Herbal Bath Benefits And Recipes

De-stress at the end of the day - one benefit of using these herbal bath recipes.

Soaking in an herbal bath for at least 20 minutes is one of the easiest ways to unwind after a busy day. The warmth of the water helps release tension, and adding herbs to the bath benefits the body, mind, and spirit. Herbs possess therapeutic properties that can soothe your skin and relax muscles and joints, and stimulate the circulation. As an added bonus, many of them also smell good.

If possible, use herbs straight from the garden or buy them fresh and entire. When buying dried herbs buy whole flowers, leaves, bark, and roots whenever possible. There are two methods for adding herbs to the bath. The first is to make an herbal infusion, which involves steeping herbs in boiling water. The second is to make a decoction in which herbs are simmered in water for a period of time. Decoctions are stronger than infusions.

Infusions

The easiest way to make an infusion is to use a small pouch filled with herbs, similar to a teabag. To create a pouch, simply cut a square of cotton muslin or fine cheesecloth and lay the herbs on top of it. Gather the cloth together and tie with string to secure it. If you want to make a permanent bag that is a bit fancier, you can sew a casing and thread a ribbon or string through it to tie the bag with.

Hang the bag of herbs around the faucet""just make sure they are out of the stream of water""then fill the tub with hot water. You can also place the pouch into a bathtub as it is filling. In a pinch you can even use herbal tea bags such as green tea, peach, or cinnamon spice to make an infusion in the tub.

To make an infusion without an herbal pouch, place loose herbs in one quart of boiling water and let steep in a covered stainless steel saucepan for at least one hour, and then strain. Pour the infusion into the bath water.

Decoctions

To make an herbal decoction, place herbs in a stainless steel saucepan. Depending on the herbs, you might need to crush them using a mortar and pestle or a small food processor, especially when using bark, stems or leaves. Flowers do not need to be crushed. Cover the herbs with a couple of inches of water, and then simmer for 20 minutes. Strain, and pour into bath water.

Recipes

The herbs used in these bath recipes will stimulate your senses and leave you feeling delightfully refreshed, relaxed, soothed, and invigorated. Follow the methods for infusions or decoctions above using the quantities of herbs specified. Essential oils that complement the herbs are suggested, but optional. Tossing in a few tablespoons of sea salt can also enhance the bathing experience.

Soothing Herbal Bath

Infusion of 1/4 cup each of comfrey leaves, chamomile flowers, calendula flowers, and Artemisia leaves. Lemon essential oil.

Decoction of 1/2 pound of fresh pine needles (no need to crush).

Refreshing Herbal Bath

Infusion or decoction of 1/4 cup each of spearmint, sage, and thyme leaves, and 2 tablespoons of fresh or 1 tablespoon of dried orange peel. Grapefruit essential oil.

Relaxing Herbal Bath

Infusion of 1/4 cup each of sweet marjoram leaves, lavender leaves and flowers, dried or fresh rose petals, and chamomile flowers. Bitter orange essential oil. If using fresh rose petals do not include them in the infusion and add them to bath separately.

Scented Herbal Bath

Infusion or decoction of 1/4 cup each of dried or fresh rose petals, lavender leaves and flowers, and rose geranium leaves. Lavender essential oil. For the decoction crush the lavender and macerate rose geranium leaves. Add the rose petals to the bathwater.

Decoction of 5 to 8 pieces of cinnamon bark. Crush the bark with a mortar and pestle.

Invigorating Herbal Bath

Infusion of 1/4 cup each of peppermint, rosemary, and nettle leaves, and 8 to 10 pieces of thinly sliced ginger rhizome (root). Eucalyptus essential oil.

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