Bathing in water infused with the goodness of herbs, essential oils and other healthful ingredients is a lovely, healing way to care for yourself or another. These five different methods for making an herbal bath are easy to do, allowing you to customize your healing experience. And most of all to have fun! All of these baths can be packaged and made into wonderful gifts (with the exception of the fresh milk baths) for friends and family.
“Herbal baths can be extremely therapeutic. When you are immersed in water, the pores of the skin are open and receptive to the healing properties of the herbs; it’s a highly effective method of treatment.”
~ Rosemary Gladstar, Family Herbal
These instructions and recipes are intended as guidelines for your own creation.
Try combinations out and find what you love!
~ Bath Salts ~
Bath salts are the easiest to baths to make and people love to receive them as a gift.
Epsom Salts contain magnesium which can help to relax and soothe muscles
Other Salts, optional. Here the possibilities are endless! Each salt has it’s own properties for enhancing health. One of my favorites is a lovely Pink Himalayan Salt, it dissolves wonderfully in the bath and I find it to be very relaxing.
Baking Soda softens the skin and assists in relieving itching
Mix together salts and baking soda to equal 2 cups total. I like to use 1 ½ cup epsom salt and ½ cup baking soda to keep things simple yet effective. You can mix it up however you like. Next add up to 10 drops of essential oil to every 2 cups of your salt/baking soda mixture. Mix well to break up any clumping. This makes enough bath salt for one to two baths depending on the size of your tub.
~ Floating Bath Oils ~
These are a true luxury! The oil will float on the top of your bath water, moisturize your skin and smell amazing. The concept is quite simple. Choose a nourishing carrier oil and combine with essential oils for a bathtime treat!
Carrier Oil such as nourishing and popular almond; light-weight apricot great for sensitive skin; olive which is wonderful for dry skin or rich avocado full of vitamins and essential fatty acids.
For each ounce of carrier oil mix in 10 to 12 drops of the essential oils of your choice. Shake or stir vigorously. Use a teaspoon or two in your bath and enjoy! Store extra oil in a capped dark glass jar. Be forewarned that bath oils can leave a slippery residue the tub, so be careful getting in and out.
~ Steeped Baths Made ~
With Leaves & Flowers
Any combination of herbs that calls to you is perfect for this kind of bath. I have even made wonderful baths simply from the culinary herbs in my kitchen! The following list of bath herbs includes information on the common uses of each herb and it is by no means exhaustive.
Lavender Blossoms: cleansing and relaxing inducing a sense of calm.
Chamomile Flowers: gently eases the nerves and soothes the skin, great for kids.
Calendula Flowers: very skin-soothing and even promotes cell repair making it a great healing herb in the bath.
Elder Flowers: relieve inflammation while toning and cleansing the skin
Lemon Balm Leaf: calming and helps to induce sleep as well as relieve nervous agitation.
Rosemary Leaf: relieves fatigue and is a cleansing tonic for the skin.
Here are two ways to make an herbal bath.
One is to put a handful of each herb you are using in a large pot. Fill the pot with water and heat to almost boiling, keeping a lid on the pot so the essential oils from the herbs don’t evaporate. Take the pot off the heat and let your bath infuse for 20 minutes to a few hours. Then strain the liquid directly into your tub, fill the tub the rest of the way with water and your bath is ready.
The other method is to fill a cloth, muslin bag or even a sock with your herbal mixture. Close the top and toss your herb bundle into a tub filled with the hottest water you have. Walk away for a while and give your bath time to cool down to a comfortable temperature. When you come back your bath will have infused right in the tub! This is a great method for making prepacked baths to have next to your tub or even to give away as gifts.
~ Oatmeal Bath ~
Have you ever taken an oatmeal bath? Perhaps to sooth a rash? Oatmeal is well known for providing wonderful relief for dry, itchy skin making it perfect for winter time or anytime your skin needs a little extra TLC.
Oatmeal, no instant oatmeal please!
Herbs if desired, see above
This really couldn’t be easier. Just like with the herbal bath, simply fill a cloth bag, wash cloth or sock with oatmeal. Add whatever herbs you would like, I particularly enjoying using rose petals, calendula and chamomile in an oatmeal bath. Toss your bundle into a tub filled with hot water and let it steep to a good temperature. Add a couple drops of essential oil if desired and climb in. Use your bundled oatmeal as a milky, gooey nourishing scrub on your body and face.
~ Milk Bath ~
Milk baths are an indulgence that anyone can partake in. Milk in the bath helps to exfoliate dead cells leaving your skin fresh and renewed. It also assists in moisturizing and soothing inflammation.
Powdered or Fresh Milk, try to get milk from happy cows that are cared for with respect!
There are many ways to make a milk bath.
One way, in fact the easiest way, is to just dump a couple cups of milk powder or fresh milk into the tub. Add a few drops of essential oil and some honey then slide in and relax.
Another way is to mix powdered milk with herbs and essential oils. (I love adding oatmeal to this type of bath just makes it even more soothing!) Put it all in a cloth bag, sock or bundle in a wash cloth. Then, you guessed it, toss the bundle into a tub of hot water and let infuse until cool enough to bathe.
The most decadent way to make a milk bath is to infuse fresh milk with herbs (fresh or dried) before adding the milk to the tub. Infuse a ½ cup to 1 cup of herbs in 2 to 4 cups of warm milk for a couple of hours. Strain off the milk into the tub. Add some honey if you wish and soak!
Visit my guide to Essential Oils For Use In Bathing to learn about essential oils to use in your creations.