When you are tired, frustrated, angry, or distraught a warm bath may be the best thing to relieve stress and bring back a sense of well-being. Add soothing herbs to that bath and you have created a relaxing, healthful, and healing experience that will help you meet the challenges of the day or get a good night’s sleep. If you like to garden, why not grow some herbs just for the purpose of adding them to your bath?

Here are five easy to grow herbs that can contribute to a soothing herbal bath.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Peter Rabbit’s mother was not the only one to recognize the healing properties of chamomile. She made a tea for Peter’s aching head but the herb has long been used to cure a wide variety of ills. The small daisy-like flowers contain a volatile oil with healing properities and contribute a pleasant apple-like fragrance to the bath.

    Type: Annual
    Height: 2-3’
    Flowering Time: Late spring throught late summer
    Light: Full sun to partial shade
    Soil: Sandy, well-drained

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
The spikes of blue flowers make this herb a very attractive plant as well as a useful one. Use it in the bath with thyme, mint and rosemary.

    Type: Perennial
    Height: 2-3’
    Flowering Time: Summer
    Light: Full sun to partial shade
    Soil:Light, well-drained
    Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
The leaves of this floppy, homely herb have a lemon fragrance that is enough to recommend it for the garden as well as the bath. It also has good cleansing qualities and makes a fine facial. As a side note, lemon balm acts like a weak form of Valium and the 17th century British herbalist Culpeper wrote it “causeth the mind and heart to become merry,…and driveth away all troublesome cares and thoughts out of the mind…”

    Type: Perennial
    Height: 2’
    Flowering Time: Late summer
    Light: Full sun to shade
    Soil: Average, well-drained
    Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
The yellow button-like flowers and fern-like leaves make tansy a very attractive herb in the garden but it can become invasive. When the plant is crushed it releases a pleasant pine scent.

    Height: 3-4’
    Flowering Time: Late summer
    Light: Full sun to partial shade
    Soil: Average, well-drained to dry, slightly acid
    Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Long known as a natural tranquilizer, vervain is also an attractive garden plant bearing clusters of small white pink tinged flowers above dark green lobed leaves. The root contains the magic substance that makes the herb so special. The downside to this herb is its smell likened by one authority to that of dirty socks.

    Type: Perennial
    Height: 3.5-5’
    Flowering Time: Early summer
    Light: Full sun to partial shade
    Soil: Fertile, humusy, moist
    Hardiness:Zones 4-9

If you decide to make your own herbal mixes for the bath be sure to contain the plant material in a cheese cloth bag or tea strainer. Don’t just put a handful of herbs in the bath water or you will emerge covered with pieces of debris, probably not what you had in mind. You can also prepare the herbs for the bath by steeping them (about ½ cup) in boiling water for 10-20 minutes and adding them to the bath water.

Herbs pointer

By Karen