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How to prepare and enjoy a rosemary cleansing bath to promote overall emotional balance and relief from stress and anxiety.
When it comes to emotional balance, rosemary is perhaps the best herb to consider using medicinally.
While cooking with rosemary regularly is a wonderful way to go (just stuff a few sprigs in the cavity of roast chicken), externally soaking in a rosemary-infused bath is an excellent approach as well.
Most detoxification bath recipes are designed to remove toxins or improve nutrient status for minerals such as sulfur and magnesium.
However, therapeutic bathing can also be helpful to facilitate brain health not just the cleansing of bodily tissues.
Soaking in rosemary bath, in particular, helps promote emotional balance and relief from stress and anxiety.
Rosemary and Emotional Health
How does rosemary contribute to emotional balance?
Research has demonstrated that simply inhaling rosemary aroma lowers levels of the deadly stress hormone cortisol in the saliva. (1)
Isolated constituents, especially carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid are scientifically supported as natural substances to help people suffering from anxiety and other nervous system disorders. (2)
High cortisol levels are caused by stress and anxiety that may be precipitated either by negative thought loops or actual events. Interestingly, the subconscious is unable to tell the difference! (3)
In short, cortisol is a very powerful “fight or flight” hormone.
Historically, rosemary was well known for its brain-balancing effects, particularly with regard to clear thinking and memory.
Even today, rosemary is sometimes burned in the homes of students in Greece who are about to take exams. (4)
When cortisol levels are high, clear thinking is a challenge, which rosemary can help remediate.
It is always delightful to see the marriage of folklore with scientifically demonstrated effects!
Why a Rosemary Bath?
Is a rosemary bath the only way to enjoy the emotionally balancing effects of rosemary?
However, the pleasant physical stimulus on the skin of sitting in a warm bath is inherently relaxing.
This enhances the therapeutic herbal effects, in my opinion.
During warm weather when a bath isn’t so appealing, a cup of a rosemary herbal infusion (warm or iced) may be more desirable.
Renowned herbalist Susun Weed says that the oldest recipes call for soaking several handfuls of fresh rosemary in a glass of white wine for several days, then sipping as needed to calm anxiety-induced palpitations. (5)
Nowadays, rosemary in capsules, tincture, and essential oils for aromatherapy are readily available and more convenient.
However, I personally prefer and suggest using fresh rosemary as practiced in folklore as the best approach:
- herbal infusion (summer)
- Pouring the infusion in a relaxing warm rosemary bath (winter)
Sticking with tea or a brain-balancing bath also protects against getting too much into the system. This can paradoxically have the opposite intended effect. (6)
How to Prepare and Enjoy
A therapeutic bath of fresh rosemary is quite simple to prepare.
The only thing you need is a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and hot filtered water.
While you can use dried rosemary (1 ounce by weight per quart of water), I suggest fresh as optimal to maximize the aromatic effects.
Where to get fresh rosemary if you don’t grow it yourself? I suggest farmer’s markets when in season or the refrigerated section of a supermarket or health food store.
There are commonly small packages of fresh rosemary sprigs (like these) available for purchase that cost about $2.
Rosemary Herbal Infusion
With your fresh rosemary ready, simply place 2-3 sprigs in a quart mason jar.
Add boiling water to just below the rim.
Screw on the lid and allow the herbs to infuse in the water for 1-4 hours.
Turn the jar every hour or so if possible.
Once your rosemary herbal infusion is ready, open the lid and take one or two deep sniffs of the lovely aroma.
The infused rosemary water will look like the picture below when it is ready to use in a bath. Notice the light green color of the water. The sprigs will have drifted toward the bottom of the jar as well.
Pour the whole lot, sprigs and all, into a tub filled with water that is hot but not overly so.
Enjoy the aromatic and medicinal experience as quietly and peacefully as possible for 30 minutes.
I suggest no electronics, especially AirPods or wireless headsets of any kind that over-stimulate the brain.
Soothing music in a darkened room lit only with a small infrared light or salt lamp is lovely to include if desired.
When your bath is complete, step out of the tub and towel dry without rinsing. This will leave a residue of rosemary oils on the skin for continuing benefit.
Repeat as often as desired with no more than one bath per day.
(1) Smelling rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol levels in saliva
(2) Therapeutic effects of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) and its active constituents on nervous system disorders
(3) Does your brain distinguish real from imaginary?
(4) Rosemary – A Brain, Heart & Hair Tonic
(5-6) Now Remember Rosemary
How to Prepare & Enjoy Rosemary Bath is written by Sarah Pope for www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com