How To Make a Healing Garden Bath

“Steeping your body in a bathtub full of medicinal leaves and flowers is more than pampering; it is preventive medicine”

Herbal bathing is relaxing, enjoyable and an invaluable self-care tool. Reducing stress is one of the most effective things we can do to increase our vitality and taking time to luxuriate in the bath is a well-known stress-buster.

If you enjoy bathing, then an herbal bathing routine can be one of your best tools for taming the accumulated stress and tension of everyday life.

Most people have experienced the muscle relaxation results of spending time in a bath or hot tub. When you add the healing properties of herbs to the mix, your bathing routine takes your wellness to another level and becomes indispensable to your overall quality of life.

Herbal bathing is a simple practice that has many healing benefits. Steeping your body in a bath- tub full of medicinal leaves and flowers is more than pampering; it is preventive medicine that washes away stress and tension.

Many herbal constituents can be absorbed through the skin and taking the time out to lie down in the bathtub is healing in itself. Herbal bathing can help to calm the mind, lift the spirits, reduce stress, relax sore muscles, increase circulation, promote mental clarity and help the body to release toxins.

Many cultures throughout the world use herbal bathing as a primary healing modality. Herbal bathing can be powerful preventive medicine.

The healing benefits of the herbs can be absorbed directly through the skin and many herbs stimulate and enhance healthy skin metabolism and secretion. Herbal bathing can help us relax, feel renewed, fight off colds, heal the skin and increase detoxification.

Garden Baths are a wonderful seasonal experience. You steep your body in the abundance of what is growing at the time you take the bath.

It is like eating seasonal food from your garden or the farmers market. I love summer’s harvest; it loads our kitchen with blackberries and fills our bathtub with lemon verbena.

Just as the seasons shine through your meals, your bath also reflects the time of year. Each season takes on a deeper sensory recognition and understanding as you steep your body in the unique herbal bounty of winter, spring, summer or fall. Emerge from your bath tub refreshed, renewed and more in touch with yourself and the earth.

Spring brings cleansing baths of dandelion and peppermint. Rose petals and Calendula blossoms find their way into the summer garden bath.

Autumn bathing rituals are infused with the solitude of sage and winter baths are garnished with evergreen needles such as pine and cedar

Lavender and rosemary are staple herbs for every season of garden baths at our house. I have large hedges of both. Lavender and rosemary are perennial herbs and the leaves can be harvested any time of the year.

If you are just beginning to plant your herbal bathing garden, rosemary and lavender are two good herbs to get started with because you can use them during every season.

Many people have the desire to feel more connected with the earth. Submerging yourself in the changing scent, pigment and textures of the plants is one way to cultivate a deeper awareness of the earth. It is a very subtle path but over time you realize how much more you perceive and appreciate the simple and complex intricacies of each season.

How to Make a Healing Garden Bath

Preparing for this bath is as simple as walking through your garden and picking a handful of whatever healing herbs are ava- ilable and putting them directly into the tub. What goes into my garden bath varies from season to season. Sometimes I use one or two herbs and at other times I put in a few pieces of a dozen or more healing herbs that I have growing in my garden.

When you are done with your bath therapy, just scoop up all the leftover plant material in the tub and put it into your compost pile. It is important to note that if you leave the plants in the tub, they can stain it.

Some of the bathing herbs act as a dye and stain the tub permanently if left in after the bath; believe me, I know this from experience. I have stained many a bathtub!

The main thing that distinguishes the garden bath from the other herbal bathing methods is that the herbs are freshly picked and put directly into the bath. People have asked me if you can just put loose, chopped up dried herbs into the tub.

The dried herb pieces stick to your body much more than fresh herbs, so when I use dried herbs I make bath tea bags.

In order to make a garden bath, you need to have an herbal garden or access to one. If you don’t have an herbal garden, then you can make Bath Tea Bags with dried herbs

When picking fresh herbs for your herbal bath, it is very important to have completely accurate identification of the plants you are using. Please do not guess at which plant is what. It is important to know exactly which herbs you are working with.

If you aren’t so familiar with your garden herbs and flowers yet, begin by learning one useful plant at a time. It is easier to really get to know one plant, rather than trying to learn about all of them at once. A great place to start is with roses! Rose petals are a wonderful addition to any bath. You can pick fresh roses from a rose bush of any color and add them to your bath tub.

Enjoy your herbal bath!

How to make a healing garden bath
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  1. Simply pick a few sprigs or up to 4 cups of fresh medicinal herbs
  1. Crush the herbs slightly with your fingers to release the plant aromas and then put them directly into your bath tub
  2. Put the herbs into the tub while the water is running or after the bath is drawn
  3. Leave the herbs in the bath while you are soaking, be careful not to swallow or get them in your eyes. More caution is needed with this around children
Living Awareness Institute

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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.

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4 Comments on "How To Make a Healing Garden Bath"

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M Louise

Oh, no! I just had my husband shred up a cart load of mint and catnip for the compost pile. Into the bath tub it goes next time. And now I know what to do with the abundance of lemon balm growing down by the creek. Thanks!


Thank your for such a lovely article. I love the beautiful photos and all the detail about how to make a herbal bath. I’m going to try it as you make it sound so luxurious!