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Master Gardener Journal  


Herbs for the Bath

by Duise C. Barnes,
Master Gardener Intern


Herbs have long been considered a basic garden element. They come in many attractive shapes and forms. Quite often, a new gardener will purchase a plant based strictly on its appearance, and then find out the plant is, in fact, an herb that can be used in cooking or for other purposes.

Throughout the centuries, herbs have been used by various cultures for diet and medicinal purposes. One particularly interesting ancient application involved training herbs such as rosemary and lavender into living garden benches. Food for thought: the benches also served as deodorizing agents.

With the holidays just around the corner, many of you may be in the market for homemade gift ideas. If so, consider making herbal bath bundles for the people on your gift list, using the recipes at the bottom of the page. The directions call for wrapping the herbs in plain muslin or cheesecloth, but you can dress them up using fancy fabric and ribbons.

Herbal Baths*
The ideal temperature for a morning bath is 96.8°F (36°C). An evening bath should be between 96.8°F (36°C) and 102°F (39°C). A muscle- or joint-soothing bath after intense exertion or a day of high stress should be between104°F (40°C) and 107°C (42°C). If you have health issues, it is recommended that you check with your doctor first.

Here are four great-smelling herbal bath recipes to try. Fill a piece of muslin or cheesecloth with the herbs, then tie the ends and toss the bundle into the water as the tub fills.

Stimulating Basil, Eucalyptus & Peppermint Bath
1/4 C. Dried basil to regenerate mental powers, 1/4 C. dried eucalyptus for treating lack of concentration, 1/4 C. dried peppermint to alleviate mental fatigue and lack of concentration

Tonic Lemon Orange Bath
1/4 C. grated lemon peel to treat lethargy, 1/4 C. grated orange peel to fight depression and anxiety, 1 Tbsp. Dried parsley for stimulation, 1 Tbsp. Dried comfrey, a mild antiseptic

Revitalizing Ginger, Lemon & Parsley Bath Combo
1/4 C. minced ginger root for promoting circulation, 1/4 C. dried parsley, tonic for skin, 1/4 C. lemon peel for cleansing and aromatic effect, 2 Tbsp. oatmeal to soften water

Invigorating Rosemary & Sage Bath 1/4 C. dried rosemary to relieve mental fatigue, 1/4 C. dried sage to treat loss of concentration, 2 Tbsp. oatmeal to soften water

*From Secrets of the Spas by Catherine Bardey


Maricopa County Master Gardener Volunteer Information
Last Updated January 25, 2003
Author: Lucy K. Bradley, Extension Agent Urban Horticulture, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County
© 1997 The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County
Comments to Maricopa-hort@ag.arizona.edu 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040,
Voice: (602) 470-8086 ext. 301, Fax (602) 470-8092