Healing Benefits of Bathing with Herbs
Let me ask you, do you herbally leverage your bathing time? (I know, I am not sure anyone has ever put this combination of words together before, herbally leverage…)
If you aren’t into baths or don’t have a bath tub, just click away now…
If you own a bath tub, read on!
If you don’t currently herbally leverage (hmm, kind of like how it sounds) your bath tub time, STICK WITH ME a bit!
This is one of those things that if you just take a little bit of time to implement, the return on your time investment is going to amaze you and you will seriously wonder why you haven’t been doing this all along.
I am telling you up front that my intention is to inspire you to add the home-made herbal luxury of herbal baths to your everyday life.
One of the reasons I love herbal baths so much is that it’s a great way to get your kids to buy into the whole herbal thing early on!!
They can’t help but tear the fresh flowers into a thousand pieces while they are in the tub. They learn about the herbs this way. The texture and aroma permeate their bathing experience and they quickly learn to identify herbs by their smell.
Sometimes they need to use the shower for a few minutes afterwards to wash off all the plant bits that are stuck to their body, but hey – no big deal in the pursuit to create future herbalists!
Herbal bathing routines are a wonderful way to inspire our children to be engaged in their self-care and wellness. Over time they become more empowered in their skill of self-healing. They discover that with herbal bathing techniques, they have the ability to relax, calm themselves down, reduce the inflammation on their skin, disinfect a scratch and cool themselves off after a hot day in the sun.
Herbal bathing helps children to realize that with a little attention, they can take care of their body in very simple ways. Herbal bathing is a valuable tool that we can teach our children that will support them throughout their lives.
Ok, ‘nuff said! Let’s talk about some favorite bathing herbs and what they can do for you!
Part used: flowers and leaves
There are many kinds of lavender. I like Lavendula angustufolia the best. However, use the lavender that you have growing and like the smell of. Some lavender plants have had the aroma hybridized out of them, they are beautiful but don’t have much smell. When using fresh lavender, choose aromatic lavender for your bathing. This is not a problem with dried lavender, if someone took the time to dry it and sell it to you, it will be aromatic!
There is nothing like the pampered feeling of a revitalizing lavender bath. Lavender has so many therapeutic uses including being anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. We usually turn to lavender for its relaxing benefits, but it has many more uses!
The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of lavender make it a first-rate healer for cuts and minor skin inflammation and infection. Lavender helps heal acne, eczema and minor burns. Think of taking a lavender bath when you have any kind of skin inflammation. It cools your skin and calms your mind. A lavender bath also serves as a refreshing tonic that can relive headaches, muscle strain, stress, tension and general aches and pains.
As you sit in a lavender bath and breathe in the aroma, it helps to keep away congestion and colds. Lavender is true to the Latin roots of its name; Lavare, which means to wash. It washes away skin problems, colds and tension.
Parts used: flowering tops
Chamomile is a timeless bathing remedy. It is calming, relaxing and soothing. It quiets the nervous system and is the healing remedy of choice after a physically or emotionally demanding day. Chamomile is also antispasmodic so it helps reduce muscle cramps and muscle tension.
When stress really sets in, we just become more and more used to the tightness in our muscles to the point we don’t even realize how tense we are. When I think of bathing with chamomile, I think of it as having a ‘melting’ effect on my muscles, they just have to relax! I rely on chamomile in my baths to help scrub away irritability and tension that is either physical or emotional.
Chamomile is also a superior skin healing herb. It helps to rejuvenate the skin and repairs damaged skin. It soothes and softens itchy skin and helps heal cuts and scratches.
Dim the lights, fill your bath with a chamomile infusion and just completely separate from your over scheduled day. Ask for help in letting go of what you don’t need and let chamomile work its magic.
Chamomile is in the ragweed family. Use with caution if you have an allergic sensitivity to plants in that family.
Calendula (Common name)
Calendula officinalis (Botanical name)
Part used: flowers
When calendula flowers find their way into your bath tub, they work miracles on your skin. These golden flowers are renowned for their ability to reduce redness, itching and topical inflammation. Calendula helps to soothe and repair the skin and reduces injury recovery time. If you have been working in the garden or picking blackberries and have lots of fresh little scratches, (I live in blackberry country) put calendula into your bath preparation.
