Cover with an inch or so of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain and add to your bath water.

Milk Bath

  • 2 cups powdered milk
  • ½ cup cornflour
  • 4 tablespoons dried herbs

Make in advance and store in an airtight container to use as required. When ready to use, make a smooth paste with hot water and add to the bath.

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