Medicinal Herb Baths

AhhhâÂ?¦ sinking into a big bathtub filled to the brim with steaming water – what could be better? Baths are soothing, relaxing, and with the right medicinal herbs added to your water, they can be healing as well!

If you are feeling under the weather, just the general malaise we so often experience, try adding the common culinary herb thyme (thymus vulgaris) to your bath water. Thyme is an antiseptic medicinal herb and will help you fight off any bugs your immune system might be contending with. Thyme encourages perspiration, which of course helps your body to rid itself of toxins. It is also soothing for the pains of rheumatism and will help bruising and swelling. Steep three to four ounces in one pint of boiling hot water for 10 minutes and add this infusion to your bath.Another common culinary herb, rosemary (rosemarinus officinalis), is an excellent bath additive to stimulate digestive activity, general metabolism, and circulation. You might want to try this bath after overeating at Thanksgiving or Christmas! Or any other time you overindulge a bit� Make an infusion by steeping two ounces of rosemary in one pint of boiling hot water for 10 minutes and add to your bath.

Valerian root (valeriana officinalis) is the medicinal herb that the synthetic drug Valium is based on. Added to a hot bath, it is an excellent remedy for insomnia or other nervous conditions. This one’s a bit more complicated: add three to four ounces of the herb to one quart of cold water and let soak for 10-12 hours. Then bring the mixture to a boil, boil briefly, and add to your bath. Make sure someone’s around to wake you in case you fall asleep in the tub!Another medicinal herb that creates a relaxing bathing experience is German chamomile (matricarea camomilla). Chamomile has long been my tea of choice if I’m having trouble sleeping, and it has the same soporific qualities added to the bath. Steep three to four ounces of the flowers in one quart of boiling water for one hour, then add to your bath. Chamomile is also excellent for skin problems, varicose ulcers, and wounds.

Oat straw is another medicinal herb that is great for skin problems. For this, add one to two pounds of the herb to three to five quarts of water, bring to a boil and boil for 30 minutes, then add to your bath water. Oat straw actually acts to moisturize the skin and is soothing for rheumatic aches as well. Although it may be more difficult to find, an oat straw bath is worth the trouble. Ask at your local health food store or order online at such sites as The Herb Trader, Shop Natural, or The Penn Herb Co.These are excellent sources for bulk chamomile and valerian as well.

Finally, adding ginger to your bath is very stimulating, and powdered ginger can be added directly to the bath water. Ginger is a hot herb, so the more you add, the hotter the bath will seem. Err on the side of caution until you have some experience with ginger baths! Since it encourages perspiration, ginger aids in the release of toxins. It also accelerates circulation of the blood and lymph, again encouraging toxin release.

An alternate method of adding any of these medicinal herbs to your bath water is simply to wrap them in cheesecloth and tie the bundle to the faucet. As the water fills the tub, it will run through the herbs and infuse them into the water. This method will probably not be as effective, as the concentration of the herb’s healing components will not be as strong, but in a crunch this technique will still work to some extent.

I have found medicinal herbal baths to be a wonderful way to take advantage of various herbs’ healing qualities. They work well for children too (though I wouldn’t recommend the ginger for kids). The best part is you get clean at the same time. Happy bathing!

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