Take an Herbal Bath: Recommended Plants and Their Properties

Use herbs and plants such as comfrey, lavender, eucalyptus, oatmeal and rose to create an aromatic, rejuvenating bath.

| April/May 1992

You've always known how a warm, aromatic bath is. Scent has long been recognized as the most evocative of the five senses—memories can be recalled and moods altered with the introduction of specific smells. No surprise, the cosmetics industry has picked up on this, and loads their soaps with scents that "wake you up," help you feel like a foreign spring, or "energize you." The problem is that these companies use chemicals, not botanicals, to awaken your senses as well as your mind. An herbal bath can do all this and more—and without the harsh stuff that damages your skin and well-being.

One thing to remember: Your skin absorbs. Along with scent, this is how herbal baths nourish and rejuvenate your body, and also why you should be aware of what goes into the products you use. So whether you're run down or stressed out, whether you ache or itch, there is a wide selection of herbs and oils to fulfill your needs:


Known as far back as 400 B.C.E. Greece, comfrey is an extraordinary plant whose name derives from the Latin conferva, meaning "water plant healer." Allantoin is the primary ingredient responsible for this reputation. According to The Rodale Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, allantoin not only rejuvenates cells, but actually "promotes the growth of new cells." For skin conditioning and healing cuts and scratches, comfrey is unsurpassed.

Comfrey also alleviates the pain of bruises and pulled or stiff muscles. Containing a large percentage of mucilage, it soothes and softens your skin. You can add comfrey to any herbal bath recipe and obtain beneficial results.


The word derives from the Latin verb "to wash," harking back to the Greek and Roman custom of scenting their soaps and bath water with it. Lavender is added to both baths and facial steaming for its stimulating and cleansing attributes.


Not only do roses smell terrific, they act as an astringent, and are both cleansing and soothing.

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