Herbal Foot Soak
by Yvonne Lau (translated from “The Healthy Living Calendar” from the Beijing Guoyitang Organization)
With an herbal foot bath you’ll sleep better, and you can do it every day!
According to Chinese Medicine, winter is a great time to tonify the Kidney, so why not do it with a warm, soothing foot bath? It’s not just a nice way to relax - by tonifying we also strengthen our immune system. The best time to soak your feet is around 9pm during Pericardium/Heart Protector time when we should start to really relax and let go of the day's troubles. Relaxing during the Pericardium time is not only what is in tune with nature, but also a great way to release anxiety and ensure a peaceful night's sleep. A good night's sleep replenishes our Qi and Blood and nourishes all of our organs, including the Kidneys.
Soaking with mineral salts helps to detoxify, relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Add about 1½ cups of mineral salts to warm water. Or, soak with these Chinese herbs for different therapeutic effects.
To dispel water bloat from weak Kidneys:
15 grams each of Hua Jiao (Zanthoxylum bungeanum fruit/Szechuan Peppercorns) and Rou Gui Pi (Cinnamomum cassia bark peel/Cinnamon). Soak daily until bloating dissipates.
To invigorate the Blood:
15 grams each Dan Shen (Salvia miltiorrhizae root) and/or Dang Gui(Angelica sinensis root).
To clear heat/lower fire:
15 grams each Lian Qiao(Forsythia suspensa fruit), Jin Yin Hua(Lonicera japonica flower), Ban Lan Gen(Isatis tinctorius, Isatis indigotica, or Baphicacanthus cusia root), and/or Ju Hua(Chrysanthemum morifolium flower).
Decoct the herbs for 15 minutes and pour the decoction into the foot soak (or pour powdered herbs directly into the warm water). Try to keep the water warm throughout, and soak for about 20 minutes. Don’t soak within an hour after a meal, and minimize post-soak activities. In fact, it’s best just to go to bed right after to optimize kidney tonification. During the winter months, this can be your daily go-to relaxation technique!