Sage and thyme herbal water acts as a gentle skin tonic and after shave splash. Some people call sage and thyme herbal water Hungary water, but true Hungary water has a few more herbs. Here's a fascinating look at this herbal skin preparation and instructions on how to make your own.
Many people enjoy a splash of toner after cleansing the face. Sage and thyme herbal water provides a refreshing, bracing tonic. Among the many fragrant and culinary herbs, sage and thyme are easy to find at the store or very easy to grow at home.
Astringent Skin Care Herbs
Many herbs can be used for skin care. Sage and thyme are two herbs with a long and distinguished history as a skin tonic. Using these herbs in skin preparations may prevent or heal mild acne and shrink pores.
Health Benefits of Sage
Sage (Salvia officinali) is a perennial herb with long, soft green leaves and blue flowers. It's fairly easy to grow, and likes hot, sunny locations. It's also very easy to find at grocery stores in the produce section. Many people enjoy cooking with sage, and it's a popular addition to pork dishes as well as stuffing. However, few people know its health benefits. Sage has been known throughout the ages as an antiseptic, and herbal texts recommend sage infusions for everything from sore throats to coughs. When sage waters are used topically, they provide gentle astringent and antiseptic benefits.
Time for Thyme
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is another herb used since the very earliest times. Like sage, thyme is a perennial, but a low-growing one. It also likes hot, sunny locations. Plant and grow your own or purchase fresh thyme at the supermarket.
In ancient Egypt, thyme was one of many embalming spices. The Greeks and Romans scented their bathwater with thyme and burned offerings of thyme in the temples to their gods. In the Middle Ages, monks grew thyme and made pillows stuffed with thyme to help people suffering from insomnia. Today, herbalists ascribe antiseptic and astringent qualities to thyme, making it an excellent partner with sage in beauty waters and treatments.
Scented waters date back to ancient times when people first learned that placing handfuls of herbs such as sage, thyme, lemon balm and mint into hot water released a strong fragrance. The first known use of herbal waters for beauty purposes dates to around the 13th century. A special water, called Hungary water, was developed somewhere in Eastern Europe. Despite its name, there's no record that it was actually developed in Hungary; some historians believe it hails from Poland. Regardless of where it comes from, by the 14th century scented waters were all the rage among the royal courts. Many of these waters were infusions of sage, thyme, rosemary, rose petals and lemon balms, sometimes with other spices and herbs added. The lushly scented water was mixed with brandy to form primitive cologne. In centuries when bathing was considered unhealthy, using a scented herbal water helped mask unpleasant body odors.
Sage and Thyme Herbal Water
You can easily make your own herbal waters or buy them at many natural products stores nationwide.
Make Scented Water
You can easily make your own sage and thyme water. All you need are a few ingredients and about an hour.
- Coffee filter
- One quart of water (you may need to add more or less water, depending on how strong a scent you enjoy)
- One cup of crushed sage leaves, clean and fresh
- One to one-half cup of crushed thyme leaves, clean and fresh
- Bottle with tight fitting lid to keep the scented water to use
Heat water on the stove top until it is just slightly below boiling. Add both the sage and thyme leaves, shut off the heat, cover the pot and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Using the coffee filter, strain the mixture and keep the scented water. Set it aside and throw out the filter and herb leaves. Allow the scented water to cool completed before using. You can store it in the refrigerator for quite a while and use a little every day. Adding witch hazel to the mix makes it a refreshing and cooling astringent rub.
Whether you choose to make your own scented sage and thyme herbal water or buy preparations including sage and thyme, these time-tested herbs are generally safe to use. If you have ultra sensitive skin, do a patch skin test before using. Place a bit of the mixture on your inner elbow skin, wait a day, and see if the area turns red. If it does, don't use sage and thyme. If it doesn't, you are probably not allergic. Pregnant women should avoid using sage, especially drinking tonics or infusions of sage, but a scented water is considered safe to use for most people.