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3 Ways to Use Herbs and Spices Other Than Cooking

  

When you think of herbs and spices, you probably picture cooking a tasty dish or flavoring a drink. While these aromatic and delicious ingredients do work culinary wonders, they can be used outside of the kitchen.

Next time you pick up basil from the grocery store or your herb plants are in bloom, consider getting creative. From decorating to making homemade beauty products, the traditionally gastronomic plants can become versatile tools.

 Here are some ways you can use herbs and spices that don't involve cooking:

 
1. Make a Revitalizing Bath

Herbs, and especially their oils, provide many beauty benefits-- that's why essential oils are commonly used in beauty products. For instance, thyme can cleanse skin, sage acts as an astringent and basil can restore a dewy look.
With all those great benefits, why not use herbs for your next soak? To make an herbal bath, gather the following:
  • 4 tablespoons of herbs of your choice (pick based on your skin's needs)
  • 2 teaspoons of essential oils that correspond with your herbs (basil oil if you have basil leaves)
  • 1/2 pint organic bath soap
  • 1/2 pint mineral water
Add this concoction to an almost-full tub and stir around. If you light some candles and play calming music, you're in for a spa-like experience.

While herbs do offer skin benefits, be careful. People with sensitive skin may have a reaction to certain plants. Know your body and only use herbs that won't irritate your skin.


2. Create Aromatherapy Oils
Aromatherapy is the practice of using smells to influence your mood.
With the right mixture of ingredients, you may be able to help yourself feel calm, energized and destressed. Of course, various herbs produce different results, so know what mood you're after before you start working on aromatherapy. Here are a list of herbs and spices and their corresponding therapeutic qualities:
  • Calming: Allspice, chamomile and lavender
  • Revitalizing: Basil, peppermint, rosemary and sage
  • Pain relief: Allspice, cardamom, cloves, rosemary and sage
To get the benefits of aromatherapy, you can simply crush herbs in your hand and smell them. However, this may not be the most potent form of the plants. Instead, try concocting an oil. That way, when you want relief, you can simply dab the oil on your wrist, rub it around and smell. Or, add the oil to a bath.
All you have to do is steep herbs in oil for a few days or until the plant turns brown. Store the steeping mixture in a warm place, such as on your windowsill where it will get lots of light. Then, strain the leaves and seeds. You can use any oil you want-- jojoba has moisturizing properties and doesn't have a strong smell. You can also use essential oils.


3. Freshen Your Apartment

Candles, air sprays and plug-ins all improve the smell of your apartment, but you can freshen the space naturally. Better yet, you can do so in a number of ways.

Grow Herbs Indoors: Herbs are an easy plant to grow inside because they don't require as much attention as other plants. Simply place them on your windowsill and make sure their dirt stays moist. Even just having the plants in your apartment will freshen the air.

Make a Clothing Bag: Get a mesh bag (like the ones stores put jewelry in) and fill it with dried herbs of your choice. Then, stick the bag in a drawer. After some time, your clothing will all smell like whatever herb you used-- sure beats getting a nice scent from chemical-laden detergent.

Put Out Potpourri: Fill a decorative bowl with dried herbs and spices. You can also use pretty items, like seed pods and pine cones-- all you have to do is pour essential oil on them.
Hopefully these ideas for herbs and their uses will get your seasoning out of the kitchen and into other areas of your apartment.



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Lifestyle Magazine: 3 Ways to Use Herbs and Spices Other Than Cooking
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