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There’s definitely nothing better than a relaxing or an uplifting bath at the end of a hard day. Water has the ability to cleanse, soothe and refresh, and you can enhance your experience by adding herbs, as well as herbal oils and salts in your bathing routine. With the addition of some scented candles and tasteful music, you can enjoy an inexpensive spa-like bath in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Types of Herbal Baths

Depending on which herbs you use, an herbal bath can energize you, soothe and calm you down or relieve stiffness after a rigorous workout. Some baths are ideal for moisturizing your skin while others are just very fragrant and pleasing.

Sage, mugwort, strawberry leaves, chamomile and agrimony are great for stiff muscles and aching joints. If you want to have a tonic bath you can use a combination of alfalfa, comfrey, parsley and orange peel. For those of you who love rose petals, combine them with lavender and orange blossoms. For relieving tension and stress, try some soothing herbs like catnip, jasmine flowers, lemon balm, evening primrose flowers and valerian root. Other herbs such as plantain, lady’s mantle, dandelion leaves and alder are recommended for cleansing the skin. You can also try some particularly fragrant herbs like geranium, clove, jasmine flowers, patchouli, sandalwood or pennyroyal, according to your own preference.

Preparing Your Βath

Herbal baths are very easy to prepare. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different herbs and combinations to find what suits you best. One thing you need to be aware of is the temperature of the water. A cool bath will stimulate you whereas a warm one will relax your muscles. Very hot baths are not recommended because they dry the skin and dehydrate the body, so avoid temperatures over 104º F/40º C.

There are several different ways to enjoy an herbal bath. You can make an herb bag and hang it under the tap. You will need an organza gift bag with a drawstring, about 6 in. / 15 cm high. Add the herbs and essential oil of your choosing along with half a cup of oats. Oats are great for softening the water and your skin. You can also use the herb bag as a soothing compress while taking your bath.

If you don’t want care much for herb bags, there are other options that might appeal to you. Strong herbal infusions can be added directly into the bath water and they will give you the same results. Pour half a cup of boiling water over your dried herbs and let them steep for ten to twenty minutes. Alternatively, you can prepare a decoction by adding the herbs in cold water, then heating the mixture to a boil and pouring it into your bath.

Adding Bath Salts and Oils

Bath salts are great for giving your bath a healing boost. The trace minerals they contain can stimulate the body’s natural detoxification process. Each mineral possesses specific properties. For instance, sulfur helps with respiratory problems and colds, calcium and potassium may relieve the symptoms of arthritis and magnesium promotes heart health and strong bones. Salt is also said to draw moisture from the lower levels of the skin to the drier surface.

Herbal oils are great for skin moisturizing. Essential oils are very potent and you should always mix them with a base plant or nut oil. Almond and avocado are two great options. Add the oil after you have soaked in the water for about ten minutes. This will allow your body to absorb enough moisture before the oil traps it in the skin. If you are only interested in the fragrance, you can add a few drops of herbal oil directly into the water. Avoid spending more than twenty minutes in your herbal bath in total, because the process will be reversed and your skin will start to dry out.

Before you are ready to embark on your amazing herbal journey you must take some time to select your herbs and essential oils and make sure you store them properly. This way they will always be available to you whenever you need to relax or become energized with an herbal bath. You should always try to steal away some time for yourself. So, don’t miss out on a wonderful, affordable way to enjoy a spa-like experience in your own bathroom.


Kowalchik Claire, and William H. Hylton, eds. Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. Emmaus, Penssylvania: Rodale Press, 1987.

The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs . Reader’s Digest, 2009.

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Making Your Own Clay-Based Shampoo (It’s Easier Than You Think)

DIY is all the rage these days, but if you’re on your feet all day, sometimes the last thing that you want to do is put extra effort into things that you could simply buy at the store. Luckily, there are some incredibly simple DIY solutions that are easy to add to your arsenal — and shampoo is one of them.

This might surprise you, because mainstream shampoo isn’t so easy to DIY. But there are lots of ways to cleanse your scalp beyond traditional shampoo.

Most store-bought shampoos contain both a cleansing and a foaming agent. They’re chock-full of complicated, unpronounceable ingredients. These types of products didn’t exist until the 20th century, which means that prior to modern shampoo, people used all sorts of substances to clean their hair — and many people still do!

All you really need to cleanse your scalp is a product that will remove dirt, oil and buildup from your scalp and strands. You can use everything from a simple oil-based soap to baking soda to more exotic ingredients like beer.

The DIY Shampoo All-Star Ingredient

One of my favorite ingredients for natural shampoo is clay. Two types are commonly used: bentonite clay and rhassoul clay. Both have been used for hundreds of years to detoxify the skin and hair. They’re also known for reducing frizz, which is an added bonus!

You can buy either type of clay in a large jar in powdered form. This makes it easy to use a couple spoonfuls at a time to make your very own shampoos. You can even make a large batch at a time and store it in containers. You’ll find that one jar of clay lasts for a long time.

Making Your Own Shampoo

To make your own clay-based shampoo, simply combine a portion of the clay with apple cider vinegar, aloe vera juice, or water. I prefer to use vinegar since it provides some extra moisture.

Find a plastic or wooden spoon and container to mix your shampoo in — not metal. Metal will reduce the beneficial properties of the clay.

Mix the two ingredients until you arrive at a pasty consistency. If you use vinegar, you’ll notice the clay bubbling a bit — that’s normal. You may have to play around with the portions to find the amount that works for your hair length. I use a heaping spoonful of clay for my scalp.

Then apply the paste to your scalp; you can also apply it to the length of your strands. Leave it on until it dries and then rinse it out, carefully removing all of the clay from your hair.

You’ll find that your hair feels clean, clarified, and super-defined.

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