Sore Muscles Soak

sore muscles soak

I had the chance to take a peek at the beginning online herbal class at the Herbal Academy and it looks wonderful!

Online Introductory Herbal Course


The first unit has some great recipes scattered throughout and with permission from them, I selected this one to share with you today. I had all of these ingredients on hand, or growing in my yard and garden, but you can also find dried herbs at  Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.

I bought my juniper berries while visiting a Fresh Market store. It was a total impulse buy and I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with them, so was especially happy to find this terrific project! Epsom salts and baking soda can be found in most grocery or drug stores.

sore muscles soak for bath

Sore Muscles Soak

The original recipe reads: “This bath helps relax tense, sore muscles yet doesn’t leave you smelling of a medicinal vapor rub. The aroma will soothe frayed nerves, but won’t lull you to sleep. This is not recommended for highly sensitive skin. It will relieve soreness and aches and pains.” My note: This smells fantastic and seems like just the thing to use next time I’m feeling a little achy and have a stuffy nose from a cold.

To make this, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups Epsom salt
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons pine needles
  • 1 tablespoon sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons peppermint leaves
  • 10 drops eucalyptus, peppermint, or juniper essential oil
  • one 12″ x 12″ square of muslin or cheesecloth, or toe of a stocking (or sock)
  • ribbon or string

The recipe says to place the dry ingredients in the center of the cloth and add the drops of essential oil. Take up the corners of the cloth and tie with a ribbon or string. Tie your herb bag over the faucet to allow warm water to run through, releasing the medicinal properties and filling the air with aromatherapy. Relax and enjoy!

Variation: Before tying up in a cloth – gather, then air dry the herbs for two or three days, spread out in a single layer on a clean dishcloth. Once dry, whirl the herbs together in a mini food processor with about 1/4 cup coarse sea salt until finely ground, then stir the resulting fragrant mixture into the baking soda and Epsom salts. Even though the herbs are a finer texture, you still want to tie them up into a bag, so the herb specks won’t make a mess in your tub.


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22 Responses to Sore Muscles Soak

  1. Shawn says:

    Are the juniper berries crushed or ground up?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Shawn! You can crush or grind them up. My little food processor didn’t quite grind them fully, so little chunks were still scattered in the blend. Since you use a bath bag, it’s not a problem for bathtub drains if the berries aren’t ground completely.

  2. found you on Pinterest. Just learning about homemade soap, although I have been making the laundry detergent for years. New follower!

  3. Lauren says:

    Is this recipe for a one time use, or is it suppose to be enough for several bathings? Also, if you were giving this as a gift, how would you incorporate the essential oils, since it recommends adding them at time of use?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Lauren! It depends on how much you want to use at a time/how deep a bath you draw. I like using the full amount, but half as much might be ideal for others. You go ahead and put the essential oils in with the other herbs, not right before using. Sorry if that wasn’t clear!

  4. MSellers says:

    Is there a specific type of pine needles that should be used? I have pine trees in my yard, not sure of the specific type, just know they are pine. Could I use the pine needles from them?

    • Jan says:

      Hi MSellers! I used white pine in my version, but I believe most pines are safe to use externally. I did find this article that mentions three types of conifers not to use INTERNALLY (there’s pictures of each one too) – I can’t say for sure if it’s 100% accurate though, since this article by Susun Weed (a widely revered and experienced herbalist) says “Don’t worry if you don’t know a soft pine from a hard pine, or even what kind of pines grow around you. Pines are safe to experiment with them.”

      • MSellers says:

        Thank you for your reply to my questions. And thank you for the links to the other articles. I do believe the pines I have in my yard are white pine but have not actually taken the time, yet, to go examine them. They are definitely not any of the three poison types. And since you think it would be ok to leave out the juniper berries, I will make the sore muscle soak and try it out this weekend.

  5. MSellers says:

    Also, I have all other ingredients but juniper berries, is there something I can substitute for them?

  6. Rhonda McKenzie says:

    Hi, Jan. I have a question. What’s the difference in infused oil and essential oil? I apologize if you have already answered this question. :)

    • Jan says:

      Hi Rhonda! You make infused oil when you take dried flowers or herbs and soak them in oil for several weeks, to extract their healing properties into the oil. They make a nice, safe and gently effective homemade ingredient for salves, soaps and such. (i.e. calendula infused oil can be used by the cupful to make a skin soothing calendula salve.) Essential oils are mostly created by steam distillation, using special equipment that the regular home hobbyist usually can’t do. It takes something like 10,000 pounds of rose petals to make one pound of rose essential oil, which is why it’s so expensive. Essential oils are very strong, so only a few drops or small amount is needed in recipes. I hope that helps explain it! :)

  7. Donna says:

    I don’t understand the next step after putting everything in the cloth, tying the cloth and letting warm water run over the cloth.

    You then said you spread out I guess the cloth with everything in it and let it dry, then you whirled the herbs in a food processor with epsom salt and baking soda.

    Then what is next, tie it back up and put it in the water? A little more clarity please. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Donna, I see what you mean – I mixed up the order a bit! Thanks for letting me know!
      You can either gather up the herbs whole, or whirl them in a food processor for a finer texture.
      Then tied them up and let the warm water run over them for your bath. Then you’re done!
      Sorry about the mix-up. I’ll go in and retype that up in a short bit so it’s more clarified.

  8. Love your website; love the information. Excellent presentation. Buena suerte. GodSpeed.

  9. Hi, just a quick question, juniper berries, pine needles, sage leave, peppermint leaves, where or what kind of store, should I be looking for, a Health Food Store, Vitamin Store. Have been searching, nothing in my area, of course.
    Thanks so much, this sounds so wonderful, an with all the differ ingredients, I know it’ll work. Dianne

    • Hi Dianne! For things that I can’t find locally, I usually order from Mountain Rose Herbs ( I like getting my spices from there too, since you can get a big bag of something like super fresh cinnamon for a fraction of the price per ounce than the little bottles in the grocery store. Two other great places are Bulk Herb Store ( or Jean’s Greens is also really good for those hard to find herbs ( Locally, you might be able to find some at a Fresh Market or Whole Foods type of store, if you have one nearby. Pine needles might be the hardest to find, but you could use rosemary or lavender leaves instead, or leave them out if necessary. Good luck with your search! :)

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