Herbal Foot Soak

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Over the weekend my young daughter Sophia came down with some kind of a green goopy-eyed cold virus or bacterial infection of some sort. Since I try to avoid antibiotics for my family at most costs and help them heal using natural means, by day five (today) of Sophie still being sick and slightly goopy-eyed, low energy and just kind of dragging through the week while missing school–I decided that it was time to get out the big, uh, herbs and get this cold behind her!

I had been putting oregano oil and natural chest rub on her feet at night, making her tea, giving her raw apple cider vinegar drinks, and upping her Vitamin D3 and cod liver oil, plus other vitamins–but this thing was hanging around too long for my liking! So I went into my pantry and began pulling herbs from the shelves, concocting a big pot of herbal tea to soak her feet in. We made it together. She loves to scoop and measure out ingredients in the kitchen with me, and I have a feeling that she will be a great and discriminating cook someday! Unfortunately, I did not write down all that I used, but I will try to remember as best I can…

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Herbal Infusion Tea for Foot Soak

Gather together in a large pot scoops and small handfuls of various herbs and spices. Today I used:

• Freshly picked olive leaves (from our young, potted trees outside)

• Dried elderberries

• Cinnamon

• Thyme

• Sage

• Yarrow flowers, leaves & stems

• Red clover blossoms

• Eyebright

• Oatstraw

• Holy Basil leaves

• Horsetail

• Powdered garlic

• Fresh sliced ginger root, about an inch

• Half a red onion

• Piece of kombu seaweed

Cover the herbs with fresh, filtered water, cover and heat on medium-high heat until brought to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for maybe 15-20 minutes. Then strain through a large mesh strainer into a pot large enough for a comfortable foot soak. Cover the herbs with water for a second time in the original pot and repeat process (this process is an addition, and only if you have the time and desire for a slightly stronger brew). Strain and add the second herbal tea batch to the foot soaking pot.

Next, I added to the pot of strained “tea” about a cup of Epsom salts, several drops each of oregano oil, tea tree essential oil and grapefruit seed extract, about 1/4 cup of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and maybe 1/2 – 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide. Then I added in cool water until it was a bearable temperature to soak feet in.

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I’m not sure which ingredients may have been the most helpful, or whether or not there was a synergistic effect of the combination of everything, but whatever it was, it seemed to work! Sophia was definitely on the mend, but she had been dragging still and needing to stay home from school. After the foot soak, which she did while sitting on a small, height-appropriate chair for 30-40 minutes, she was ready to go to school! She was not bursting with energy, but she did seem to feel better, good enough for school, and that was great to see.

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I remember taking a day class from the herbalist Michael Tierra many years ago now, and the bit of information that stayed with me was about herbal foot soaks, and taking teas into the body through the feet in this way. He said that sometimes when a person’s digestion is not in the best shape, or if they have trouble assimilating nutrients through ingestion, that a foot soak is a wonderful and direct way to take nourishment into the body without having to go through the digestion first. What an amazing bit of information! This interests me in a very personal way, as food and digestion issues have been a part of my life, family history and now my children’s lives seemingly forever (which means they go way back, generationally!). But by soaking our feet, which have very open, sensitive places on their soles to take in (energy, nourishment, etc.), we are not only enjoying one of the great spa experiences in our own homes, but are receiving nutrients and minerals and all kinds of goodness in a very fast, easy, direct way–right into the places in our bodies where it’s needed most! And, better yet, if you’ve got the desire and the time, make a whole bath and add in your strong tea infusion, then really let yourself relax and receive.

*Note: All of my herbs are either purchased from my all-time favorite herb supplier, Mountain Rose Herbs out of Eugene, Oregon, or gathered myself (known as ‘wildcrafting’). Speaking of wild herbs and plants brings me to the next blog post…

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Emily
    Mar 30, 2013 @ 00:06:20

    Love your blog, Heather! Proud of you!

    Reply

  2. Emily
    Mar 30, 2013 @ 00:10:03

    You know, you could take some of that freshly made strained tea, before you put the other stuff in it, and make a cup of miso broth from it; just use 1/4 cup of the tea, then add hot water and 1T of miso to make a hot drink. It might be strong, but the miso will complement and highlight the tastes. (It reminds me of taking Chinese herbs way back when we use to see Master Michael Broffman in Marin.)

    Reply

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