Relaxing Herbal Soap
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: No Name Given
Posted on: August 09, 2004

To make a relaxing soap -- something to lift your spirits and that is safe for a child -- what would I add to my soap?

Soaps are not the usual way to apply herbs for relaxation or lifting the spirits, but there is no reason why not. Of course, the main objective with medicinal soaps such as jewelweed soap or skin care soaps such as calendula soap is to deliver medicinal agents to the skin by direct contact. But essential oils are commonly added to soaps to make them smell nice so there is no reason why essential oils in soap couldn’t be have an aromatherapeutic role. In aromatherapy essential oils volatilize into the air and the oil molecules enter the body mainly through the respiratory system.

To a basic soap recipe, add essential oils at a rate of approximately 1 fluid ounce of essential oil to three ounces of lye (also known as caustic soda or sodium hydroxide). This is a rough proportion which you may have to adjust according to your sense of smell. Several good basic recipes can be found in books carried by Richters:

1. "Handmade Soaps: Recipes for Crafting Soap at Home" (

2. "The Soap Book" (

For a good guide on the therapeutic properties of essential oils, have a look at "The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy" ( According to that book, some essential oils with relaxation qualities are nutmeg, marjoram, lavender, sandalwood, clary sage, geranium, chamomile, neroli, rose and vetiver. A good blend with both relaxing and spirit-lifting qualities is geranium, neroli and nutmeg, in a 15:8:12 ratio. You can add 1 ounce of this blend for every 3 ounces of lye used in your basic soap recipe.

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