Late Winter Wellness: Herbal Steams


One of my favorite herbal remedies is an herbal steam. There's something so deeply nurturing  about herbs infusing in hot water while letting your skin soak up all their aromatics. You can do them anytime of year, though I find that I'll do an herbal steam a few times a month or more during the winter to help move any congestion in my sinuses or lungs. 

Steams are a great way to wind down from the day and tune into your body, helping to soothe and warm the eyes, face, neck and jaw. They're great for moving the lymph in the neck, helping to drain and release toxins. If there's something is in full bloom during the spring, I'll do a steam to help with any irritation from allergies. 


I. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then remove from heat. While water is boiling, pick out your herbal steam blend. Aromatic herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage can be really nice if you have a head cold. Other herbs like lemon balm, rose, lavender and calendula are great if you're looking for more skin soothing properties. 

II. If using fresh herbs, add about 2 handfuls and if using dry, a small handful will be plenty. Add your herbs to the pot, then cover the pot for a 5 minutes or so to let the herbs steep. If you're using roots like ginger or elecampane, make a decoction instead of just infusing. Otherwise, infuse the leaves + flowers in the pot until ready to use. 

III. Find a comfortable place to sit, like your kitchen table and grab a towel. Remove the lid on the pot, testing the temperature of the steam, and drape a towel over your head to trap in the herbal aromas. Enjoy the steam, inhaling and focusing on your breath, for 10-15 minutes. You can do the steam weekly or daily if you need to move out congestion.