“The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day,” said Hippocrates, the father of scientific medicine, over two thousand years ago. He encouraged daily use of botanical waters and oils and believed that many diseases could be warded off and ailments such as arthritis could be improved by bathing and daily massage.
Unfortunately, for most of us, a massage every day is not practical, however, an aromatic bath is. It has been noted that Cleopatra took two to three baths a day using flowers, herbs, honey and even goat’s milk–no wonder she is remembered as such an exotic queen. But you don’t have to be Cleopatra to enjoy the health benefits, or the simple luxury, of a botanical-like bath.
You can create a simple bag called a sachet, or a bath tea, and fill it with dried flower petals, buds, herbs, and citrus rinds and toss into the tub. Using sachets in the bath is the perfect way to relax, nurture your skin and soak up some herbal nutrients. The skin is the body’s largest organ. For example, some of the same health benefits one can ingest from drinking herbal teas/infusions/tisanes can be absorbed through the skin. The molecules of the nutrients are small enough to enter through the pores. So, instead of putting those herbs into a cup, why not soak in them.
The following are a few herbal suggestions and are available in most herbal stores or through mail-order herbal companies.
Calming Herb Blend:
Catnip (leaf) is calming, easing tension and anxiety.
Chamomile (flower) is high in calcium, calms frayed nerves, relieves nausea, and is excellent for the skin.
Hops (flower) for centuries were used in pillows to help bring on sleep. It is also made into a tea and used as a sleep aide.
Lavender (flowers) used for centuries to calm the nerves, also relieves tension headaches. It is also healing to the skin, therefore a must in skincare.
Rose (petals or buds) used for its fragrance.
Rosemary (leaf – looks like pine needles) good for the skin; it is quite fragrant.
Soothing Herb Blend:
Alfalfa (leaf) known as the ‘Father of All Foods,’ contains vitamins A, B, D, E, K, and beta-carotene, it is very nutritious.
Calendula (flower petals) is a healing herb for both the interior and exterior of the body.
Lemon Balm (leaf) contains antidepressant properties – a bonus during winter. It is also good for digestive disorders.
Lemon Verbena (leaf) is very fragrant and is a nice addition to an herbal bouquet.
Linden (flower) relieves anxiety and is helpful with some forms of migraines.
Oat straw (leaf) includes Vitamins A, B1, B2, D, Calcium, and Iron. Also contains silicon and zinc, which are great for the skin.
For those suffering from any aches and pains adding white willow bark herbs may be beneficial. For scented pleasure add orange and lemon rind, fresh or dried.
Mixing the blends:
Choose your blend. In a large bowl add equal amounts of each herb from the list. You don’t have to use all the herbs if you don’t want or can’t — pick and choose.
Toss the sachet into the tub at the beginning of running the water. This allows the herbs to steep right away or boil water and steep in a large container for 20 minutes and pour in. If choosing to steep bag in the tub squeeze it on occasion this will draw out more of the herbal goodness.
BATH TIME – YOUR TIME
Set aside a half hour. Turn on the warm water and toss in your sachet. Grab your favorite book and don’t forget to light a candle. Soothing sounds can help turn the bathroom into a spa – soft chimes, birds or waterfall. Now slowly immerse yourself into the warm, fragrant water – ahhhhh – soothing to the mind, body and spirit – enjoy!