10 Herbs to Use for a Relaxing Bath

harvested calendula used in bath balm

The Spruce / Alyson Brown

Bathing in herb-infused water helps reduce stress, soothes the skin, and provides a relaxing, spa-like experience.

You can choose herbs for their specific therapeutic benefits, including softening skin, soothing muscles, stimulating circulation, or combatting infection. No matter which herbs you decide to infuse into your bath, follow these guidelines for the best results:

  • When creating an herbal bath, place the loose herbs in a sachet or bag to keep them from sticking to your skin and clogging the drain.
  • Avoid using extremely hot water, as it is drying to the skin.
  • Plan on spending at least 10 minutes in the tub to enjoy the full benefits of using herbs in this way.

Here are 10 great herbs to use in your bath.

  • 01 of 10



    The Spruce / K. Dave

    It's probably not a surprise that chamomile makes the list of best herbs for baths. Its sweet, mild scent will whisk away your stress. This is a wonderful choice for small children, but any age will benefit.

    Chamomile can be used alone, or with other relaxing bath herbs like lavender. It is excellent for fussy babies, helping them settle down before bedtime. Safe enough for the youngest bathers, the scent helps calm a frazzled mom too.

    Be aware that chamomile may cause allergies in people who are also sensitive to ragweed.

  • 02 of 10


    basil leaves

    ​The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Basil is an herb of choice if you want to create a stimulating, energizing bath. The pleasant aroma will wake up your senses and leave you feeling refreshed. Try combining basil with orange peel for an even more invigorating scent.

  • 03 of 10



    ​The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Eucalyptus has that unmistakable camphoraceous scent we all immediately recognize. It can be used for an invigorating soak, or medicinally to clear head congestion if you have a cold or allergies.

  • 04 of 10


    Fennel growing

    ​The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Fennel has a sweet, anise-like smell reminiscent of licorice. It's fantastic for problem skin; if you suffer from oily skin and acne, splash some of the fennel-infused bathwater on your face while enjoying your soak.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10



    ​The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Of course, lavender also makes the list of best bath herbs. Who doesn't enjoy a soothing soak in lavender-scented waters? Perfect for any type of bath, lavender is a wonderful supporting player to include in most herbal blends. Use it to relax at the end of a long day.

  • 06 of 10

    Lemon Balm

    lemon balm

    ​The Spruce / K. Dave 

    The scent of lemon balm makes it a favorite bath herb. While lemon balm is considered relaxing when ingested, in a bath it is considered stimulating because of its bright, lemony scent.

  • 07 of 10


    rosemary growing in a container

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Rosemary's herbaceous scent will give you a boost when you are feeling under the weather or congested with a cold. A rosemary bath helps after a long day working in the garden, making aches and pains melt away.

  • 08 of 10



    ​The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Sage is another herb that has a stimulating effect when added to a bath. Sage baths may not be pleasing to everyone, so before committing yourself to a tub full of sage-infused water, try infusing a small amount in a teacup first to see if you like the scent.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10



    ​The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Calendula is a true must-have for any bath mixture. It is a soothing and healing herb—wonderful as a treatment for dry skin or to soak a healing wound. When trying to soothe an area that is out of reach, soaking in a warm, calendula-infused bath feels wonderful!

    For children, calendula will help soothe the discomfort of eczema, mosquito bites, or a stubborn diaper rash.

  • 10 of 10


    yarrow in the wild

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Yarrow is an unusual addition to the list. It is often overlooked by the home herbalist, who may cut it down as a weed if they find it growing in the yard. But yarrow is useful as a healing herb. Use it for a soaking tub to soothe irritated skin and help heal wounds.

    Yarrow has a pleasing scent, but most folks find it a bit "different." Use a light hand when adding yarrow to your bath herb mix.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Chamomile. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

  2. Babar, Ali et al. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, Volume 5, Issue 8, pages 601-611, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.apjtb.2015.05.007

  3. Badgujar, Shamkant B., et al. Foeniculum VulgareMill: A Review of Its Botany, Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, Contemporary Application, and Toxicology. BioMed Research International, vol. 2014, pp. 1–32 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/842674

  4. Panahi, Yunes, et al. A Randomized Comparative Trial on the Therapeutic Efficacy of TopicalAloe VeraandCalendula Officinalison Diaper Dermatitis in Children. The Scientific World Journal, vol. 2012, pp. 1–5, 2012. doi:10.1100/2012/810234

  5. Tadić, Vanja, et al. The Estimation of the Traditionally Used Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium L. Asteraceae) Oil Extracts with Anti-Inflamatory Potential in Topical Application. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 199, pp. 138–148, 2017. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2017.02.002