If you are looking for ways to unwind and relax besides watching TV or surfing the web, you may want to try an herb bath. More and more I am making time in my life to participate in self-care activities. As I take on more responsibility, self-care has become vitally important to me. Even though in some ways I would love to work all the time, I know that taking time to relax, quiet the body/mind, and just be in the long run will serve my spiritual and emotional well-being as well as support the growth of my work.
As many of you may know, herbs and plants carry natural medicine. Before pharmaceuticals, plants were nature’s pharmacy. If you want to read more about healing with plants from an ethane-botanist, one of the first books I ever read on the subject was Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice. It’s more about the concept of plants as medicine, and how indigenous peoples of Amazonia used plants to cure illness. Neat fact: the medicine people of the Amazon have learned how to cure things that pharmaceuticals cannot, such as foot fungus.
Through herb baths you absorb the healing properties of the herbs through the skin. You can decide which herbs you would like to use based on what benefits you would like to receive.
Here are some examples:
Lavender: calming the body/mind
Rose petals: opening/calming the heart
Comfrey: healing/rejuvenating the skin
Rosemary: clearing/releasing negativity
Yarrow: Stabilizing/grounding good for sensitive people
You can pick up some or most of these dried herbs at your local food co-op. You can also find them at herbal shops (Present Moment or Tao Foods if you’re based in the Twin Cities). Herbs are generally pretty inexpensive, so this self-care technique is easy on the wallet.
You can play around with what works for you. Here’s how I prepare the bath:
- Combine about 1/2-1 cup of herbs with about 1 liter of water in a large pan
- Heat to just below a boil for about 5-7 minutes
- Filter using a French Press or strainer
- Pour filtered liquid into the bathtub
- Fill the rest of the tub (be careful not to enter the tub when the water is too hot
It’s pretty simple process. I also sometimes play relaxing music or yoga chants (Ajeet Kaur and Jai-Jagdeesh are my favorites right now!) for added benefit.