In the dark cold times of fall and winter, sometimes we need a little pampering. Whether it be to warm our cold bones, sooth our aching muscles after shoveling, or just to use scent to improve our mood, a nice hot bath can be the answer.
Besides being relaxing, baths can be therapeutic. The act of immersing our body in warm water helps open up the pores in our skin making it easy to take in the nutrients of plants.
Typically, I like to use fresh plants in my baths, but when the plants are fresh and growing, it's usually pretty hot outside, which is not when I want to climb in a big hot bathtub. So I dry some herbs specifically for winter baths.
Herbs can be used directly in the bath water, but some people don’t like the cleanup of herbs stuck all over the tub sides, or don’t want the herbs flowing down the plumbing after. This is where a large muslin bag comes in handy. Simply put the herbs in a bag, tie it off, and tie to the faucet so the water runs through it, or just float the bag in the tub. No muslin bag? Use a sock that lost its partner.
Bath for sore muscles and joints~ Epsom salts have magnesium and can work alongside herbs, or can be a carrier for essential oils to soothe sore muscles and calm the body. You can put oils of Lemongrass, any of the pines, rosemary, eucalyptus, wintergreen, and helichrysum. *** Please see safety of essential oils at the end of this article. In your bath bag you can put any of the pines in there~ (pine, fir, juniper or cedar,) rosemary, meadowsweet, ginger, Black pepper, peppermint, lavender, and feverfew.
For relaxing baths, scent is key. Of course Lavender is relaxing. You can use the essential oil or real lavender buds. Chamomile works the same way. Oils of Rose or rose geranium, jasmine, Ylang Ylang, cedarwood, and basil can be added to Epsom salts then added to the bath. Or you can put Rose buds, lemon verbena, lemon balm, Calendula, oats, passion flower, hops and holy basil (Tulsi) into your bath bag for a relaxing bath tea.
You can also brew a tea of nervine herbs like passion flower, catnip, oats, or kava kava, and drink this before or after the bath.
Next time you get some “you” time, brew a cup of herbal tea, light some candles, put on your favorite soothing music and relax in a big cup of herbal tea!
* Always use a proper dilution of essential oils. Most oils should not be used directly in bath water as oils don’t mix with water and will float on the surface. These oils will make direct contact with your skin and more sensitive areas and let me tell you that peppermint or black pepper do not feel good on sensitive skin.*
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