Summer Sun Tea: Herbal Support For The Heat

Summer is in full swing, everything is growing in abundance, the days are long and sunshine rules… and for all its glory, summer is just not my favourite season.

Now I know as an herbalist how that sounds… counterintuitive at the least! But aside from the incredible plant harvests it yields, the hazy, humid heat of summer is not my thing. I have however found some great plants that help me beat the heat and be more comfortable until the beauty (and cooler weather!) of my favourite autumn season arrives.

It’s important to remember with all these heat waves that we lose electrolytes as we naturally sweat more. Your electrolytes help your body to regulate your heart and nervous system, muscle strength, oxygen delivery and so much more. Even though we don’t always realize it, the heat takes a toll on us. Fighting electrolyte loss naturally is where these herbs come in. Whether you’re exercising, tending to the garden, or relaxing under the shade of a tree, these herbal allies will help to keep you cool and help you to better enjoy the season.

1. Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) – This plant has countless benefits and works to reduce your core body temp, helping prevent extremes like heat stroke, exhaustion or muscle cramping. Hibiscus is chock full of antioxidants that help combat heat related stressors (great for those marathon length days spent outside!) and vitamin C to boost your immune system. With its tart and refreshing flavour, it’s great for quenching thirst and fighting dehydration. This power packed herb is also a great cardiotonic for your heart and for balancing your hormones. The crimson or deep magenta coloured calcyes of the flower are used.

2. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) –has properties that are both cooling and drying. It is a member of the mint family and a nervine that works to calm emotions and brighten your mood. Lemon balm is used in mild depression, anxiety, nervous tension and headaches and the delicate flavour from its leaves lends itself to teas and tinctures.

3. Rose (Rosa spp.) An astringent herb that helps offset the heat and humidity, rose has anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties that are calming to hot and emotional states. The beautiful fragrance of rose petals is a nice addition to herbal infusions to reduce mental stress.

4. Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – The cooling menthol properties in this plant help to dilate your airway and open up your sinuses allowing you to take in more oxygen. It also has the ability to energize the body by invigorating your nervous system and helping to wake you up when the summer heat has drained you. It is hailed for its carminative and antispasmodic properties for the stomach, but like lemon balm is also a nervine to calm the mind and lift your spirits.

For your dose of wellness in a glass, combine:

3 parts hibiscus calyces

2 parts rose petals

1 part peppermint

1 part lemon balm

Make sure to add enough herbs to lightly cover the bottom of a mason jar. Fill the jar with cold water and cover. Leave it in full sunlight for 2-5 hours. Strain the tea over ice and enjoy. You can add a little honey if you need it a little sweeter.

The remaining tea (including the herbs) can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

So while the temperature is climbing, take a break to enjoy this refreshing and delicious infusion – not only will it help cool you down, it will help heal you too.

Farrah xo

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