I’d just come in from the South Forty, better known as my backyard. I’d finished one of those grimy but necessary garden chores. After dropping muddy shoes at the door, I walk gingerly through the kitchen. I feel prickly as a cactus patch and twice as dusty.
The clock over the stove tells me my Noisier Half (a.k.a. my husband) will soon pull in the driveway. My disheveled clothes and aroma of sun screen mixed with garden soil are enough to discourage any amorous thoughts he may have been harboring. Tiptoeing through the living room, I consider ways to restore my allure. Time for the tub!
Some gardening jobs leave you gritty, sore, and untouchable. At moments like these, there’s nothing quite like a nice bath to soothe prickly skin and invigorate aching muscles. The warm water surrounds your body with comfort. It’s even more therapeutic if you have on hand your own herbal bath salts.
You can make your own with a mixture of Epsom salts and baking soda plus herbs from your garden. Epsom salts is a natural mineral that helps fight inflammation bacterial growth. It’s great for soaking scraped skin or sore body parts. Baking soda is equally beneficial to the skin. Like bath soap, it’s slightly alkaline, which helps it to loosen dry skin, heal windburn, and soothe insect bites.
It’s easy as pie to combine these minerals with the scent of herbs for a great bath mix. The main ingredients can be bought on your next trip for groceries.
Here the recipe:
8 cups (3 lbs.) Epsom salts
1 cup baking soda
4-6 cups fresh-picked scented leaves and flowers
In a large bowl, combine Epsom salts with baking soda and stir. Add fresh scented leaves and flowers from your garden. Make sure the herbs and flowers don’t have external moisture that would wet the baking soda and cause it to cake.
For the herbs, you can combine any with a scent you enjoy. Mint and rosemary are a good combination for a stimulating aroma. Mix lemon balm, chamomile, and lemon verbena if you want a soothing soak. Use scented geranium leaves, lavender buds, and rose petals for a Victorian bath. Or create your own combination with these:
Cover your mixture tightly and allow to sit for two weeks in a warm spot. The essential oils from the herbs will infuse the salt mixture with their scent. Use a sieve to remove the leaves and flowers.
If you plan to pour the bath salt directly in your bath water, store it in an airtight container. You can also put 1/2 cup portions in muslin or calico bags and seal them in a large plastic bag. With a little decorative ribbon, these make great holiday gifts.
Time in the tub with my herbal salts soaks away my aches and makes me kiss-ably smooth and sweet. And just in time – I hear my darling’s car lurching to rest in the driveway. It’s going to be a great evening!