The beauty industry has taken our delight in bathing and created a never-ending line of bubbly soaks and soothing oils to cope with all our needs. We can be de- stressed, moisturised, soothed and scented with just a cap full of coloured liquid.
Alongside these are the well-known homeopathic bath beauty products that have been successful for many years.
The rise of the foodie culture, organic growing, sustainability and alternative therapies has reignited an interest in therapeutic, natural botanical remedies. But far from being a transient fad, the use of herbs and flowers for medicine and what we would now call beauty therapy purposes was engrained in the daily life of many ancient cultures.
The ancient Greeks and Romans grew herbs and recorded their uses and findings in manuals on herbalism, some of the oldest books in history, with much of the information still relevant. Today in a culture of ‘heal thyself’ and amid growing concerns regarding some routine and over the counter medicines and their side effects, the web is alive with alternative treatments for minor ailments and for increasing a sense of well-being.
Methods range form hurling some herbal tea bags into your bath and allowing them to steep for a while, to growing, drying and blending your own herbs.
If not, then perhaps the easiest natural ingredient to add to the tub is sea salt, which is good for relaxation, relieving stress and enhancing circulation, all while you imagine you’re by the sea!
But if herbs appeal then lavender is a must for its relaxing and calming properties and it makes a lovely base to be mixed with geranium. Calendula is excellent for those with dry skin, while yarrow is a cure-all for minor cuts and abrasions. Rosemary soothes away aches and pains and basil will refresh and up- lift you. Roman soldiers would bathe in thyme to invigorate and bring luck prior to battle. Now both thyme and lemon balm will do the same for you – hopefully without the desire for fighting.
Many parents are well aware of the decongestant property of eucalyptus but chamomile is so mild that it has been used to de-stress and aid sleep for fractious children.
Whatever your preference or need, herbs are readily available and quick and easy to grow, adding both beauty and scent to the garden and to your bath.
Written by Gill Grant