Updated: Jan 9
SCROLL DOWN FOR KENDRA'S SOOTHING HERBAL BATH TEA RECIPE
Herbal Bath Tea is a traditional way of creating sacred bathing rituals that not only cleanse the body, but soothe the spirit.
A few years ago I decided to start reclaiming my connection to the Earth through gardening. My vegetable garden started out small and at first wasn’t too successful, this lead me to look more into plants that supported pollination. I was elated to discover I could support my garden with a variety plants that not only drew in pollinators, and were stunningly beautiful but could even be medicinal and support my wellness practice. Hence how I came to learn about herbal bath tea.
As I learned more and more about the various healing and medicinal properties of plants that could be grown in my climate I also happened across an article on a Ugandan newborn care practice called Ekyogero (also sometimes Anglicized as Kyogero). Ekyogero is the practice of herbal bathing. Newborns are bathed in a mixture of herbs that introduce some local plant bacteria to the baby. They also help to heal up the umbellical cord, and skin rashes. Certain herbs keep away bad luck, others are intended to induce a peaceful state, others ward off fevers.
But herbals bath tea isn’t just used for newborns. In fact they are used in ritual for plenty of things throughout many different groups indigenous to the African continent – weddings, purification ceremonies, at in end of life rituals/funeral traditions. Ancient Egyptians bathed daily believing it would help purify them for the afterlife, and ritual bathing is still frequently used in Kemetic pratices for mental, physical and spiritual purification. Many people within the African diaspora also use herbal washes to clean negative energies from the home.
Of course I cannot grow some of the herbs grown on the African continent in my garden due to climate, and of course I wouldn’t want to plant potentially invasive species in this soil. Any plants I am unsure of spreading that are not local to here are plants I put into containers to keep them from spreading (such as cornflower and any sort of non-local mint).
After some research on a variety of plants I decided to grow mint (mentha canadensis), Calendula (calendula officinalis), Lavender (lavandula), Corn flowers (centaurea cyanus) and Rose (rosa). I chose these plants not only because they have healing properties, and draw in pollinators and look pretty. They are also companion plants for my veggies – corn flowers also attract the types of wasps that eat cabbage moth larvae (a european invasive moth species), and calendula attracts aphids away from my leafy greens (many folks use ladybugs to eat aphids – but actually they too are an invasive species from the UK, that outcompete many North American insects for food!)
Kendra’s Soothing Herbal Bath Tea Recipe:
1/4 cup dried mint (anti-inflammatory, antipruritic)
1/4 cup dried calendula (anti-inflammatory, soothing)
1/4 cup dried rose (calming, cooling)
1/4 cup cornflower (anti-inflammatory, cooling)
1/4 cup lavender (calming, sedative, relieves insomnia, anxiety)
1/2 cup dead sea salt crystals (sea salt, or Himalayan salt will also do)
Mix ingredients well.
Place 4-5 teaspoons in a compostable tea bag, or reusable natural-fiber drawstring bag (such as a cotton or linen bag) to avoid sending all the plant bits down the drain. Alternatively if you want to put your tea directly into the water, seriously consider using a mesh bathtub strainer to avoid clogging your pipes.