Monday, December 14, 2009
By Gayla Trail
HERBAL BATH TEA
What You Need:
# Cotton muslin or pre-made resealable tea bags (large size).
# Ribbon or string
# An assortment of herbs and essential oils (optional)
# Optional -- rolled oats, epsom salts, sea salt.
# Cellophane bags, cellophane roll, other packaging.
This is such a simple but satisfying gift to make. I have been making them for years and always receive compliments and requests. I often give three of them in conjunction with other bath/spa products (also homemade), or give one or two with other gifts. I make lots because everyone likes them and I can fire off a large batch in one night. As an additional savings use herbs grown in your garden. I use my own home-grown sage, basil, rosemary, mint, calendula and lavender (flowers and leaves).
To make the bags you will first require some cotton muslin. Other cotton fabrics can be used but I prefer this kind the most because it is dirt cheap ($2.00 and change for a yard or cheaper if you buy scraps from the ends bin), unbleached, and has an open weave while remaining sturdy and rigid. In the past I have purchased ribbon (I'll explain its use later), but this year I found some nice seam binding tape in earth tones for a very good price (29 cents a yard). If you don't want to sew you can purchase special large-sized, sealable tea bags made especially for this purpose. They are relatively cheap to buy and can be sealed with an iron. However, I guarantee you that even the most inexperienced sewer can make this. Keep in mind that it is going to be used a few times and thrown out. Precision is not necessary. No one will be grading you on your ability to achieve a perfect square because the bag will be wet and soggy before the recipient has a chance to inspect the merchandise.
1. Start by cutting the fabric into squares. Any size is fine but I usually cut mine into 6" squares because that is the thickness of my ruler and it's faster.
2. Cut a 12" length of ribbon or string. Butcher cord or just about any strong string you have on hand can be used. This will be used to hang the bag over the faucet so it must be strong enough to bear the weight of a bag of wet bag of herbs.
3. Lay out a piece of fabric. Lay the string/ribbon on top in a u-shape with the U formed inside the square. The object is to sew the ribbon inside the bag so that when you turn the bag inside out, you can hold the ribbon like a handle. Place the other piece of fabric on top and secure with a few pins.
4. Sew around the square, being sure to leave a small opening to pour the herbs through. Turn your bag inside out through the hole, push out the corner and iron flat.
5. To fill the bag, take a piece of scrap paper and form a cone with it. Insert this into the hole and use it as a funnel through which to pour your herb mix.
6. Sew the seam shut with matching thread.
7. Herb bags can be packaged in cellophane to retain freshness and the potency of the smell longer. Or you can give as is. Be sure to include the ingredients and instructions for use (Hang over faucet when filling tub. Hang to dry and reuse up to 3 times) with each one.
Herbal MixesHerb Mix Recipes:
Every year my recipes are different but they are always based on what I think are the three things people want out of a bath; to heal, to revitalize or to relax. As a result I mix my herbs accordingly. I always add a few extra ingredients aside from herbs to each bag. I add rolled oats (coarsely ground in the blender first) for moisturizing and soothing, epsom salts for muscle relaxation and celtic sea salt (as opposed to table salt) for its healing properties. Powdered milk or citrus peel can also be added. I have listed this year's recipes below and a listing of other potential ingredients at the side.
Please Note: When using herbs be sure your recipient doesn't have an allergy. Chamomile for instance is a common allergen to those with ragweed sensitivities. Also note that some herbs should not be given to pregnant women. Although you will not be drinking this 'tea', your skin is a semi-permeable membrane and anything that comes into contact with the skin will have an effect.
Soothing: Calendula petals, eucalyptus leaves, lemon balm, rolled oats, espsom salts, celtic sea salt.
Relaxing: Rose petals, lavender leaves, white sage, rolled oats, epsom salts, celtic sea salt.
Stimulating: Mint leaves, lemon grass, rolled oats, epsom salts, celtic sea salts, a dash of lemon grass and mint essential oils.
You can go here for the original article and see if you can find other things to make!