As the heat of spring transitions into summer breezes, I find myself drawn to the coziness of being indoors. Just as plants draw their energy to the roots this time of year, allowing ourselves to go inward through self-care rituals can sustain us during the busy season of feasts and giving. Water is an essential element for physical and emotional wellbeing. The sensuous comfort water provides connects us back to our bodies, and sometimes, this simple pleasure is the perfect medicine for whatever ails us. Taking care of yourself should not be a challenge, but after a long day it can be hard to fit in one more thing — even if it is good for you. Herbal baths are a simple and relaxing way to support your well-being while winding down. Using the power of herbs and the soothing of warm water, you can absorb supportive plant constituents through the largest organ in your body: your skin. Making an herbal bath is a variation on an activity you’re likely familiar with: making tea. By making a strong herbal tea and adding it to your bathwater, you can get the full benefits of water-soluble plant medicine without leaving your tub a big mess of dried flowers and leaves. As with preparing herbal teas to drink, extracting a plant’s constituents in water synergizes its healing properties and makes them more bioavailable to us. Submerging ourselves in this primal botanical elixir allows the body’s largest organ, our skin, to absorb the beneficial properties of herbs while also engaging the olfactory system through the power of fragrance.
Making an herbal bath tea is easy. All you need are these basic ingredients to start, then you can customize depending on what you like:
Dried herbs. Any herb you’d use in herbal tea to drink can be used for a herbal bath. While there are specific herbs that help with specific physical states, any aromatic herb will offer benefits of relaxation and ease. Lavender, peppermint, and even kitchen herbs such as sage, rosemary, and thyme can be lovely additions to a bath tea. If you want to make your bath truly special, roses always elevate the experience and have the added benefit of toning the skin.
Epsom Salt. Epsom salts are a classic bath ingredient — and probably the simplest! Just add two cups to a full, warm bath and soak to reap the muscle-relaxing and pain-reducing benefits of magnesium.
- Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the dried herbs.
- Cover, and let steep for at least 20 minutes.
- Strain the liquid through a tea strainer, cheesecloth, or an old, clean shirt.
- Add the tea directly to a full, warm bath. For additional relaxation, add 2 cups of Epsom salts directly to the bath.
- Check the temperature to make sure it is comfortable, and get on in! Try to soak for at least 20 minutes to receive the full benefits of the bath.
Note: If your herbal bath includes roots, you may want to simmer the herbs and water on the stove for 20 minutes rather than just pouring hot water over the herbs and letting them steep.
Benefits of herbal bath:
Relax tense muscles, open pores, encourage digestion, improve circulation, soften the skin, assist in natural detoxification, boost the immune system, promote restful sleep. All of this becomes especially important during the chilly months when colds hit, our diets change, and skin becomes dry. Using the healing properties of plants can elevate these processes. Depending on your specific needs and preferences, you can use different medicinal leaves, flowers, and oils to customize your herbal bath experience for relaxation, invigoration, or replenishment.Whether you are drawing a bath infused with medicinal herbs or lathering on a natural and nourishing lotion, these healthy habits are fundamental to whole body wellness. In this busy era, it can often be hard to fully show up for ourselves and commit to these simple acts of self-love. When we weave herbs into wellness, these practices become even more enticing, like a sweet treat we want to indulge in again and again.