Herbal baths are a great way to use medicinal herbs with your kids. When you bathe in herbs, your skin absorbs the beneficial properties of the plants while you breathe in the therapeutic aromatic oils. The first time I gave my babies a bath, I used a simple Chamomile tea. So relaxing and grounding. I still reach for it any time my kids need to bring down their energy level before bed time. Herbal baths can help to calm an over excited toddler, relax a fussy baby, decongest a stuffy nose, gently lower a fever or soothe itchy skin. The possibilities are endless! Here are some of my favorite herbs for making herbal bath teas…
Chamomile*: Chamomile is my favorite herb for kids and one of the best ways to use it is in the bath. Chamomile relaxes the nervous system making a great bath for nighttime when you need some extra calming energy. It is soothing and anti-inflammatory for the skin. It also promotes healthy digestion making it useful when your child has an upset tummy.
Lavender: Lavender soothes the nervous system which also makes it perfect for nighttime relaxation baths. It is specific for soothing itchy skin and is also a great antibacterial that can be added to the bath when your little one is sick.
Thyme: This is an excellent herb to add to the bath when your kids are sick. It is antiviral and antibacterial. It relaxes irritable or spasmodic coughs and the oils in thyme help to reduce congestion.
Calendula*: Soothing and anti inflammatory, Calendula is an excellent herb for the skin. In the bath, it can provide relief for dry, itchy, inflamed or irritated skin conditions. As a natural anti fungal, it also can be helpful for diaper rash.
Marshmallow: Marshmallow is a demulcent herb which means that it soothes the skin and mucous membranes. When steeped in cold water, rather than hot, it creates a thick, slimy consistency that provides incredible relief for hot, dry, irritated skin conditions.
Elder Flowers: A gentle fever reducer, Elder Flower can be added to the bath when you want to cool the body down. It is also helps to reduce congestion.
Lemon Balm: Lemon Balm can be added to any bath, it is great for so many things! It is a gentle fever reducer, antiviral, relaxant, and soothes upset tummies.
*Both Chamomile and Calendula are in the same family as Ragweed. If you or your kids have an allergy to Ragweed, avoid using these herbs.
How do I prepare an Herbal Bath Tea?
There are two ways to prepare an herbal bath tea. The first is to take a large muslin bag, fill it with a cup of dried herbs and place it in the bath. Gently squeeze the muslin bag several times throughout the bath to release the tea. This will make a light herbal bath. The second, and my personal favorite, is to prepare a strong infusion by steeping 1 cup of dried herbs in 8 cups of boiling water, covered, for about 30 minutes. I use a half gallon mason jar to steep my bath tea. Strain the tea and pour into a warm bath. BE SURE TO POUR THE TEA INTO THE BATH AND TEST THE TEMPERATURE BEFORE YOUR CHILD IS IN THE BATH. You do not want to burn them with hot tea! Keep the bathroom door closed allowing the aromatic oils of the herbs to fill the room and enjoy! Here are some fun recipes to try…
Nighty-Night Bath Tea
2 part Chamomile
1 part Lavender
1 part Lemon Balm
Skin Soothing Bath Tea
1 part Calendula
1 part Chamomile
1 part Lavender
1/2 part Marshmallow
Decongestant Bath Tea
1 part Thyme
1 part Lavender
1 part Elder Flowers
Fever Relief Bath Tea
1 part Elder Flower
1 part Lemon Balm
Have fun, get creative and make your own herbal bath teas. It’s fun to include your kids in the process too. My 3 year old son loves to pick out the herbs and scoop them into the jar himself. I hope you and your kids enjoy bathing in herbal teas as much as my family!
Where can I buy these herbs?
If you have a local apothecary, they will probably have most of these herbs on the shelf. You can also purchase them online at Mountain Rose Herbs*. They are an excellent resource for quality, organic herbs.
