Hydrotherapy: The use of water for treatment of illness. Depending on the plants used and the temperature, the herbal baths can calm or stimulate the mind and body; open or close pores; relieve inflammation, itching, or pain; and exert various other beneficial effects. You can also take a shower and use the bath formulas as a body splash or use a muslin bath bag of herbs as a washcloth.
To make a bath bag: Cut a piece of muslin or cheesecloth about 15 inches square. Put the herbs in the middle of the muslin or cheesecloth. Gather up and tie tightly with string or thread. Use the formulas below to infuse the herbs. Add the bag to your bath water and after you’ve finished soaping, smooth it gently over your face and body to release the fragrance.
Deodorizing Bath Bag
(A wonderful herbal formula you’ll enjoy after working outside on a
hot summer day.)
1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried thyme
1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried lavender buds
1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 bath bag
1 quart boiling water
Add the herbs to the bath bag and close tightly. Add the bag to the water
and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the infusion from the
heat and cool to lukewarm. Add the infusion and the bath bag to
your bath water, using the bag of herbs as a washcloth.
Calming Bath Bag
1 oz. hops 1 oz. sage
1 oz. thyme 1 oz. lavender
Put the mixture into a bath bag and tie securely. Soak the
bag in the bath water for 10 minutes.
Scented Bath Bag
1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried sweet marjoram
2 tablespoons fresh or 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds
2 tablespoons fresh or 1 tablespoon dried peppermint
1 muslin bath bag
1 quart boiling water
Add the herbs to the bath bag and close tightly. Infuse the bath
bag in the boiling water and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes.
Let the infusion cool to lukewarm, then add it and the bath bag to
Soothing Bath Bag
1 cupful of fine oatmeal or bran
3 cupfuls fresh or 2 cupfuls dried Chamomile flowers
1 muslin bath bag
Put the oatmeal and herbs into a bowl and stir to mix. Put in bath
bag and tie tightly. Soak the bag in your bath water and smooth it
gently over your face and body after soaping.
The Ultimate Bath Bag
1 part each of dried rose petals, dried chamomile flowers, dried lavender flowers and rolled oats
1/2 part each of dried grated orange peel and dried grated lemon peel
2 crushed bay leaves
2 crushed rosemary sprigs
Combine ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Store in a large, sealed jar or fill bath bag. Add to bath water.
Instead of using bath bags, you can strain the herbs and add
the infusion directly to your bath water.
1/2 cup fresh or 1/4 cup dried lemon Balm
1/2 cup fresh or 1/4 cup dried German Chamomile blossoms
2 cups boiling water
Add the herbs to the boiling water. Cover and infuse for 20 minutes.
Strain and add to your bath water.
Steep 3 to 4 ounces of creeping thyme in 1 pint boiling-hot water for 10 minutes. Add the infusion to your bath water for rheumatic and asthmatic problems, cramps, bronchitis, bruises, swellings and sprains, and nervous exhaustion.
Nervous Tension Bath
Steep 2 ounces of lemon balm leaves in 1 quart boiling-hot water for 15 minutes. Add to bath water for nervous tension, insomnia and other nervous problems.
Add 4 ounces chopped calamus root to 5 quarts cold water. Let stand for 2 hours, then bring quickly to a boil and steep for 5 minutes. Add the liquid to bath water to stimulate circulation, for low blood pressure and general tiredness.
Slightly disinfectant, herb vinegars have a distinctive clean fragrance.
In hot weather, add a cupful of herb vinegar to a tepid bath. It will
leave you feeling invigorated, with your skin tingling fresh. Herbal
vinegars are simple to make and are great for all skin types. Vinegar
restores the acid mantle of the skin, relieves dryness, itching and
the pain of sunburn. Depending on the type of herbs you choose,
the herb vinegar bath can be PH balancing, relaxing or invigorating.
