A runny nose and dry skin can be familiar autumn ailments. As we adjust to the change in outdoor temperatures and in our natural cycles, the common cold often finds us, and our skin grows dryer and tighter with the crisp outdoor air. It seems with autumn’s arrival, there are more changes happening within us than simply the amber hue adorning the trees.
Autumn carries magic on its winds, alerting our bodies of their ancient programming to welcome the change of pace. And one of the best ways to care for our health and our skin is to treat ourselves with regular soothing herbal steams.
SOOTHING HERBAL STEAM
INGREDIENTS + MATERIALS
• boiled water (roughly five cups)
• 5 drops of tea tree essential oil
• 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
• handful of freshly cut pine
• handful of eucalyptus leaves
• large wooden bowl
Add the ingredients into a large wooden bowl, giving everything a few gentle stirs to combine. Wooden bowls will not get as hot as glass or ceramic bowls, saving your skin from any potential burns. Sit comfortably in front of the herbal steam, draping your head above the bowl for 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to place a towel over your head, letting it drape around the bowl, to help trap the steam around your face, amplifying its healing effects to your system while cleansing your face.
Tea tree oil is an antiviral essential oil, and although pungent, it can help relieve an achy nasal passageway, helping to loosen up a clogged nose and booming ear/nose/throat ache. When inhaled through an herbal steam, it kills bacteria while riding along the vapour, providing soothing relief.
Fresh pine also has many healing effects on the body. It is not only calming to the nervous system, but it also helps to mitigate swollen and fragile adenoids.
Eucalyptus essential oil is so dynamic that is should be an absolute staple in at-home apothecaries. It is a powerful decongestant and anti-inflammatory making it a go-to in natural cold remedies. It has serious strength in treating headaches, and instantly blasts open a blocked nose. It stimulates the immune system.
Skin and pores
A warm and soothing herbal steam not only helps through cold and flu season, but it also helps brighten up a tired complexion. Herbal steams help remove impurities in the skin since it creates a softer surface while opening pores. When eucalyptus and tea tree are included in the steam, they help to cool down the body, creating a therapeutic juxtaposition with the toasty vapour.
If you have to tackle any pimples, gently tending to your skin after an herbal steam will have softened and prepped your skin to help reduce scarring and abrasions.
And in the dryer, cooler months, regular herbal steams help infuse the skin with much needed moisture, creating a hydrated complexion that glows instead of turning sallow.
VANESSA KUNDERMAN is a fiction author, poet, and avid crystal collector. She has published stories alongside Stephen King, Alice Munro, and Anais Nin, in “Woman, an anthology” a collection of works celebrating strong female dynamics. As a student of core shamanism, Vanessa advocates adapting traditions to create new modern sacred studies. She has a background in motivational speaking and teaches workshops grounded in her self-care and spiritual wellness website, Rogue Wood Supply. She is a mother, cancer survivor, and a lover of the True North, and believes smudging can fix almost every sour mood. She hails from the prairie woodlands of Canada.