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herbal foot care

TLC for your Tootsies

Leonardo da Vinci called the feet "a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art." After days of withstanding several hundred tons of pressure and nothing short of neglect, though, your feet may be rough and dry and, well, less than admirable. Try these herbal ways to restore your artwork.

Tips & Tricks

* Use cornstarch as a foot powder to help absorb moisture and reduce friction. Add some ground lavender flowers or orris root powder for scent, if you like.

* Use a pumice stone on your heels after a footbath to remove dry, dead skin. Wet and rub in a circular motion.

* Give yourself an occasional foot and hand massage, using herbal massage oils--very relaxing and softening at the same time.

* Make sure your toenails are perfectly dry before applying polish, or you'll promote fungus.

A Fancy Foot Soak to Soothe and Relax

marshmallow root cut and sifted
chamomile flowers (Roman or German)
sage leaf, rubbed
sea salt

Add a handful of each herb and the sea salt to a dishpan. Fill halfway with hot water. (If you prefer, you can make a strong tea of the herbs and add to the hot water and sea salt in the tub.) Soak your clean feet in the bath for 15 to 30 minutes, adding more hot water if necessary. Dry feet well and apply moisturizer.

Skin Soother for Rough, Dry Soles

1 tablespoon cocoa butter
1 tablespoon marshmallow root powder
1 teaspoon beeswax
1 teaspoon avocado oil

Place all ingredients together in a non-metal pot. Warm until all ingredients are melted together. Whisk. Remove from heat and store in a jar, covered.

Ask the Experts

Q: What are the best herbs to use for a footbath for tired feet?

A: There are lots of possibilities. Try one or more of the following to rejuvenate your feet: agrimony, alfalfa leaf, burdock root, comfrey leaf, elder berries, horsetail, lavender flowers, mugwort, mustard seed, peppermint leaf, red clover blossoms, rosemary leaf, sage leaf, white oak bark, witch hazel leaf, and yarrow flowers. To increase vigor, follow the hot footbath with a soak in cool water. Sea salt — which you can also rub into hardened heels to soften — is another good addition.

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