Soothe a sunburn with a tea bath!

There is nothing more uncomfortable in the summer then a sunburn! Of course I have the kid that never listens to me about sunscreen and thanks to his Irish dad, he burns every time he even thinks of going in the sun. 

Guess who wouldn't put sunscreen on at the parade last weekend? I'll give you a's the same kid who complained about his sunburn all evening but didn't want to put aloe gel on it because it's "sticky".

Not only is he stubborn about the sunscreen and the aloe, he's also old enough to not want to be fussed over by mom. He doesn't want something that needs reapplied a bunch of times, he wants a one shot fix it type of deal. So I need a 'hands off' type of cure! 

Luckily I can get him to take a bath so I just brew up some herbal bathtub tea and it helps to soak the burn away.

The first time I made a sunburn bathtub tea soak, I just used a few teas bags of black tea. The tannic acid in black tea helps to pull the heat out of the burn and I had read that it helps with extreme burns so I tried it for a sunburn. 

It really helped take the heat out of the sunburn so I've used this method several times since.

The more I grew and used herbs the more I started incorporating them into everything I do and this was no different. I have lots of herbs on hand that are known to soothe skin irritation so I decided to add them to my bathtub teas. 

Calendula, plantain, lavender, rose petals, yarrow and even chamomile have made many appearances in my bathtub teas and trial and error is how I came to the current recipe I use.

Make an herbal bathtub tea for sunburn

Every one of the herbs I use has been chosen for their skin healing and/or soothing properties. If you don't have all 4 of the dried herbs I use it's ok to make do with what you do have on hand (I'll list all the skin friendly herbs below). 

If that means yanking a handful of plantain out of your yard and bruising the leaves before tossing them in the bath, then that's better than skipping it entirely!

Here is what I use in this bath tea:
  • 1 Tbs dried Calendula petals
  • 1 Tbs dried Lavender flowers 
  • 1 Tbs dried Plantain leaves
  • 1 Tbs dried Chamomile flowers
You'll need to put your herbs in some type of bag to keep them from floating all through the tub water. I like these empty filter tea bags although you could use refillable cotton muslin pouches.

Herbs used for sunburn soothing bath

You can also make your own tea bag from a coffee filter. I'll put the instructions for that at the end, but for now let's get back to the recipe.

Even though I added some herbs, I didn't want to skip the black tea because it's so good at cooling the burn of sunburn so I use them both! So you'll need 3 black tea bags. Whatever type you have on hand is fine. I just use Lipton.

I also add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the bath water. Baking soda is alkaline which helps to soothe the skin by relieving inflammation and halting the itchy feeling.

Turn the hot water tap on for your bathtub. Turn it off when the tub is about one inch full. Drop your herbal tea bag and the 3 black tea bags into the water. You're basically making a huge pot of tea. Let it all steep for about 10 minutes. 

After the time is up, leave the tea bags in but finish filling up the tub with lukewarm water. You want it to be about room temperature or cooler. Add the baking soda. Get in the tub and soak for at least 15 minutes. 

When done, drain the tub and pat yourself dry. Do not rub your skin with the towel, it will irritate the skin. Pat gently. Apply aloe gel or an aloe lotion on all sunburned areas. 

Herbs that soothe & heal skin

Caledula (Calendula officinalis) anti-inflammatory, promotes skin healing

Common Chickweed (Stellaria media) relieves inflammation, antiseptic and antifungal properties

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) contains allantoin, which promotes new skin cell growth 

Echinacea aka Purple Coneflower  (Echinacea purpurea)  anti-inflammatory, hastens skin repair

German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) anti-inflammatory 

Green tea (Camellia sinensis) anti-inflammatory, contains antioxidant flavonoids that offer protection protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation damage and reduce inflammation

Lavender (Lavandula) pain relieving properties, antibacterial, antiseptic, reduces inflammation

Plantain (Plantago major)  anti-inflammatory, analgesic, soothing

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) alleviate inflammation, skin rashes and irritations

Rose petals (Rosa) antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) antimicrobial, pain relieving properties

I have several of these growing wild near me and I forage for them and other herbs regularly. You may be able to find them in your area too. Chickweed and plantain seem to grow just about everywhere! If you don't keep dried herbs, you could use green tea, echinacea, chamomile or red clover tea bags if you have them on hand. 

While I did experiment with many of these to come up with the bath tea recipe I listed above, you can play with the recipe and use what you have on hand (in a pinch it's definitely better than nothing)

how to make a giant tea bag for bath tea

How to MYO bath herb bag from a coffee filter

To make a 'tea bag' you'll need a coffee filter, stapler and herbs. 
  • Lay out your coffee filter flat. Cut off the rounded areas on opposite sides. You'll now have 'almost' a rectangle.  
  • Place your herbs inside.
  • Fold the cut ends in and make a crease, folding the edge over. 
  • Fold in the bottom, then the top. 
  • Staple your tea bag closed. It doesn't have to be neat, it'll still do the job! 
While there is nothing that can be done to get rid of a sunburn, this should cool the sunburn down enough to keep you from being uncomfortable. 

If you have any spots that just refuse to cool down, you check out my post on How To make An Herbal Burn Salve to help heal those up!

Want to know more ways herbs can be used to your benefit? Click here for my other posts on using herbs for your health!


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I am not a doctor or other health care professional nor do I claim to be. I am not trained in any medical field. I am simply passing on information that has worked for me. This information is for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition. see a Dr if you are ill. Click for my full disclaimer.

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  1. I've not heard of a tea bath so thanks for the tip. Thanks so much for linking up and sharing with us at #overthemoon link party. I've shared on social media. Have a great week and see you at the next OTM.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

  2. I love this recipe... I use herbs for so many things and I experiment often to come up w/ what works for us. Herbs are such a blessing. Thank you for sharing what you have learned. :)

    1. Hi Joy! I'm glad that you like the recipe. Herbs are such a wonderful thing for us to be able to use, aren't they?