Healthful Herbal Bath

For heightened experience of healthful cleansing, consider an herbal bath.

| January/February 1980

Regular bathing is, of course, necessary to good health. Aside from its role in personal hygiene, water opens our pores, tones our skin, increases our circulation, and allows our bodies to "breathe."

However, when you add herbs to your bathwater, you're providing the liquid with special soothing oils which seem to reach not only the skin, but also the muscles that lie beneath.

Therefore, don't resign yourself—or your skin and muscles—to sore stiffness or winter dryness every time you put a little extra effort into your chores or expose yourself to harsh, cold winds. Treat yourself to a soothing herbal bath instead.

Make It Right!

Herbs, unlike commercial bath concoctions, are not simply dumped into the bathwater, since soaking in such a "stew" would leave hundreds upon thousands of little plant particles clinging to your skin (and to the tub) after your dip. Instead, prepare an infusion of the leaves and flowers.

To "cook up" your herbal concoction, you'll need an enamel-lined or glass pot with a lid. (Most herbalists claim that metal destroys the healing properties of herbs.) You'll also want to have a small strainer, a wooden spoon, a washcloth, and a rubber band or piece of string on hand.

When you've gathered up the ingredients from one of the following recipes, mix the herbs in the pot. Then add one to two quarts of boiling water (never boil the herbs themselves, but—as in making tea—pour the water over the leafy mixture) . . . cover the container . . . and let it stand for at least 20 minutes. (This is the minimum brewing time for cosmetic use, though medicinal herbs must sometimes be steeped for as much as three hours before their healing properties are fully absorbed by the liquid.)

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