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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.

Sources:

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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Gas Savers: These Small Changes Save You Money

Lead fuel may be a thing of the past, but the lead foot continues to thrive, and can be found on any part of the globe. Gunning the engine, racing to the next stoplight, and weaving in and out of rush-hour traffic are unsafe practices that also waste gallons of gas. Want to squeeze the most fuel economy out of the vehicle you own? Try altering the way you drive.

Slow down…

In the 1970s, the U.S. government reduced the speed limit to 55 miles per hour on all highways. Neither safety nor the environment were the concerns. Because of an international embargo on oil, gas in the U.S. was in short supply, causing long lines at the pumps across the nation. Driving slowly, the government knew, was one way to conserve what we had.

And it’s true: driving slower than the current highway speed limit of 70 mph consumes less fuel. The folks at Edmunds.com tested 3 types of vehicles on a 100-mile highway journey, and found a significant difference in savings (up to 14%) between the tests at 75 mph and 65 mph. Others have estimated that drivers will spend 54 cents a gallon for every 10 mph driven over 60.

Fuel economy decreases more rapidly the faster you drive, mostly due to wind resistance. The faster you drive, the harder the air in front of you pushes back. For example, a much greater amount of fuel is spent between 70 and 80 mph than between 60 and 70 mph. This exponential increase means those with lead feet have the most to gain by slowing down.

Avoid Quick Acceleration

Jeepney drivers in Manila like to put the pedal to the metal between stoplights, racing as fast as traffic allows, stopping suddenly when red stoplights can see the whites of their eyes.

This constant stopping, starting, and racing in between is one way to spend more gas than you have to. Do the herky-jerky and gas mileage decreases by 33% on the highway and 5% at city speeds.

Flooring the pedal from any speed and stopping on a dime doesn’t help conserve gas. Slowly ease forward when the light turns green, without causing yourself to feel like you’re being pushed back into your seat. Keep two car lengths behind the car in front to avoid sudden stops on the highway, and ease off the gas pedal well before a red light.

Keep Your Cool

Does rush hour traffic adversely alter your personality? Not only does it require those neck-snapping movements mentioned above, it may also turn on some internal competitive hot button in your brain. I’m going to get there fast, and I’m going to get there first!

Aggressive driving is one of the worst gas wasters as driving methods go, according to tests by Edmunds.com. Stop all that weaving and surging and you can realize significant savings of up to 37%. To maintain optimum mileage, turn on the cruise control for highway driving when traffic allows. If you have to commute to work, consider altering your work schedule to avoid rush hour traffic.

Conservative driving will reduce more than the amount of gas you have to put in your car. Driving moderately and safely creates less pollution and makes the world a happier, more peaceful place. If you don’t believe that, take a trip to Manila. 🙂


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