Calendula will heal minor scrapes and scratches and is helpful for just about any skin irritation. It helps alleviate acute and chronic skin problems and moisturizes the skin.
Calendula is also a wonderful herb for reducing your susceptibility to a cold. This plant has strong anti-bacterial properties and helps to fight off colds and infections. These sunshine colored petals will definitely stain your tub if you don’t clean them out after your bath!
We take calendula baths year around. These flowers are a great addition to your bath if you are trying to keep away a cold in the winter. Calendula is also a good bath ingredient in the summer for healing the skin from all the cuts and scratches that a summer day of play can bring.
Part used: leaves
Lemon balm has a sweet smelling lemony scent and makes a superb herbal bath. Lemon balm is a cooling and restorative herb that helps to calm the nerves and enhance your mood. Lemon balm is relaxing and uplifting. It has a palliative effect on excessive mental activity and it moderates the intensity of mood swings and depression. Lemon balm has a long history of being used for restlessness, irritability and insomnia.
I think of lemon balm as an herb that ‘chases away melancholy’. Lemon balm is the herbal companion of choice in the face of tension, anxiety, stress related fatigue and tension. It helps to resolve anxiety and emotional unrest and intervenes when emotional states take over your life. Enjoy the tranquil feeling and peacefulness that enters your body with a lemon balm bath. Say a prayer to let go of what you don’t need and ask for help in gaining new perspective on your challenges.
Lemon balm is also very healing for the skin and makes a great herbal bath for scratches, scrapes and bruises. It acts as a topical anti-histamine and works wonders on bug bites and any skin inflammation.
Children love the smell of lemon balm and it makes the perfect before bedtime bath.
Part used: Petals
All rose petals are medicinal! Any rose petal can be used in your bath as long as it is not sprayed with chemicals. Yes, the pink, red, purple, yellow, gold, white and orange petals from your rose bushes have lots of healing properties and make luxurious baths. I especially like to bathe with red and pink rose petals, but you can use any color or type of rose petal. I don’t recommend commercial roses, because of the amount of herbicide used in their production. As always, you want your herbs to be organic and pesticide free. Roses are known for their ability to nourish the heart and lift the spirit. They are soothing, calming and cooling and particularly restorative to the nervous system.
A rose petal bath can calm the nerves, open the heart and relax the mind. We rely on rose petal baths during the hot summer months. Roses help to draw excessive heat from the body. They help to relieve inflammation associated with rashes, acne, insect bites and minor cuts. If your headache is caused by being overheated, a tepid rose petal bath can help you. Any time you are irritated, over worked or over heated, think of helping yourself with a soak in rose petals.
Even if I am not overheated or irritated, I enjoy steeping my body in the sheer beauty of this revitalizing, healing flower.
Ok! There you have it! I would LOVE to hear about your herbal bathing escapades! What is your favorite herbal bath recipe?
Hello I’m Kami, Welcome to Living Awareness!
I believe every family needs to have someone on board with a working knowledge of natural remedies if you want to take care of your family’s health for real.
When I was growing up, natural remedies was not a mainstream concept like it is now, in fact, you are going to be surprised that I never even heard the word natural remedy until I moved out of the house!
In my early 20’s I met someone by chance that told me about holistic health and herbal medicine. I wondered why nobody had talked to me about it before and had a voracious appetite to learn everything I could.
Now, 30 years later I've helped thousands of people demystify the world of herbal medicine and become empowered in using herbal self-care in their home to prevent illness, take care of common ailments and protect their health naturally.
For 20 years I've had a clinical herbal practice connecting people with plants and their wellness. I've developed and taught herbal curriculum for UCSF School of Nursing and the Integral Health Master’s Degree Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Stick with me! You’ll learn awesome herbal self-care, get inspired to be more self-sufficient in your health care and nourish a deep love for the herbs and how to use them, knowing you are doing the very best you can to care for your wellness.