Article by Denise DeSpirito. Denise DeSpirito is an Aquarian artist, writer and herbalist, a New Yorker currently living on Wabanaki land otherwise known as Maine. Her work is in service to the plants and in connecting people with them in a variety of ways. Currently she does this by tending them and teaching at a public nature center and garden by the sea.
Throughout part of the year I spend long days outside, pushing wheelbarrows, raking, weeding, and all the other tasks that come with tending a garden. My body gets sore and hot from the sun. Other times, chilled from the rain. At the end of a long work day I try my hardest to leave time for a quiet walk through the garden, to appreciate the efforts I have made and to take in the beauty that is growing before me. I’m always sure to grab a basket to take on these walks and in it collect herbs and flowers that call out to me. Once home they become part of my evening ritual to soothe my tired muscles as I add them to my bath.
Herbs truly enhance any bathing experience. You don’t have to spend a long day working outside to appreciate their addition. You can enjoy them in your bath during a day of self care or after sitting at a computer for work or school. You can use freshly picked herbs or dried ones, single ones or blends. You can sprinkle them directly in your bath water with the intention of straining them out before you pull the tug plug or fill a small muslin bag and steep them as the tub fills.
Another option is to make a tea with your herbs in a pot on the stove, strain it and add that tea to your bath water. This method is the easiest to clean up. There is so much room for experimentation in terms of what herbs to use together and the proportions of each. You can blend herbs together for their harmonious properties or blend ones who’s scent mingle well. You can even blend herbs based on their colors making a pretty palate. Below you can discover a few of my favorite herbal blends for the bath.
Rose, Chamomile, Lavender
These three herbs together make for a relaxing and calming bath. Rose settles the heart, chamomile promotes deep rest and lavender helps ease anxiety. They are a classic trio many people are familiar with, and you can’t go wrong with them. The smell of them alone is soothing to our overall mind and body systems so breathing in their heavenly scents, while their herbal properties penetrate into your skin in the bath deepens the restful experience they support.
Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Mint
Not every bath has to calm or relax us. There are herb blends that can support your bathing experience as an invigorating one too. These three herbs do just that. This blend also can really help clear up head and sinus congestion as well. Eucalyptus is an herb that is known as a decongestant and rosemary is an herb used for headaches and to improve focus. The refreshing scent of mint is uplifting, making this blend particularly great for a morning soak.
Elderflower, Calendula and Oat
This blend is a perfect one to soothe dry itchy skin. All these herbs work well for rashes, eczema or if you have spent too much time in the sun. I grow oats in my garden and collect the milky seed tops to add to my baths but you can use rolled or quick oats that you get at a grocery store. The oats in the grocery store are just processed for easy cooking but are from the same plant as the milky oat tops I grow. For your bath, just grind the oats into a fine powder in a blender and then mix with the elderflower and calendula. Enjoy in a bath that will soften and support the healing of your skin.
A note: when choosing herbs for your bath be sure to use ones that haven’t been sprayed with chemicals. Roses are easily accessible from most flower shops and grocery stores but you should be sure to inquire about how they are grown. Same goes for if you are growing or collecting your own herbs, using ones free from pesticides and herbicides not only supports your own health but the health of the planet as well.
Depending on where you live you will have more or less access to these herbs as well as others. I hope you will let your creativity flow in the blending of the herbs that are available to you and then add them to your bath to elevate your bathing experience.
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