Oat Soak

An oatmeal bath soothes and relaxes irritated skin and nerves. Best of all, it's easy to prepare.

2-3 cups rolled oats
Essential oil of lavender

Cook oats, keeping them runny. Strain and pour liquid into bathwater. Transfer the cooked oats to a muslin bag and dunk it in the bath. (It's not absolutely necessary to cook the oats, says Gladstar, but it makes for a stickier, more effective skin soother.) Add a few drops of anti-inflammatory lavender oil to the bath and soak.

Salve

Herbal salves cool and calm itchy eczema and flaking psoriasis. The following recipes can be adjusted for either condition by changing the herb or essential oil combinations.

For Eczema:
1/2 cup (total) of equal parts organic calendula, chickweed and St. John's wort

For Psoriasis:
1/2 cup (total) of equal parts organic goldenseal, burdock leaves and myrrh

For Both:
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup beeswax
Essential oils of tea tree, rosemary and lavender

1. Simmer herbs and olive oil in a double boiler for one hour, being careful not to overheat. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or muslin into a stainless steel pot. When just cool enough to handle, wrap herbs in the same fabric and wring out excess oil.

2. Add beeswax to oil and heat until melted. Check for desired consistency by placing a tablespoon of the mixture in your freezer for one minute. If it's too soft, add more beeswax; if too hard, add more oil.

3. Immediately remove mixture from heat and add several drops each of tea tree, rosemary and lavender essential oils. Pour into small glass jars and store in a cool, dark place. Stored this way, what you don't use immediately will last for years.

Source: Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal by Rosemary Gladstar (Storey Publishing, 2001).