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Home > Craft Topics > Projects > Natural Bath Oils and Infusions

Aromatherapy Projects - Natural Bath Oils and Infusions

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Natural Bath Oils and Infusions Project from Walkabout CraftsUsing herbs in the bath

There are four main types of herbal bath preparations: herbal decoctions or infusions, herbal bags, herbal vinegars and bath oils. Never add herbs straight to the bath water as they can
clog the plug hole and will also stick to you, making drying a rather messy business!
The bath water should be hot enough to release the herbal essences but not hot enough to burn your skin or sap your energy. Place a cushion under your head and relax for at least 15 minutes. Dry yourself with a warm, rough towel.

Mixing herbs
Herbs can be used singly or mixed, which enables you to combine different herbal; properties to obtain the effect that you need. Mixed herbs also give a more complex and pleasing smell. Experiment to find your ideal mixture.

Bath Herbs                               Properties

Basil – Tonic; deodorant
Bay – Soothes aching limbs
Bergamot – Tonic; soothes aching limbs
Blackberry leaves - Invigorating
Chamomile – Calms nerves; soothes skin
Elder flowers – Relaxing; emollient
Hyssop – Relaxing; relieves rheumatic pains and stiffness after sport
Lavender – Refreshing; relaxing; a powerful natural disinfectant
Lemon balm – Refreshing; soothing; tonic
Lemon verbena – Refreshing; relaxing; often used for its scent
Lime flowers – Relaxing; an old folk remedy for hysteria, emollient
Lovage – Natural deodorant
Marjoram – Calming; eases rheumatic pains
Meadowsweet – Relaxing; eases tired limbs; smells like new mown hay
Mint – Refreshing; relaxing
Mugwort – Eases fatigue; restores suppleness to stiff limbs
Pennyroyal – Refreshing; enlivening
Raspberry leaves – Tonic and slightly astringent
Rose – Use with other herbs for its scent
Rosemary – Relieves tired limbs and relaxes aching muscles, tonic, firms the skin; soothes tired nerves. This has the strongest, most penetrating scent of all bath herbs. Its properties can be released by holding several sprigs of young tips under hot running water.
Sage – Cleansing; enlivening
Thyme - Cleansing
Valerian – Soothing and sedative; use with other more fragrant herbs as it has a bitter aroma

Herbal bath infusions
Herbal infusions for the bath need to be concentrated as they are mixed with a large volume of water.

You will need
50g dried or 100g fresh herbs of your choice
1pint boiling water
Jug with cover

1. Put the selected herbs of your choice into the jug and pour boiling water over them. Cover jug immediately and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes.
2. Strain infusion through a sieve, and add it to the bath water after turning off the taps.

Herbal Decoction
This decoction contains bran which helps to soften the water.

You will need:
50g dried or 100g fresh herbs of your choice
1oz bran
900ml boiling water
Enamel or stainless steel saucepan with lid

1. Put the herbs and bran into a saucepan with the water and bring them gently to the boil. Cover and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes.
2.  Strain the mixture through a sieve and use in the same way as for the herbal infusion.

Bath bags
Muslin, calico or thin, plain cotton can be quickly stitched into simple bags which can then be filled with dried herbs. Other finer-textured ingredients can also be added in equal proportions to the herbs. For example, add cornmeal to cleanse or ground almonds to soften the skin. Make several bags at a time.

You will need
For each bath bag
Fabric bag, approx 4 x 3 inch square
2 tbsp dried herbal mixture
50cm string or piping cord

Fill the bag with the herbal mixture. Tie string around the top of the bag, making a loop for the bag to hang by. To use, tie the filled herbal bath bag to the hot tap so that it hangs in the stream of hot running water. Alternatively, hang it under the shower spray to achieve a similar beneficial effect.

Washing bags

Washing bags contain a mixture of herbs and cornmeal. Rub them over your skin to cleanse and smooth away dead cells.

To make a washing bag
Put 4 tablespoons dried herbs and 2 tablespoons cornmeal in a muslin bag, 4 x 3 inches square. Sew up end. To use, place the bag under the running taps. Rub it over your arms, legs, neck and back while you are in the bath.

Bath vinegars
Herbal bath vinegars help to soften both the water and your skin. The following recipe makes enough herbal vinegar for two baths.

You will need
300ml light coloured cider vinegar
300ml spring water
25g dried or 50g fresh herbs of your choice
Stainless steel or enamel saucepan
bowl with cover or cling film

1. Put the cider vinegar, spring water and your chosen herbs into the saucepan. Then gently heat the mixture to simmering point, but do not boil.
2. Take the pan from the heat. Pour the vinegar mixture and herbs into a bowl and cover. Leave mixture for approximately 12 hours, then strain and bottle it.

Bath oil

Bath oils can be made with homemade or bought essential oils and Turkey Red Oil, a specially treated castor oil available from chemists and herbalists.
If you cannot obtain Turkey Red Oil, use almond, avocado, sesame or olive oil, and add 1 teaspoon of vodka or brandy to aid dispersal.

To make the bath oil
Put 1 tablespoon of Turkey Red Oil into a small, dark bottle and add 1 teaspoon of essential oil ( use a single type or a mixture of two). Cover tightly and shake well. Store for two weeks. To use, add 1 teaspoon to running water.

Foot Baths

Relaxing with your feet in a warm herbal foot bath will help to refresh and restore your whole body. 

Herbs for foot baths

Horsetail – Excellent for tired feet; used regularly it will reduce perspiration
Lavender – An instant tonic and refreshing
Lovage – A natural deodorant
Marjoram – Soothing
Peppermint – Tonic and refreshing; use with lovage
Sage – Soothing and healing
Thyme - Cleansing

Foot bath treatment

You will need:
50g herbs
900ml water
enamel or stainless steel saucepan
2 tablespoon sea salt

Put the herbs and water into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain, then stir in the sea salt. To use, add 300ml of the decoction to the bowl of hot water. Soak your feet for 10 minutes while relaxing in a comfortable chair. Dry them well and dust with an unscented talcum powder.

Mustard bath

A mustard foot bath warms the whole body and feels particularly beneficial when you are suffering from a cold or a chill. It is also good when you have been out in very cold weather and feel frozen through.

You will need
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds, crushed or 2 teaspoon mustard powder plus 2 tablespoon water
300ml boiling water
bowl with cover

Put the crushed mustard seeds into a bowl (or work the mustard powder to a paste with the 2 tablespoon water). Pour on the boiling water and stir well, then cover the bowl and leave for 15 minutes. To use, add to a bowl of hot water.

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