When the news of the world, or even the news in your personal world, makes you want to get back into bed and pull covers over your head, forever, or run for “the hills” (that may no longer exist), or eat “comfort food” that will have you feeling very uncomfortable a short time later, it’s time to take an herbal bath. Really.
Herbal bathing is versatile. It can be done as a full body bath, ideally, but if that’s not an option, hand and foot baths are surprisingly satisfying and healing, too.
photo credit: http://homepages.uel.ac.uk/ (17.Herbal Bath)
I don’t believe that you tend to yourself instead of taking action to support the creation of more just laws, or standing up for yourself in an abusive relationship at home or work, or advocating for someone you love who is in the clutches of the legal or medical system, but, rather, that you find ways to regroup and restore your vital energy and sense of the possible (as well as your sense of humor) so that you can proceed with actions in the world that help to bring about the kind of changes you care deeply about. The more of an activist you are, the more you need ways to restore yourself to be able to be sustainable, effective and to maintain your center as you enlighten others as to why maintaining the status quo is no longer an option. It’s all too easy to get thrown off your center when advocating for change, hence, what follows are some of my personal, experience-based recommendations for herbal bathing. These baths can range from calming, to cathartic, to inspiring. Water alone is probably the most healing of the elements (though light/sun rates highly, too, as does planting yourself in a bit of earth (seriously), and taking deep breaths of the element we tend to take for granted, air. So it all, always, nets down to finding ways to connect with Nature as that connects you with your true nature, which is love, love that is naturally connected to the wellbeing of all.
The following are three of my favorite herbal baths with detailed descriptions of how to prepare them. The information, however, is not enough to make you prioritize self-care. That part is up to you. And I recommend that highly. The essence of the new paradigm we are transitioning into is one where the caregivers are cared for and about, too. Everyone matters.
Dried Oatstraw – 1 cup
Dried Lavender flowers - 2-4 tablespoons
Put the dried oatstraw into a saucepan. Cover with ½ gallon of water. Bring to a low boil for about 3-5 minutes. Turn off the flame and toss in the lavender flowers. Stir. Let the brew sit for at least one hour. Pour it through a fine mesh or cloth bag strainer into a full bathtub of hot water, OR, put it into a bucket, small tub, or even a roasting pan to use for foot or hand bath. Steep yourself until calm. Will induce mental and physical muscle relaxing and deeply restorative, regenerative sleep.
Epsom Salt-Baking Soda Bath
Epsom (or other) salts- 1-2 cups
Baking Soda- 1-2 cups Fill your bathtub almost full with hot water to your comfort level. Add the salt and soda…stir with your hand if needed. Soak until you feel cleansed of despair, negativity, or other people’s stuff you’ve taken on. This bath is one I use when exposed to nastiness, whether chemical, radiation, or inter-personal. It pulls stuff out of your body and energy field that isn’t good for you. If you like, you can add 5-10 drops of your preferred essential oil, too.
Dried Rose petals, buds, or blossoms – 1 cup
Put dried roses into a half –gallon glass jar. Cover with ½ gallon of boiling water. Cover. Let steep, covered for 60-75 minutes. Pour rose infusion through a sieve or cloth strainer into a full tub or into a bucket, small tub or roasting pan to use as a foot or hand bath. Steep yourself in whichever version of the bath you are in until your heart feels lighter. Rose is the healer who helps you fall in love with your life and yourself again and again, as often as necessary. It also helps you understand or at least respect other points of view. Reserve a cup of rose infusion to drink while in your bath if you are struggling with another person about who is “right”. Rose restores peace in your heart and mind.
You can also find many more healing recipes like these in my book, The Gift of Healing Herbs-Plant Medicines and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life and my writings on how to connect with Nature and your true Nature in my book, Healing Magic, A Green Witch Guidebook to Conscious Living-10th Anniversary edition.
Green blessings and much peace to all, love,
Robin Rose Bennett