leaves and stems. Boil the water first. Turn off
the heat. Add your herb, cover with the lid. Let
it steep for about 10 minutes (infusion method).
Never use metal, instead, opt for a glass or enamel pan. Use about a pint of water to every
ounce of herb. Strain the mixture, then use the liquid.
For roots, bark and
seeds, use the same
non-metallic pan as above. But this time you will actually
keep the plant parts at a very slow rolling boil for at least
10-15 minutes with the lid ajar. A good idea is to use
a mortar and pestle to gently grind the roots or other hard
parts of the plant before you boil them to help them release
their properties further. After boiling, cover and
steep for another 5-10 minutes. Strain, then use the liquid. This is the decoction method.
Just the fact that
you are drinking a nice hot beverage will do wonders for
warming you from the inside out. But herbs that will
add even more to that warm feeling will be the more relaxing
herbs of Catnip or Lemon Balm. Or you can use the more
stimulating herbs such as Elder flowers or Peppermint.
Experiment by adding a small amount of Cayenne or Ginger.
You may want to add Lemon or Honey for flavor.
Taking a nice
warm bath in herbal properties can be very effective.
Make sure that the temperature of the water is neither too
hot nor too cool, 90-95 degrees is perfect for most.
Minerals such as sea salts can be added, and/or herbs.
Making an infusion or decoction first and then adding it to
the bath is probably the most effective way to make an
herbal bath. Another way would be to hang a tea bag
filled with herbs under the spigot. The running warm
water releases the properties of the herbs. Footbaths
with stimulating herbs are ideal for tired feet that need a
You'll want to use
the same herbs and flowers listed above under herbal teas.
These are herbs that have warming properties. This
same tea will be what you will add to your bath water.
the properties by making an herbal tea (see directions
above). Put the liquid
into a double boiler with double that amount of a vegetable oil such
as Olive or Almond oil. Simmer until the water
evaporates. Add a little beeswax to make a thicker
consistency. Stir and heat slowly until completely
melted. Pour into a small jar with lid. A drop
of tincture of benzoin per ounce of fat may be added as a
Infused Oil -
To make an oil
that will work well as a warming
body massage, use a double boiler to heat as much massage
oil as you'll need. Usually two to four cups of Almond
oil is a good start. Slowly heat the oil without
getting it too hot. Add a spicy pepper (cut into a few
large pieces), a couple of cinnamon sticks and a small
slice of slightly mashed Ginger (or any combination of the
three). Continue heating on low heat for 3-5 hours.
Cover the pan but leave the lid slightly ajar. Strain
the mixture, bring to room temperature. You may then
add a few drops of essential oils such as lemon, or
rosemary for even more stimulating properties as well as a
nice fresh scent. This oil is lovely when massaged
into tired achy muscles. It's also nice to massage
into legs to increase stimulation.
Make sure to heat
the oil slightly when applying it to the body, especially on
a cold day (for obvious reasons). To add a bit more of a liniment effect,
you may add a very minute amount of camphor crystals to the
oil when it is initially made. It will add a slight
tingling sensation and give that "deep-heating rub" feel. Add only a very small
amount, it is quite potent and a little goes a long way.
may be toxic when used internally.
By bruising or
mashing the plant material and heating it, it can then be
applied directly to an area of the body that needs to be soothed and
warmed. A good way to do this is put
the paste inside a hot moist towel that is
continuously kept hot by placing new hot towels over the
first as it starts to cool. Clean the skin thoroughly
after the treatment. Ginger or cayenne peppers are
good for this, but make sure to wrap them in a towel because
they can be quite stimulating to the skin.
This is the same
idea as a poultice, but calls for a series of towels being
saturated by the warm herbal solution of your choice and
being placed consecutively on the affected area. This
method is not quite as effective, but it is less messy.
Vapor Bath -
This method is
used for both the respiratory system as well as skin
detoxification and is of course...warming. Place the plant material into boiling
water, turn off the heat. Let the herbs steep for at
least 10 minutes with the pot covered. Pour the
mixture into a Pyrex bowl as shown below, or leave it in the
pot. Then, using a
towel over your head to keep the steam directly on your
face, lean over the bowl or uncovered pot. Be
careful that the steam is not too hot before you put
the towel over your head, and lean over the mixture. If it's too hot, either wait
until it cools to a comfortable temperature, or add a small
amount of cool water.
will be both physically warming and good for the respiratory
system if the right herbs are used such as Eucalyptus,
Elecampane, Lungwort, Comfrey, or Wild Cherry bark.