Ever heard of Sitz baths? Sitz baths are shallow and incredibly healing herbal baths that have been used for centuries to treat many different conditions as well as to restore health and balance to the reproductive system.
I’ve used sitz baths to heal urinary tract infections, hemorrhoids, and period cramps.
They’ve been a game changer and are so easy to do at home. Here’s everything you need to know.
What is a sitz bath?
Traditionally, a sitz bath is a warm shallow bath in which we can add some types of herbs, salts, and other ingredients of choice so as to create a clean and healing pool in which to sit. Matter of fact the word “sitz” comes from the German “sitzen”, meaning “to sit”. This healing bath has a rather long story, as it’s been used for centuries by midwives as a remedy to relieve pain and swelling in the perineum after giving birth.
Nowadays sitz baths can be used and mixed with specific herbs to soothe pain and itching in the perineal area or to disinfect and boost the healing process in the genital area. You can gift yourself with this healing bath in the comfort of your own bathtub choosing the herbs and salt that best work for you.
However, if you don’t have a bath tub at home, there are even small tubs or “sitz bath kits” that were made specifically for this purpose, which usually come with a readymade mix of salts and herbs to treat specific conditions.
Best herbs for sitz bath
Given the great variety of herbs and salts that can be found in nature it can be confusing knowing which ones to choose, but let’s explore how to make an organic herbal sitz bath from scratch. So here are some organic herbs traditionally used for a sitz bath:
Arnica montana is a medicinal plant that is said to have incredible antibacterial, antitumor, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties! For this reason, this plant has been, as still is, frequently used in homeopathic medicine to treat contusions, wounds, and rheumatism, and applied topically to the skin when it’s irritated.
This delicate flower has always been widely used by many medical systems to treat various conditions. Organic calendula flowers were used for example in Italian folk medicine as antipyretic and anti-inflammatory to treat fevers and to promote menstruation. The Indians instead, would use it topically to treat hemorrhoids. Nowadays calendula is commonly used as a salve and applied directly to the skin to promote the healing of wounds and to soothe irritated and damaged areas.
Yarrow is a plant that was known as “Achillea” by the ancient Greeks because it was said that it was once used by Achilles to stimulate the healing of the wounds of his compatriots during the legendary war of Troy. Since then, organic yarrow has been used for the same purpose as well as to promote menstruation and it’s also believed to have powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Perhaps, one of the plants most known and used since the dawn of time. This plant with its soothing, unique smell is traditionally believed to have powerful anti-depressive, calming, and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its recognized antimicrobial effects. For this reason, it can be used to treat anxiety, and fungal infections, as well as to promote wound healing.
Widely used In Traditional Persian Medicine (TPM), organic plantain was used for its antibacterial properties, to speed wound healing up, and to treat different kinds of aches in the body and constipation. Its properties were no secret also to Native Americans, who used plantain to cure burns and rashes.
One of the earliest uses of this plant documented was in Ancient Egypt, where it was used to support fertility. This plant has then spread to Greece and Rome, where leaves of sage were ingested to treat digestive complaints. In addition, sage leaves have always been believed to have powerful spiritual properties because they can clean the aura from negative energies. Nowadays, sage leaves are used to cleanse not only our energy but also our bodies because they’re said to support detoxification.
In addition, the sage leaf is proven to be an effective emmenagogue that can stimulate menstrual flow, and it works amazingly also as an antipyretic to reduce fever, soothe ulcers, and even heal sore throats!
What to put in a sitz bath solution
Alongside herbs, there are also other ingredients that you can add to your bath to make it an amazing health boost.
What you’ll need:
- Organic oats – 1 cup of organic oatmeal, which is nutritionally rich in protein, vitamins and antioxidants. In addition, it also has a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which supports several systems of the body and promotes skin health!
- Epsom salt – Up to 1 cup of salts, ideally use Epsom salt, which stimulates circulation, hence promoting healing, easing muscle cramps, and helping relieve stiffness in joints.
- Muslin bag – Use a cotton tea net or muslin bag and create individual herbal sachets full of organic herbs and salts of choice, so they can be always ready for use!
- 1/2 cup of herbs of choice
DIY sitz bath: how to make a sitz bath healing
So how do we actually make a sitz bath? The herbal sitz bath is intended to be for your bottom/genital area, so ideally, the water should reach your hips. And since there’s not much water, the solution for your herbal sitz bath will be more concentrated.
The whole idea of an herbal sitz bath is to brew a big infusion, so of course, if your “herbal tea” is strong, feel free to add more water to make it more diluted, just make sure it’s not too hot!
Once your brew is ready, sit in the tub and enjoy a wonderfully soothing bath! Ideally, stay for around 15 minutes, but even longer because there’s no harm!
What you’ll need:
So here’s your herbal sitz bath recipe:
- Scrub your bathtub and rinse it well before use, make sure you do it really thoroughly.
- Fill the tub with warm water so it gets a little above your hips
- Avoid using other oils or soaps.
- Adjust the water temperature so that it is comfortably warm
- Add Epsom salt, oatmeal (optional), and your sachet of herbs.
- Stir in so as to dissolve all the ingredients in the water
- Sit in the bathtub and soak for 15-20 minutes, making sure you’re keeping the affected areas completely immersed
- Once you’re done, gently drain extra liquid
- Repeat up to 3-4 times a day, or as needed for relief.
Benefits of a sitz bath
As we’ve seen, a sitz bath can have an incredible variety of benefits. It has been proven that a sitz bath can cleanse and reduce the chances of infection, soothe irritated skin, and increase blood circulation to the area to boost its healing.
For this reason, it can provide great relief after the typical postpartum perineal pain and it can also treat many conditions such as hemorrhoids, Urinary tract infections (UTI), and pilonidal cysts.
Here’s how to make a healing herbal sitz bath for a specific purpose:
- Postpartum sitz bath recipe. It can be a real panacea for tissue healing and pain reduction in the postpartum period. Simply Pour specific postpartum sitz bath herbs like 1 ounce of calendula flowers, 1 ounce of lavender flowers, 1/2 ounce of hazel blossoms, and 1/2 ounce of dried sage leaf. Pour your herbal mix into the tub and add water so that it is about 3-5 inches deep making sure your hips are completely covered.
- Sitz bath recipe for hemorrhoids. Soaking your bottom area in a sitz bath can help you relax your perineum and soothe affected skin. Simply add 1 tablespoon of witch hazel, 1 tablespoon of arnica leaves, 1 tablespoon of lavender leaves. Baking soda is especially effective here; it neutralizes the tissue for immediate relief.
- Baking soda sitz bath for UTIs. Soaking in a baking soda bath can help you reduce the acid in your urine, remove germs, and speed up the healing process. Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to the bath and add calming herbs like lavender or chamomile. Soak for up to 30 minutes.
- Sitz bath for pilonidal cyst: Sitz baths and Epsom salt baths can work amazingly in draining pus from the infected pilonidal cyst and can also promote faster healing of the cyst. Simply fill the bath with warm water and add 3-4 spoons of Epsom salt and choose some herbs from the list mentioned above. Sit in the bathtub for roughly around 20 minutes and repeat as needed.
Learn more about herbal medicine
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