Although this is a time of celebration, it can also be a trying time for our bodies. Winter weather makes it tough sometimes to stick our noses out the front door. Our skin can feel dry and rough. And then there’s those mysterious aches and pains we haven’t felt since last February. Time for a little personal care with scented bath salts and a hot tub of water.
You can make your own herbal bath salts 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.
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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’s the basic recipe:
- 8 cups (3 lbs.) Epsom salts
- 1 cup baking soda
- 4-6 cups fresh-picked scented leaves and flowers
In a plastic storage container (such as a sweater or shoe container) , combine Epsom salts with baking soda and stir. Pour in a purchased potpourri mix or dried leaves and flowers from your garden. Cover your mixture tightly and shake well.
The amounts I’ve given above will create about a gallon of dry mixture. Of course you can cut this in half or fourths if you don’t need that much.
Allow the container to sit for 1-2 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.
For a custom mix of 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:
- Relaxing – basil, catnip, chamomile, lavender, valerian
- Reviving – hyssop, lemon balm, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme
- Relieves aches and pains – fennel, calendula flowers, sage, yarrow
If you plan to pour the bath salt directly in your bath water, store it in an airtight container. You can also put 1 cup portions in muslin or calico cloth bags and seal them in a large plastic bag. With a little decorative ribbon, these make great holiday gifts.