Herbs for At-Home Beauty TreatmentsBy:
We asked Trisha Shirey, the director of Flora and Fauna at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas, to share a bouquet of her favorite herbs for homemade spa treatments. Here are her fragrant picks.
Bay leaves are stimulating and soothing.
Calendula flowers are soothing for dry skin.
Chamomile flowers contain a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient called azulene. It calms and soothes itchy, irritated skin. A good addition for a child’s bath.
Ginger root may be grated using a Microplane grater and added to baths to stimulate skin, increase blood flow, and energize the body. It also can be added to coconut oil for a stimulating and mildly exfoliating skin scrub. Ginger tones and softens the skin.
Horsetail or Equisetum is a mineral-rich astringent. Good for skin toning and improving hair and nails.
Lavender is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory and healing for the skin. It relaxes you, calms nerves, and aids in getting a good night’s sleep.
Lemon balm is cleansing and sedating.
Marjoram is a decongestant and is invigorating. It aids with muscle pain and strains.
Rosemary is stimulating and refreshing to add to baths and hair rinses. A good choice for baths for sore muscles.
Rose petals from your organically grown roses add a nice fragrance to any bath or body treatment.
Sage is antiseptic and astringent and deeply cleansing for the skin. It is especially good for oily skin.
Spearmint and peppermint are cooling, anti-inflammatory, and very refreshing. They contain menthol, which stimulates blood flow. Peppermint is stimulating and invigorating.
“This is a great syrup for spasmodic coughs or to lift the spirits,” says its creator, Jane Hawley Stevens of Four Elements Organic Herbals, who also warns, “Violets can cause apoplexy, although some use the flower for this reason!” To make your own violet syrup, in a small pan over medium heat, mix 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water. Simmer to dissolve, turn off heat, and immediately add 1 cup fresh-picked violets; let sit for 1 hour to overnight. Strain violets, then bottle, and label and date.
Make-at-Home Recipes, Fresh from the Garden into your Bath
Pick your own herbs right out of your garden, or purchase them at your local co-op or grocery store and start experimenting! There are numerous ways to enjoy the healing power of herbs in your everyday health and beauty rituals. We’ve gathered a handful of easy at-home recipes from the pros to inspire you, beginning with these four wonderful bath recipes created by Trisha Shirey, director of Flora and Fauna at Lake Austin Spa.
Basic Bath Infusion
4 cups fresh herbs, or
2 cups dried herbs of choice
1 quart boiling water
Add herbs to boiling water. Stir, cover, and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 10 minutes, strain, and add to bath.
Sore Muscle Bath Blend
2 cups fresh rosemary
½ cup fresh sage
½ cup fresh eucalyptus leaves
½ cup fresh bay leaves
2 TBL allspice berries
1 cup fresh peppermint
1 cup fresh comfrey, chopped
1 TBL whole cloves
One 4-inch piece of ginger root,