Give the Gift of Relaxation with Herbal Bath Blends

| October/November 2005

  • An aromatic bath or foot soak is one of the simplest and most pleasurable forms of herbal therapy.

You can pamper your loved ones year-round by creating these personalized, high-quality bath soaks and salts.

As the holidays approach it’s easy to be pulled into the consumption stream. But do we really want to fight traffic and swim through the multitudes in the malls? Must we? Suppose instead that we focus on tranquility with gifts of herbal bath blends to impart a message of love and peace to the folks on our gift lists.

The ingredients can be homegrown or of a high quality from vendors near home. These are gifts we can make from imagination and wisdom, laced through and through with intimate knowledge of our friends and family members. Part of the fun can be inventive packaging that’s appropriate to the product and the person. Always include instructions for use.


Because each individual may react differently, be sure to include the instruction to do a patch test on the skin before using the product, especially if you or your loved one has not used this particular blend before. Advise your gift’s recipient to apply a small amount of the product, dissolved in a little water if it’s solid, on the inner part of the elbow and wait a few hours to see if any redness or itching develops. Many essential oils are not safe for use by pregnant or nursing women. Do your research carefully if you are giving herbal gifts to an expectant mother or others who may be at risk of an adverse reaction.


An aromatic bath or foot soak is one of the simplest and most pleasurable forms of herbal therapy. Just the thought of soaking in hot water is relaxing, but when you add herbs or essential oils, the experience becomes a sensory treat that can soothe, rejuvenate or stimulate. We’ll discuss how to use dried herbs and flowers on their own and in combination with essential oils (be sure to use pure, natural essential oils, not fragrance oils that are synthetically produced), salts and other oils for the bath and shower. You can create your own scents or use our recipes as a guide. These aromatic preparations can be packaged and presented in pretty bottles or containers. They can be combined with other spa items such as a nail brush, sisal washcloth or luffa, bath brush, cotton washcloth or towel, potpourri or whatever you dream up, and packed into a nice basket or box for a total pampering experience.


For gifts that are simple to create, we use dried herbs, flowers, seeds and citrus peel to make bath blends and tie them up in pieces of muslin or cheesecloth. The small muslin bags used for bouquet garni and tea blends are ideal for this, since they can be emptied, washed and dried, and used again. We often package herb bath blends in a jar, tie on a filled bag, and write instructions on the label as to how much to use and how to recycle the cloth bags. We also have used the paper tea bags that you fill and iron to seal closed, and we put a dozen or so of them in a jar — all your recipient has to do is drop one or two of them in a tub of hot water.

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