This is a guest post from Carol Little, R.H. of Studio Botanica.
Whenever I (Katie) have made homemade gifts with my kids, it’s always super sweet. The look on the kids’ faces when they present their creations to family members and teachers is priceless… Kind of like when they learned to cook and serve others healthy food.
Most recently Leah and I have made essential oil roller bottle custom blends, and long ago in my old life, preschool-Paul and I made those cookies-in-a-jar mixes.
But the more children I have and the busier we get (did you hear I have a high school wrestler now? Talk about a ton of time!), the harder it is to prioritize complicated DIY gifts.
That’s why I was thrilled to hear from Carol Little, a registered herbalist (RH) who offered to share some very simple DIY herbal Christmas gifts you can make with your kids! If you are feeling a little behind this year, which seems pretty common, you can totally get these done in time. -Katie
Simple, Homemade Herbal Gifts
Thoughtful DIY gifts are extra-special! Bonus points when they are easy enough for kids to make! I have three herbal bath recipes for you today that are easy to make with fairly inexpensive ingredients (some of which you probably have on hand already!).
I absolutely love to inspire everyone I meet about the wonderful healing attributes of plant medicine. The busy moms I know love these quick projects which are so satisfying to make, and offer the gift of health and relaxation!
Herb-infused bath crystals, bath salts, and exfoliating body scrubs are always so appreciated and make super gifts for teachers, neighbors, aunts or grandmas!
Not into baths or relaxing? Try this herbal cooking salt instead which also mixes up quickly with simple ingredients for last-minute gifts!
Healing Properties of Herbs
Chamomile is well known as a calming herb, for both body and mind. In the bath, chamomile has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the skin, reducing redness and skin irritations.
Calendula is one of the most amazing healers in our green apothecary, offering a broad spectrum of anti-microbial attributes. Calendula is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral so can offer help with all kinds of ‘infection’, whether issues are inside or outside the body.
Rose petals contain vitamin C, as well as vitamins A, B-3, D, and E, plus bioflavonoids, minerals, and both malic and citric acid. Rose medicine can help to clear toxins and heat from the body and relieve fluid retention or congestion.
Lavender has relaxing, sedative properties and is a powerful plant to cleanse and remove toxins from the body. Lavender is anti-inflammatory so it can help to reduce redness and calm irritations.
Plantain contains silica, which benefits skin and nails. As an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial herb, plantain can take the pain, itch, and swelling from insect bites, bee stings, and minor scratches! It is a gentle but very powerful soother to quickly heal cuts and minor abrasions and calm bruises.
It’s important to note that these are but a tiny tidbit about these herbs. See StudioBotanica.com for more info on each and more.
DIY Herbal Bath Salt Recipes
For this first bath salt recipe, choose herbs from what you have on hand or easy to find ingredients from the health food store and make an “herbs 101” gift. Focus on having fun bringing all the ingredients together!
This is more of a ‘template’ than an exact recipe, as it can vary with what herbs you have on hand or what type of bath you’d like to create. There are countless combinations of herbs which will change a relaxing bath to an invigorating one, or a meditative oasis to a zingy, enlivening experience.
- Use a coffee grinder or blender to powder your herbs. It’s best to grind just before making the mixture to ensure maximum plant power.
- Add everything to a blender or bowl and mix well.
- Store in a glass jar until ready to use or package for giving. Package in a glass jar with a pretty ribbon, or in a festive tin with instructions.
- To use: Add 1/2 cup of the mixture to a warm bath and swirl around to dissolve.
- Good herbs to use include: roses, chamomile, lavender, calendula (marigold), violets, mallow flowers, lemon balm or any mint. Use un-treated plant material that has not been sprayed with garden chemicals.
- Use good quality essential oils: Some good options include: eucalyptus, lavender, rose geranium, lemon, orange, lime, tangerine, neroli, white pine, etc. It’s your choice…it’s your blend
- This recipe can easily be doubled (or tripled!) if desired.
- For a deep relaxation bath, make the recipe above with freshly ground dried chamomile flowers and a little lavender or rose geranium essential oil. Chamomile may be one herb that needs no introduction but needs to be recognized as a powerful plant medicine, which offers so many healing qualities. Chamomile is a tremendous herb to assist in overall relaxation and can soothe achy muscles too!
- Here’s a simiar recipe for a healing bath to relieve sinus congestion.
Do you know how to properly dilute essential oils?
Katie here, popping in to tell you how important it is to be sure you’re diluting those essential oils properly.
Sure, you know not to use EOs straight (neat). But do you know the 1-2-3 math so it’s not too strong or weak?
Print this chart to keep with your oils so you never have to do math in the middle of the night when your LO is congested:
This is one of my all-time favorite bath salt recipes. It needs a couple of days to “cure,” and is made with energizing citrus!
- Combine the baking soda and Epsom salts in a bowl.
- Grate zest of orange or lemon and add to bowl.
- Stir until mixed well.
- Slowly add in about 20 drops of essential oil while stirring until mixed thoroughly.
- Spoon the citrus bath salts into a clean empty jar and seal.
- Let your bath salts sit for a day or two to get infused with essential oils before using or gifting.
- To Use: Add 1-2 Tbsp to a warm bath while water is running.
Homemade Moisturizing Salt Scrub Recipe
There is probably nothing simpler to make than an herb-infused salt or sugar scrub. Scrubs are so very soothing and nourishing to the skin and the gentle abrasive action can really liven up our skin and promote healthy circulation.Print
- 1 large handful of a dried herb of your choice (see suggestions below)
- 2–3 Tablespoons of sea salt
- ½ teaspoon (or avocado, coconut or your favourite)
- 3–4 Tablespoons of distilled water
- Put herbs into a coffee grinder or place in a mortar and grind into a powder.
- Add the salt into the grinder and mix with the herbs.
- Add the water and stir.
- Lastly, stir in the oil you have chosen and mix well.
- Use immediately — or refrigerate and use later the same day!
- Suggested herbs: chamomile, calendula, rose, lavender, plantain leaves, oatstraw, basil, scented geraniums, anise, hyssop, fresh bay leaves, lemon balm leaves and chopped vanilla pods. The list is limitless!
- If this project is for gift giving, mix the herbs and salt in the recipe, reserving the oil and water for later. Mix the herbs and salt together and place in a glass jar. Adorn with a pretty ribbon and the following directions: “Add ½ tsp of olive oil + 3 tbsp water. Mix together. Your special scrub is ready for skin softening decadence!”
Whatever the project, I hope you’ll have fun creating these herbal goodies for your family and friends!
For more gift ideas check out the following posts
- Non-Toy Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids and Families
- My Top 10 Green Gift Recommendations
- My Top 10 Foodie Gifts
Carol Little, R.H. is a traditional registered herbalist in Toronto, Canada, where she has a private practice working primarily with women. She has a unique system for helping her clients integrate holistic healing choices into their lives while helping to move towards optimum health.
Carol writes an herb-infused blog filled with seasonal tidbits, helpful hints and ways to embrace herbs and healing foods. Visit her site: Studio Botanica. She offers a seasonal newsletter with additional recipes and ideas for living a herbalicious life!
Carol has written 2 popular ebooks: “Cold + Flu Season ~ Are YOU Ready?” and “Herbal Teas for Winter health.”
She is a past board member and current professional member of the Ontario Herbalists Association. She writes a chapter each year in the “Herb of the Year” book for the International Herb Association and is a contributing author for the delightful “Home Herbalist Magazine.”