Cooling Herbs for Hot Days
I’d like to introduce you to cooling herbs for hot summer days. I love summer! I love the sun and I love summer time activities, swimming, hiking, outdoor parties, barbeques and picnics. When it’s hot, I use cooling herbs to extend the fun and stay hydrated.
Cooling herbs work in a number of different ways to cool the body and are sometimes referred to as refrigerants. Some cooling herbs also have what might be described as a cooling effect on the nervous system, helping to reduce anger or irritability. Others might be described as “cooling” to inflammation, helping soothe hot, irritated tissue. Some cooling herbs promote sweating, which is one of the body’s own mechanisms for regulating temperature and cooling off.
My favorite cooling herbs for hot days are Hibiscus, Lavender, Chamomile and Marshmallow. You can turn them into delicious, cooling herbal teas, herbal popsicles and other heat-beating treats!
Hibiscus | Hibiscus spp.
This beautiful, tropical flower makes the most stunning, ruby red tea. Its slightly sour taste combines well with citrus and other fruits. Hibiscus flower’s “cooling” effect extends to the cardiovascular system where it helps maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce other risks associated with cardiovascular disease. To make a cooling hibiscus tea, steep 1-2 tablespoons of dried hibiscus flowers in 4 cups of hot water. Strain, chill, pour over ice and enjoy!
Lavender | Lavendula angustifolia
When it comes to cooling the skin on a hot day or relieving sunburn pain, lavender is my first choice. It’s also a great first-aid remedy for itchy bug bites. For topical use, brew a simple tea with lavender flowers (about one teaspoon per cup, steeped 15 minutes), chill the tea, put it in a spray bottle and mist it on the skin. Lavender essential oil and lavender hydrosol also work well topically in an easy to make aromatherapy spritzer. When I’m going hiking on a hot summer day, attending an outdoor concert or art festival, I always take along a small misting bottle with cooling essential oils or hydrosol. Lavender flowers also make lemonade more cooling and delicious. Check out this recipe for lavender mint lemonade. Lavender is also “cooling” to the nervous system, easing anxiety and irritability and promoting a good night’s sleep. The sweet floral scent of lavender just says “ahhh . . . relax, chill out.”
Chamomile | Matricaria recutita
This sweet little flower is cooling and calming. Like lavender, is can be used to soothe irritability and promote a good night’s sleep. Chamomile essential oil diluted in a spray bottle and Chamomile Hydrosol both work well to cool hot, red inflamed skin. A strong chamomile tea added to bath water is another way to get an “all over” skin cooling effect. How about creamy chamomile mint popsicles on a hot summer day? Chamomile also possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and analgesic properties making it useful for pain, menstrual cramps and fevers. A cup of Chamomile tea after dinner will also ease indigestion, gas and bloating. Prepare a cup of tea by steeping one heaping teaspoon of chamomile in one cup of hot water for 15 minutes.
Marshmallow | Althea officinalis
Marshmallow root is soothing, cooling and moistening to dry, hot inflamed tissue. The Ruby Red Tea Cooler recipe below, with marshmallow root and hibiscus, is a perfectly delightful way to stay cool and hydrated in the summer heat. Marshmallow root tea can also be used topically in the bath or as a cool compress to calm hot, irritated skin. Internally, marshmallow root tea can be used to soothe irritation in the digestive, respiratory, and urinary tract systems. Prepare a cup of tea by steeping one heaping teaspoon of marshmallow root in one cup of cold water for four hours or overnight.
Ruby Red Summer Cooler
A stunningly beautiful drink to keep you cool and hydrated on hot summer days.
- 1 ounce (30 gm) dried marshmallow root
- 2/3 ounce (20 gm) dried hibiscus flowers
- 1/3 ounce (10 gm) rose petals
- 4 vanilla beans, chopped in to ¼” pieces
Total Yield: 15-16 cups
Blend herbs until well mixed and store in a small jar. To prepare cooler, combine the herb blend with 16 cups filtered water in a large jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake gently to incorporate the herbs in the water. Allow to steep for at least four hours or overnight. Strain and enjoy this delicious hydrating cooler.
Have fun, keep cool and stay hydrated. If you have any questions about these herbs, please leave a message in the comments below.