No matter where you live in North America, by July gardens, backyards, local forests and mountain meadows abound with flowers and medicinal plants are ready for the harvest. As an herbalist and lover of flowering plants, this is an exciting time. It is even more fun for me now since I’m still relatively new to northern Arizona and am constantly encountering medicinal plants I’ve known for years, but never met “in person.”

If you’ve haven’t already done so, get a good plant ID or medicinal herb book for your area and get to know the medicinal plants in your “backyard.” You’ll find that it is much easier to identify plants when they are in flower, so get started now. 

Given this season of flowers and herbal abundance, all month I’ll be writing about common herbs (that many of you already have in your garden or yard) and ways you can turn them into herbal medicine and other treats. Today its Lavender & Mint Lemonade–so cooling and refreshing on a hot summer day. Add a few edible flowers and a little Hibiscus and you have a stunningly beautiful floral concoction for you next backyard gathering or barbecue!

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Lavender

This calming herb is uplifting to mood and useful for stress, anxiety, insomnia and headaches. It is relaxing to muscles, a mild anti-inflammatory, and eases gas and bloating. It is gentle enough for small children but effective even for adults. Lavender has a delightful aroma and flavor and the flowers work well as a simple tea. At Nectar Apothecary, we incorporate Lavender flowers in our Spirit Lift and Free & Easy Teas. For sleep I like to do a simple inhalation of Lavender Essential Oil.

Peppermint

Like Lavender, Peppermint also eases gas and bloating and is useful for headaches. It is also stimulating and uplifting to mood, antispasmodic, and an analgesic when used topically. Peppermint leaves, fresh or dried, can be steeped to make a simple, refreshing tea. At Nectar you’ll find Peppermint in our Remember, Fit & Trim, and Breathe Free Tea. For topical use, for headaches, muscle aches, or pain, Peppermint Essential Oil, diluted in a carrier oil is quite useful.

In this Lavender& Mint Lemonade these two cooling herbs come together, with a little Hibiscus flower (for the beautiful pink color) to create a beautiful, unique floral lemonade.

Lavender + Mint Lemonade Recipe

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup fresh Peppermint leaves (or 1/4 cup dried Peppermint leaves)
  • 1/4 cup dried Lavender Flowers
  • 2 tbsp dried Hibiscus flowers
  • 1-1/3 cup fresh squeezed Lemon juice 
  • 8 cups water
  • Sweetener of Choice (Honey, Maple Syrup, Stevia, etc.)
  • Ice
  • Edible Flowers (optional)

 Instructions

In a large pot with a lid, bring water to a boil. Turn off the heat and gently stir in Peppermint, Lavender and Hibiscus. Cover and let steep 15 minutes. Strain the herbs from the tea. Pour the tea into a large jar and refrigerate. Once the tea has cooled, add the Lemon juice and sweeten to taste. If using honey to sweeten, put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously to completely dissolve. If you are not going to serve, immediately, refrigerate. To serve, pour over ice, garnish with edible flowers and delight your palate and guests! Makes about 8 servings.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful, refreshing lemonade. It’s even more satisfying when you’ve grown or collected the Peppermint and Lavender yourself. If you have questions, please do leave a comment here. 

wishing you health and happiness,

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