Herbs are flexible in so many ways, not the least of which being the many ways we can prepare them. One of my favorite methods of preparation is the herb bath. You can infuse herbs into a bath for nearly any ailment, and there is nothing quite as soothing as slipping into warm, healing water. From a sitz bath to a soak in the tub, herb baths are a great way for anyone to experience the restorative benefits of herbs.
Benefits of Herb Baths
Often, when we are new to herbal remedies, we think only in terms of medicine like pills and syrups. But herbal medicine is not a 1:1 replacement for our prescriptions and over the counter products. Instead, we use herbs as part of a whole-body approach to healing and healthy living.
When we soak in herb baths, the water is infused with the medicinal compounds of the herbs we’ve chosen. Usually, an herb bath will be filled with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, immune-boosting herbs that stimulate the body’s natural healing processes.
As the largest organ, the skin is both a giant pathway and also a difficult barrier. The warm water helps to open the pores to allow the benefits of the herbs into the body.
Good Herbs for Baths
There are endless possibilities for herb baths, all depending on what you’d like to accomplish. Good herbs for baths are usually leafy or flower petal herbs, dried.
Do remember that ambience is a heavy portion of the herb bath experience, and some herbs (valerian, for example) can be pungent. If smell is a concern for you, cover the scent with more fragrant herbs or be sure you are aware of the scent before you choose your herbs.
I like to stick with a few tried-and-true herbs meant for their stimulating, immune-boosting, calming, or anti-inflammatory effects. My favorites include:
- Shepherd’s Purse
- Uva Ursi
You’ll find these herbs in some of my herb bath blends for purchase.
When and How to Prepare Herb Baths
Herb baths can be prepared in full soaking tubs or in smaller amounts like a sitz bath or a foot bath. Consider what benefits you’d like to get from the bath and whether you just need to soak part of your body or could benefit from a full bath.
Herb baths are great for nearly any occasion, but some conditions are especially suited for them, such as:
- Immune boosting
- Cold & flu season
- Detoxification assistance
- Relaxation & insomnia
- Sore muscles
- Achy feet
To prepare an herb bath, simply brew a strong “tea” from a cup or two of dried herbs for a full bath. You might also add salts. If you use essential oils, be sure to choose gentle oils and then stir them into salts first, as oil and water do not mix. The salts will help them to disperse more evenly.
For a stronger bath, put the herbs into a satchel of cheesecloth or a pantyhose sock and tie it secure, then place that directly into the bath. Once you are in the bath, massage the herb bundle to release even more of the therapeutic properties of the herbs.
What are your favorite ingredients in an herb bath? Share with us here or in our Facebook community.