November 09, 2022
Herbal baths are a great way to relax at the end of the day. Adding herbs to your bath routine provides several health benefits ranging from relaxing aromatherapy to improved circulation, detoxification and skin health. Read on for recipes and recommendations about our favorite herbal baths.
For a simple herbal bath, we first prepare a concentrated herbal "tea" to add to our regular bathwater. We recommend against adding dried herbs directly to the bathwater, for two reasons: (1) the water temperature is not high enough to draw out the full medicinal benefits of the herbs, and (2) the herbal material can easily clog your drain if you're not careful to skim it out before draining the tub.
For making the herbal tea, a good rule of thumb is to use 1 ounce of dried herb for each quart of water. If you don't have a scale handy, use 1 TBSP of dried herb per 8 ounces of water. We recommend preparing at least two cups of herb-infused water to add to your bathwater. For a stronger bath, use four or more cups.
For delicate, aromatic herbs like chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, yarrow or rose: pour freshly boiled water over the herbs, cover (to prevent those precious essential oils from evaporating), and steep for around 10 minutes. Strain the herbal material out. Draw your bath and add the infused herbal tea water to your bathwater.
For hardier, woody, or resinous herbs like calendula, ginger, roots or tree barks: get an appropriately sized sauce pan or stock pot, fill with your measured water, and bring to a boil on the stove. Once water is boiling, reduce heat to low for a gentle simmer. Add your herbs, cover, and stir occasionally for 20 minutes. Take off heat, carefully strain, and add your The technical name for this process is making an herbal "decoction." This method helps break down hard herbal materials like barks, roots and seeds, and draws out the medicinal properties in resinous herbs. Add the strained liquid to your bathwater.
There are several optional additions you that can complement your herbs and elevate your bath. Most popular are probably bath salts like epsom salt, dead sea salt, or himalayan pink salt. Salts, especially epsom salt, can help relax sore muscles. Oats are another classic addition which adds an extra skin-soothing dimension. We recommend whole rolled oats contained in a muslin bag. Powdered milk (cow's milk or coconut milk) is gaining popularity as a bathing ingredient - it's said that the lactic acid in cow's milk helps gently exfoliate dry skin. Another nice addition is clay - bentonite or French green clay are said to provide a mineral-rich bathing experience and also promote detoxification. When adding clay, first mix the clay with warm water until fully dissolved, then add to the bath. Anywhere between 1/4 cup to 1 cup of clay is recommended per bath.
Chamomile relaxes the mind, body and spirit, and soothes the skin. It can be particularly helpful for itchy, red, or rashy skin. It has a pleasant apple-like aroma that has a wide appeal. It is very gentle and safe, making it a great choice for children of all ages, including infants.
Calendula is a staple skin healing herb. It helps speed wound healing, especially cuts and scrapes. Calendula improves the circulation of lymph, calms dry skin, and also has anti-microbial action. A Calendula bath would be appropriate to help ease skin irritations like rashes, bug bites, topical yeast infections, cat scratches, and extremely dry, cracked skin.
Lavender is another calming herb that is perfect for a unwinding after a long day. Lavender helps alleviate stress, anxiety, and tension. Studies have shown that diffusing lavender essential oil in the bedroom can help people fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly. It has a stronger, medicinal and floral scent compared to Chamomile. A mixture of the two is quite nice. Lavender also has a general cleansing and antimicrobial activity.
Ginger is a warming herb that is helpful for alleviating muscle pain and soreness. It has a pleasant spicy, earthy scent that has a grounding and centering effect. A ginger bath would be recommended for anyone with stiff, painful, achey muscles or joints.