I’ve been studying herbal medicine for almost 5 years now.
About 2 years into my studying, I thought “wow, I know a lot!” … and now I’ve hit a point 5 years in, where I feel like I don’t know anything at all.
Funny how that happens, isn’t it?
In the beginning of learning anything, you truly “don’t know what you don’t know.” But as you get deeper into a subject, you realize how much more there is to learn.
I know that compared a random person on the street, I do know a lot about natural health, beauty and healing. But as all of that knowledge settles into my mind, it becomes a part of me – and I forget that it’s there. Making herbal teas is just normal – I don’t think about it. Rather than reaching for a pill, I reach for food & herbs. When I get sick, I look at my lifestyle first – where have I been pushing too hard? What have I been eating? What is out of balance? This way of thinking has become so normal to me, I don’t even realize I’m doing it.
And in a way, that makes it harder to write VintageAmanda, because I forget what is interesting (and I need you tell me!)
Case in point this week – oatmeal baths.
I’m sure you’ve seen oatmeal bath sachets for sale in the drugstore. They’re soothing for all types of irritated skin, rashes, sensitive skin, eczema etc, and are especially popular for little kids.
But there’s no big secret to oatmeal baths. And you certainly don’t need to buy expensive sachets. You can make your own in less than a minute – and even add soothing herbs like marigold, chamomile or lavender for extra skin-soothing power. Oh and they smell AMAZING.
So why doesn’t everyone know how to make these?! Let’s change that, right now. Make one, then tell your friends with children. Let’s spread the skin-soothing power, it’s so easy, and in my experience, oatmeal baths really work.
Why oatmeal baths?
Oats are extremely soothing and calming to the skin. They’ve been a traditional remedy for relaxation and skin irritation for hundreds of years. In fact, it’s one of the traditional remedies that is still in common use today – although now the oats are powdered and sold in small, expensive sachets!
You mean, actual oatmeal? Like from breakfast?
Yes. Regular, unflavored oatmeal. Not instant maple brown sugar flavor, please.
Should I add herbs to the bath bag? Which ones?
Adding herbs to the bath bag is completely optional, but I think it does add extra skin-soothing power, and smells nice. You have a lot of flexibility here, but you’ll want to choose soothing herbs which enhance the oats.
Calendula (Marigold) – My #1 skin herb. Calendula is traditionally known as a wound-healing herb, because it promotes cell repair and is anti-septic to prevent infection. It’s widely used in cosmetics for it’s skin benefits, and makes a powerful addition to this bath.
Chamomile – a relaxing, calming and anti-inflammatory herb. It also adds to the relaxing smell (aromatherapy during your bath!)
Lavender – the smell of lavender in the bath helps to relax you and reduce stress.
You might also consider adding rose petals.
How to make an oatmeal bath bag
I tried this recipe with 2 types of washcloths: a regular washcloth, and a thinner facial muslin (that I use with my hot cloth cleanser.) I preferred the thinner muslin, but use what you have on hand, or try both and see which you prefer.
Also, don’t stress about the herbs. If you don’t have any on hand, then just use the oatmeal alone. Or put a chamomile tea bag into the mix (bag and all, right in the washcloth.)
Oatmeal, Marigold & Lavender Bath
Ingredients for 1 bath bag
1/2 cup (6 Tb.) rolled oats (like you eat for breakfast. Gluten-free if you’re sensitive to gluten.)
1 Tb. lavender buds, dried
1 Tb. chamomile flowers, dried
washcloth – thinner muslin is best (or try these muslin bags)
string / yarn / ribbon
Note: You can leave out all of the flowers. Or just use one type of flower. Or use all 3. It’s up to you!
Place oats + flowers in center of washcloth. Pull up the corners to make a little bag, and tie tightly with string or yarn. That’s it!
It doesn’t really matter how many oats you use – you can use up to 1 cup per bath. Or you can use less. It depends how big your tub is and how milky you like the water.
To use: Simply place one bath bag in a warm running bath.
Squeeze the bag to get the milky liquid out of the oats. Leave the bag in the bath. You can also use the bag to gently wash yourself and get more oaty/herbal goodness.
After the bath, squeeze out remaining liquid. Cut string. Shake herbs and oats into the trash (or compost pile). Wash the cloth for reuse.
Et voila! A DIY, homemade oatmeal bath for irritated, sensitive skin, chicken pox or eczema!
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