Beyond the obvious benefits of cleansing, bathing in herbal-scented water can help reduce stress, soothe the skin, and provide a simple relaxing experience for everyone.
You can choose herbs for their specific therapeutic benefits, which can include virtues such as softening skin, soothing muscles, stimulating circulation, or drawing out infection. You may have ideas of the ideal herbal bath, but there are some basic rules to follow in order to get the most out of the experience:
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To no one's surprise, chamomile makes the list of best herbs for bathing. Its gentle, fruity scent will whisk away your stress like no other ingredient. This is a wonderful choice for small children, but any age will benefit.
Chamomile is an herb that can be used all alone in the bath. It is excellent for fussy babies, to help them settle down before bedtime. It is safe enough for the youngest bathers, and the scent helps calm a frazzled mom, as well.
- Did you know? Since Roman times, chamomile has been one of the most widely used medicinal folk remedies, used to treat everything from rheumatism to parasitic worms. But it may cause allergies in people who are also sensitive to ragweed.
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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.
- Did you know? Basil has a long history of use in funeral rituals, where it was thought to help the deceased successfully make passage to heaven or the afterlife. To this day, some branches of the Catholic church use basil in the preparation of holy water.
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Another wonderful ingredient in a bath mix aimed at stimulation, fennel has a lovely, sweet scent that is reminiscent of licorice. It is enjoyable for young and old alike.
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- Did you know? Ingested, fennel may assist with various digestive problems. It is an ingredient in absinthe, the well-known alcoholic spirit.
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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 scent to include in most most herbal blends.
- Did you know? Lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, and can also be used as a natural mosquito repellant.
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The lemony scent of lemon balm is a wonderful bath herb. While lemon balm is considered relaxing when ingested, it a bath it is considered a stimulating addition. Try adding it to your bath mix to see if it leaves you feeling refreshed.
- Did you know? A compound in lemon balm, (rosmarinic acid) may reduce anxiety and stress by increasing the availability of GABA (a neurotransmitter) in the brain.
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Rosemary offers itself as a wonderful bath herb. Its piney scent will help when you are feeling under the weather or congested with a cold. A rosemary bath can helps after a long day working in the garden, causing aches and pains to melt away.
- Did you know? Rosemary was considered sacred to ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. To this day, it is used a symbol of remembrance in funerals and other ceremonies.
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Sage is another herb that has a stimulating effect when added to bath mix. It may not be pleasing to everyone, so it's a good idea to test it before adding it to a bath mix.
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- Did you know? In ancient times, sage was thought to ward off evil, and it became a major medicinal remedy in the Middle Ages.
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Calendula is a true must-have for any bath mixture. It is used as 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 chicken pox, eczema symptoms, mosquito bites, or a stubborn diaper rash.
- Did you know? Calendula flowers were used in the Civil War to dress wounds and assist healing.
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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 a wonderfully healing herb. Use it for a soaking tub to soothe irritated skin and to soak healing 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.
- Did you know? Yarrow contains chemicals that some experts believe combat stomach cramps and other digestive problems.