Invigorating Bath Vinegar
10 fl oz cider vinegar
10 fl oz water
2 handfuls chopped fresh herbs, or 3 tablespoons mixed dried herbs and flowers (lime flowers, chamomile, lavender or thyme)
Measure the vinegar and water into an enamel saucepan, bring slowly to a boil, then remove from the heat. Put the herbs into a bowl and pour over the hot liquid. Cover and leave for several hours. Strain and bottle.
Add a cupful of herb vinegar to your bath.
Floral Bath Vinegar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
2 cups fresh rose petals
Mix the vinegar and water; then add the rose petals and place the mixture in a glass bottle with a screw top. Shake the bottle and store in a cool, dark place for one month (shaking it every week or so). After a month, shake one last time, then strain out the flowers.
Variations: Instead of rose petals, you can use 3/4 cup lavender flowers,
1 cup of cut lemon and orange peels, or 1/2 cup of dried fresh herbs. Chamomile flowers are calming, rosemary clarifies the skin, mint leaves are stimulating and lemongrass and lemon balm are good toners.
Soothing Bath Vinegar
Fill a large jar one-third full with 2 parts lavender flowers and 1 part mint leaves. Pour slightly warmed cider vinegar over the herbs to nearly fill the jar. Seal jar and let sit for three weeks, shaking jar occasionally to extract natural oils of the herbs. Remove lavender and mint from the vinegar then strain through a coffee filter.
A cup added to your bath water will relieve aching muscles, soften skin and soothe itchiness.
Stimulating Bath Vinegar
Add 1/4 cup each of dried basil and dried lemon balm leaves to 3 cups of
cider vinegar. Bring the mixture slowly to a boil and let sit overnight. Strain.
Add infusion to your bath water.
Lavender Milk Bath
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup Epsom salts
2 tablespoons Lavender flowers, powdered in the blender
3 drops Lavender essential oil, (optional)
Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Makes enough for one bath. To use: add to bath water as it is running.
Herbal Milk Bath
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup Epsom salts
1 tablespoon powdered peppermint leaves
1 tablespoon powdered basil
1 tablespoon powdered rosemary
1 drop rosemary essential oil (optional)
Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Makes enough
for one bath. To use: add to bath water as it is running.
Bath & Shower Gel
This gel, produced by the mucilage in Irish moss, is very invigorating. It
also softens the skin. Rub handfuls of the gel over the body before rinsing
your skin in the bath or shower.
2-1/2 pints fresh Irish moss
3 pints water
4 tablespoons orange flower or elderflower water
A few drops green food coloring (optional)
Variation: Instead of fresh Irish moss, use 2 ounces of dried seaweed. Soak it in water to soften it before boiling.
Wash the Irish moss or seaweed in plenty of fresh water to rid it of sand and small stones. Put the prepared seaweed into a large pan with the water, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Rub the mixture through a food mill or strainer, stir in the flower water and add the food
coloring, if desired. When cold, pour into jars or wide-necked bottles.
Relaxing Foot Bath
For tired feet and aching leg muscles, soak your feet for 10 minutes in an
herbal footbath before rinsing then in cold water.
10 fluid ounces strong infusion of one of the following: lavender, lime
flowers, rosemary, peppermint, thyme, or yarrow
2 tablespoons sea salt (or 1 tablespoon Epsom salts)
Fill a large bowl with very hot water to which you have added the herbal infusion and the sea salt or Epsom salts. After soaking your feet, finish with a foot rub.
Soothing Foot Rub
As a final touch for tired, aching feet, massage with this lotion after soaking in a foot bath. Alum hardens the skin, helping to prevent blisters; the oils soak into dry patches that tend to crack; and the lavender soothes aching muscles. Dip a rough piece of towel into the lotion and rub into the feet, giving special attention to the insteps, arches, and ankles.
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon oil of lavender
1/2 teaspoon alum powder
Put all the ingredients into a jar and stand the jar in a pan of hot water. Heat gently and stir. Allow it to cool, then screw on the lid and shake thoroughly. Remove the lid until completely cold. Shake again before use.