In this post, I am going to teach you how to make your own pain relieving herbal bath, a natural remedy for sore muscles and body aches.
What is a herbal bath?
A herbal bath is an amazing way to harness the power of healing herbs through a relaxing, full body soak. It is essentially the same idea as steeping a herbal tea and bathing in it. Since our skin is permeable, we absorb the beneficial properties from the plants as we soak.
I first learned about herbal baths when I was pregnant with my first child, as many doulas and midwives recommend having epsom salts and beneficial natural herbs on hand to aid with postpartum healing.
Since then, I became a doula myself, and postpartum bath soaks has not only become a very special healing tradition for me with each pregnancy, but also something I love to prepare and give to others.
What are some useful herbs for a herbal bath?
You can make all kinds of herbal baths! The herbs you use will depend on what problems you are trying to address. They will also depend on your own unique needs. It is important to take into consideration any allergies or sensitivities before preparing your herbal bath.
Some ingredients in a herbal bath aren’t herbs at all. For example someone with itchy skin may want to take an oatmeal bath or a milk bath. Someone sick with a head cold may want eucalyptus soak.
For this post I will be sharing my favourite recipe of Epsom salts and herbs for sore muscles or joint pain.
This post may contain affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.
Ingredients to Make Your Own Pain Relieving Herbal Bath
There are so many amazing herbs out there that are great for herbal baths. For this recipe, I chose some favourites that are great for pain. I tried to select herbs for this that are easy to source.
Many of these are easy to find at a health food market that sells bulk herbs, or even foraged in your own garden. We love to do a little foraging in the yard or nearby woods as a nature walk activity in our homeschool. It should be fairly simple to find herbs to make your own pain relieving herbal bath.
Fresh or Dried Herbs?
If you are using the herbal bath right away, it is fine to use fresh or dried herbs.
If you plan to prepare this bath for the future, you must dry your herbs first. Never dried herbs before? It is very easy! In order to dry fresh herbs, simply place them on a rack in a single layer or hang them in a dry, warm place for a few days (max. two weeks). Try to keep them in a warm, dry area out of direct sunlight.
7 Best Herbs + an all-Natural Chemical Compound (Salt)
In alphabetical order because, why not?
Calendula is a powerful anti-inflammatory that has been proven to calm muscle spasms. It is also very beautiful and smells a bit like honey! It has been used since Roman times as a food and medicine.
Comfrey leaf is perfect for a healing soak! It is known to reduce pain and inflammation of sore muscles and joints. This herb is not to be used internally – don’t drink the bathwater here, folks!
Epsom salts are the most easily accessible and affordable bath salt and they pack a lot of punch for sore muscles! Technically, what we refer to as Epsom salts are actually magnesium sulfate, a compound known to reduce inflammation and relax muscles.
Lavender has analgesic properties so it is a great one to put in a sore muscle bath. It also smells great and helps relax your mind and body!
Plantain is another amazing plant for wounds and bruises. You can probably find this one in your backyard too!
Wild rose has mildly sedative and anti-inflammatory properties that make it an excellent choice for a herbal bath preparation. Also, rose petals are beautiful and smell wonderful! Rosehips are the fruit from this plant and are also a great choice for soothing the pain of sore muscles or even arthritis.
Rosemary has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that make it a great herb for relieving muscle aches and pains, as well as joint pain.
One of the colloquial names for yarrow is “soldier’s bloodwort,” which goes to show how legendary this herb is for first aid! Yarrow is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. It is also easy to find in your yard, so it’s accessible! Both the flower and the leaf can be used with similar properties. This herb has a strong herbal smell so it is nice to balance it out with some of the other herbs like lavender and rose.
The Herbal Bath Recipe
- 1-2 C Epsom salts
- Comfrey Leaf
- Plantain Leaf
- Rose petals or rosehips
- Mix all herbs together with 1-2 cups of Epsom salts.
- To save for later, store in a clean dry mason jar. Don't forget to label!
- To use immediately, bring to a rolling boil in a large pot full of filtered water. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 mins.
- Strain all the liquid off into a bowl and compost the herbs.
- Add the liquid "tea" to your bath.
- Alternately, you can skip the simmer pot and put the herbs into a muslin bag and place directly in the tub (almost like a teabag!).
Be sure to label this as not for internal use if you are saving it for later or gifting!
Giving a Pain Relief Herbal Bath as a Gift
This recipe is easy to mix up in a large mason jar and add a ribbon to bring to an injured friend or neighbour. It would make a great Christmas gift for anyone who likes to work out or deals with muscle or joint pain. Alternately, you could use a muslin bag rather than a mason jar.
To make it super easy for you to gift this, I made up a free printable PDF gift tag with the ingredients and instructions. Totally optional to use that, but if you do decide to give this away, it is a good idea to label it so that your friend knows what it is!
No time right now? Pin it for later!
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