The bath is a good place to start in treating your overall body and enjoying the relaxing benefits of herbs and essential oils. Begin with a strong herbal infusion of lavender or chamomile flowers to soothe a variety of skin irritations. The stronger you make the tea, the more healing potential it will have. If this is just to soothe and pamper your skin, you may choose to make it weaker than if you were treating hives, rash, or sunburn.
• 2 quarts water
• 1 to 2 cups dried lavender or chamomile flowers, or a combination of both
• 1 large piece of cheesecloth or a fine strainer
• 8 drops lavender essential oil, if desired
1. Bring the water to a boil.
2. Remove from the heat and add the dried herbs.
3. Cover and let steep until the water has cooled to lukewarm.
4. Strain the tea into the tub with a piece of cheesecloth, folded in quarters, or a fine strainer.
5. Tie the strained herbs in the cheesecloth or in any thin, soft, clean cloth—T-shirt fabric works well. You can use this bundle of herbs as a scrub, or hold it on a troubled area as a poultice. (Chamomile and lavender are both soothing to sunburned shoulders or other strips of unprotected skin that may have been scorched.)
6. If you have any skin irritations or burns, or are merely in need of some relaxing aromatherapy, add 8 drops of lavender essential oil to the bath water.
7. Soak as long as you like.
Click here for the main article, Skin That Loves Summer.
Mindy Green is an herbalist, aromatherapist, educator, and writer. She is also an esthetician, a consultant to the natural products industry, and director of education at the Herb Research Foundation in Boulder, Colorado. She is the author of Natural Perfumes (Interweave Press, 1999) and co-author of Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art (The Crossing Press, 1995).