*This is an affiliate link. If you decide to purchase any products through this link, I do receive a small commission. You have my deep appreciation if you choose support the little herbal when making your purchases. As always, I only recommend companies & products that I believe in 100% and buy from myself.
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Angela@mamarosemary.comFebruary 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm
Gosh those are some lucky babies you have there! I love all these herbs in the bath and you gave such helpful hints about when to use what. I especially love calendula in the bath for a diaper rash, so perfect!
the little herbalFebruary 6, 2014 at 3:14 am
DeitraFebruary 9, 2014 at 11:55 pm
Hello! I really like this idea! I have a grand daughter who has issues with constipation, can this approach be used for that and if so what would you recommend? Thanks in advance!
the little herbalFebruary 10, 2014 at 2:37 am
Hi Deitra, Herbal Baths might be really nice and relaxing for your grand daughter. I would recommend using some gentle digestive herbs like Chamomile, Marshmallow, Catnip & Fennel. Preparing a tea and having her both drink it and bathe in it would be a great approach. Also check out the post “Tummy Ache Massage Oil” Belly Rubs with nice digestive essential oils are so great for getting things moving too!
DeitraFebruary 10, 2014 at 8:46 am
Thank you very much for your prompt response! I will be putting some of these to use as soon as I can get the order in.
NoonieFebruary 26, 2014 at 2:59 am
Love Love Love this idea! 🙂 I had no idea one could bathe in these herbs and reap so many benefits! Definitely trying this out tonight! Thanks so much for the info + recipes! 🙂
the little herbalFebruary 26, 2014 at 3:38 am
Your welcome! Enjoy!
ShannonMarch 28, 2014 at 7:36 pm
Do you use marshmallow leaf or marshmallow root?
the little herbalMarch 28, 2014 at 7:49 pm
Thanks for clarifying. I always use the root. I find that it has more of the mucilaginous properties which is what I love about Marshmallow.
Fevers are a healthy sign of a strong immune systemMarch 24, 2015 at 8:53 pm
[…] Some herbs that can gently lower fevers include Elder Flower and Lemon Balm. They do not drastically lower the fever. Usually it is just enough to provide some rest and relief but still allow the body to do it’s work. Lemon balm is also a nervine that can help your child to settle and sleep more soundly. I also love Chamomile anytime my kids are sick. It is such a calming herb that helps to relieve any tightness in the body and encourage rest and relaxation. You can also use the same herbs to make an herbal bath. […]
JamieAugust 23, 2015 at 9:48 am
I have 2 lbs of marshmellow root someone gave me any suggestions of other bath teas I can make my 5 year old. I have chamomile and rose too.
the little herbalAugust 23, 2015 at 1:07 pm
Score! Marshmallow in a bath is great for soothing the skin, so you add it into any skin soothing herbal bath. Marshmallow Root, Chamomile & Rose would be lovey! Calming & Soothing. You can also drink Marshmallow root tea. It is great for supporting healthy digestion and moistening the body from the inside out.
JamieAugust 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm
Awesome ! Going to make some now. How much do u think I sold add it seems super strong. I want to eat wasabi everytime I smell it. I also have nettle.
KimieOctober 8, 2015 at 11:04 am
While I am aware of the lists of Essential Oils that we must avoid with babies, I am wondering about the use of herbal teas, too. Lemon Balm EO is on the ” not safe for children under 2″ list …much, much diluted in a bath…so is it ok?
the little herbalOctober 9, 2015 at 2:44 pm
Great question! Essential oils are super duper concentrated volatile oils of plants. And because they are so concentrated, you have to be very careful when using them, especially with kids. That is why I love to use whole herbs with my kids most often and save the essential oils only when we really need them. Whole Lemon Balm leaf is very safe for kiddos. It is great for relaxation as well as for colds & flu because it has anti viral properties. We use it often in our home in tea, tincture & bath. You can find more info on Lemon Balm and it’s uses if you download my free E Book, “The Little Herbal: A Beginner’s Guide to Herbs for Kids”.