Taking care of yourself shouldn’t be a challenge, but after a long day it can be hard to fit in one more thing — even if it’s good for you. Herbal baths are a simple and relaxing way to support your well-being while winding down. Using the power of herbs and the soothing of warm water, you can absorb supportive plant constituents through the largest organ in your body: your skin.

Making an herbal bath is a variation on an activity you’re likely familiar with: making tea. By making a strong herbal tea and adding it to your bathwater, you can get the full benefits of water-soluble plant medicine without leaving your tub a big mess of dried flowers and leaves.

Making an herbal bath tea is easy. All you need are two basic ingredients to start, then you can customize depending on what you like:

  • 1 oz. dried herbs
  • 1 quart boiling water

Directions

  1. Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the dried herbs.
  2. Cover, and let steep for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Strain the liquid through a tea strainer, cheesecloth, or an old, clean shirt.
  4. Add the tea directly to a full, warm bath. For additional relaxation, add 2 cups of Epsom salts directly to the bath.

Check the temperature to make sure it is comfortable, and get on in! Try to soak for at least 20 minutes to receive the full benefits of the bath.

Note: If your bath tea includes roots, you may want to simmer the herbs and water on the stove for 20 minutes rather than just pouring hot water over the herbs and letting them steep.

Epsom salts

Epsom salts are a classic bath ingredient — and probably the simplest! Just add two cups to a full, warm bath and soak to reap the muscle-relaxing and pain-reducing benefits of magnesium.

Dried herbs

Any herb you’d use in herbal tea to drink can be used for a bath tea. While there are specific herbs that help with specific physical states, any aromatic herb will offer benefits of relaxation and ease. Lavender, peppermint, and even kitchen herbs such as sage, rosemary, and thyme can be lovely additions to a bath tea. If you want to make your bath truly special, roses always elevate the experience and have the added benefit of toning the skin.

Ingredients

  • ⅓ oz. dried ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • ⅓ oz. dried sweet birch bark (Betula lenta)
  • ⅓ oz. dried yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • 2 cups Epsom salts
  • 1 quart water

Directions

  1. In a pan on the stovetop, add the ginger and birch bark to the water.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add the yarrow and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the liquid through a tea strainer, cheesecloth, or an old, clean shirt.
  4. Add the tea directly to a full, warm bath, and add the Epsom salts. Relax in the bath and feel your aches and pains drift away.

Ingredients

  • 1 quart water
  • ⅓ oz. lavender (Lavandula spp.)
  • ⅓ oz. lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
  • ⅓ oz. rose (Rosa spp.)

Directions

  1. Bring water to a boil, and pour it over the dried herbs.
  2. Cover, and let steep for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Strain the liquid through a tea strainer, cheesecloth, or an old, clean t-shirt.
  4. Add the tea directly to a full, warm bath. Give yourself the gift of at least 20 minutes soaking up the plant constituents and enjoying the soothing fragrance of these herbs.

Don’t have time to mix up your own bath tea? If you’re feeling a cold or flu coming on, check out the Under the Weather Bath Soak from Fat and the Moon. This powder can be added directly to your bath, and helps to support your body in fighting off illness by warming your body and increasing circulation.

Skin feeling a little itchy? The New Moon Bath Tea from Aquarian Soul will help soothe both your dry skin and your frazzled mind. This bath tea comes in pre-portioned tea bags, so just throw a few into your hot bath and start healing.

Want some extra help figuring out what you need? Working with an herbalist who specializes in teas can be a helpful step to support you in creating your own healing baths.


Sarah M. Chappell is a clinical herbalist, writer, and teacher based in Asheville, NC. When not making alcohol-free herbal remedies or sharing how to use tarot as a tool for self-care, she enjoys knitting, playing with her rescue pit bull, and posting on Instagram