To Herb or Not to Herb…

Lovely Herbs

Lovely Fresh Herbs

I happily admit that I’m one of those non-preservative, non-artificial, non-modified foods, organic, vegetarian, natural, recycling, environmental, Eastern medicine types.

For longer then I care to admit to, I’ve made herbal things: soaps, bath stuff, flavored oils and vinegars, lip balms; and embraced Acupuncture (my messed up shoulder and arm are very grateful), herbs, and natural supplements. Prescription medication is always a ‘choice of last result’ for me.

I drive my family nuts.

So anyway, I thought I’d take a few minutes and share a few recipes and resources for those of you that just might want to spoil yourselves…  but be forewarned, once you make these yourself, you’ll never be able to look at a store version again.

Herbal Bath Scrub – In a Bag!
There are two ways to make these, you get to decide which you like better.  Personally, I prefer the bag, but hey – it’s all good.

You Need:

  • Either a 3″ x 5″ muslin bag with draw string (Dharma Trading sells these) or
  • Cheesecloth about 5″ square (you’ll also need some string or crochet thread to tie it shut)
  • Slow cooking oatmeal; 1/2 cup per herbal bag
  • Soap flakes; grated natural soap such as Ivory or a nice glycerin; 1/2 cup per herbal bag
  • Freshly dried herbs. Okay you can use older dried herbs… I just like drying my own (told you I drive my family nuts) You’ll need between 1-2 tablespoons of the herbs per bag depending on how full you make it.

Making It:
Now comes the difficult part. Mix together in a glass bowl the oatmeal, soap flakes and herbs. Transfer this mixture to your ‘bag’ or the center of your cheesecloth square. Snug the ties on the bag or pull up the corners of the cheesecloth and tie securely with the string.

To Use:
Wet your bundle while soaking or showering and gently rub over your body! It helps clean, removes icky dry/flaking/old skin, and smells wonderful. Just hang it up to dry between uses.

Herb Variations:

  • Restful: chamomile, lavender, rose petals,
  • Awake: peppermint, mint, orange, lemon, costmary
  • Happy: lemon balm, mint, rosemary, basil

Of course you can always use what ever herbs you like – this is only a guideline. Another advantage of doing-it-yourself.

Muslin Bags with Drawstring

Variation on a Theme
Want a slight variation on those bags? Well, just leave out the soap flakes and oatmeal and add lots of herbs instead.

Now hang that herb bag under the faucet in your bathtub so the water hits it as the tub fills. You can also use it as a simple skin scrub.

Witch Hazel
Is there anyone that doesn’t have a bottle of witch hazel in their ‘fridge – especially during the summer? It feels so good smoothed over your face in the heat.

Be aware that there really is a difference in witch hazel – splurge and get the $4 bottle instead of the $1.75 one. You can get it from your local health food shop or favorite organic store. It seems silly I know, but you will notice a difference.

Get a couple of smaller empty bottles (with or without spray tops) – and divide up the witch hazel into them. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of dried herbs to the bottles. Experiment! Neem, chamomile, calendula, lavender….  what ever you want to use. Let sit for a day in the ‘fridge before using, then spritz (or rub) and cool to your hearts desire!

Sources:
Muslin bags and other wonderful stuff – Dharma Trading. I’ve been buying from them for well over 23 years now. http://www.dharmatrading.com.

Herbs and essential oils – San Francisco Herb Co. I have almost as long a track record with these nice folks.  http://www.sfherb.com.

Well it’s time for me to play again – I just have to convince the fur-kids that the herbs are not catnip; they keep trying to steal everything…

–Annie

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