Home Remedy Medicine Made Easy: The Herbal Steam

Spa setting Home Remedy Medicine Made Easy The Herbal Steam

Fancy salons charge a pretty penny for facial steams but it’s one of the cheapest and simplest procedures to conduct at home. Facial steams not only unclog blocked pores but drain the sinuses and offers potent access to areas in need of the benefits of aromatherapy. Any time allergies act up or winter colds block the upper respiratory tract, an herbal steam is one of the first treatments I turn to. Keep a tissue handy particularly when using yarrow. Steams are also good for reviving the skin. The effects of hormonal changes during adolescence, pregnancy, or menopause show up in tender areas like the face to cause acne or whiteheads. Steams are an even way to flush the face with healing herbs. A few simple ingredients and 10 minutes of your time is all that’s required for an herbal steam. Draping the towel over your head and the bowl of hot herbs keeps the essential oils concentrated on your face. Another simple steam that can be done in an office break room or restroom lounge is to dip a washrag in a cup of tea that has just cooled to reach a comfortable temperature for contact with the skin. Lean back in a chair with the dampened washrag on your face and breathe following the instructions below in step six. This is a basic procedure, not a recipe. I haven’t included specific measurements but have instead described the process and what to look for as you’re working. For specific recipes using this technique, see The Practical Herbalist Recipes under Remedies.

Equipment you’ll need to do an herbal steam:

  • 1 mixing bowl
  • 1 bath towel
  • 1 tea kettle
  • 1 hanky or tissue

Ingredients for an herbal steam:

  • 2 or 3 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of chopped herbs of choice

Procedure for an herbal steam:

  1. Boil the water in a tea kettle.
  2. Place the chopped herbs of choice in a mixing bowl.
  3. Pour the hot water over the herbs in the bowl.
  4. Bend over the bowl so your face hovers a comfortable distance from the bowl (not in the bowl).
  5. Cover your head with a towel so your head and the bowl of herbs are in the center of the “towel tent” you’ve just made. You want the herbal steam to stay in the tent not escape to the rest of the room.
  6. Practice breathing through your nose and out through your mouth for a few minutes and visa versa.
  7. Duck your head out of the tent for a quick break before continuing the treatment as necessary so you don’t get dizzy or overcome with the heat.
  8. When the steam has subsided, sit up, gently pat the skin dry, stretch and blow your nose on your hanky or tissue.


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