BEAT THE HEAT WITH COOLING HERBAL TEAS
During the hot, humid months of summer, staying comfortable can be a challenge. Easy-to-make herbal teas can be a delicious and surprisingly effective way to help stay cool from the inside out.
Beyond taste, herbs have energetic qualities based on the reactions they cause in the body. Some herbs, like yarrow and elderflower, are diaphoretics that stimulate sweating, which helps release heat from the body (think of the spicy foods often consumed in warm-weather countries near the equator.) Sour herbs and foods such as lemon balm, rose hips, hibiscus, and sour fruits (lemon, lime, blueberry, etc.) have a cooling effect on the body. Astringent herbs like rose petals, raspberry leaf, and black tea are cooling and drying, helping to offset heat and humidity. With these properties in mind, we can steep delicious teas and enjoy them throughout the day, room temperature or chilled, to help our bodies cope with this beautiful but challenging time of the year.
The following are some of our favorite go-to herbs for summertime sipping. All are available in bulk at Community Pharmacy and Community Wellness Shop. A general rule of thumb is to use two tablespoons of herb per 16 oz of water, steeping in a covered vessel for 20 minutes. Consider doubling, especially if you plan to serve your tea over ice. Try a few and play around with different combinations!
Cooling Herbs for Summer Teas
Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a perennial shrub in subtropical regions. It’s large, red sepals are harvested and used fresh or dried to make a sour, slightly astringent, deep pink tea that is popular in many parts of the world. Called agua de Jamaica in Latin America, it is often prepared with cinnamon or other spices.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) – Energetically cooling and drying, lemon balm has been used traditionally to calm emotions and uplift the spirit. It is a lemon-scented member of the mint family and combines well with many other herbs.
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) – Cool and refreshing, peppermint is one of the most popular herbs. Try steeping with equal parts sage and serving chilled.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) Slightly bitter, sweet and aromatic, chamomile has been used throughout the world for centuries to soothe skin irritaions, ease digestion and calm fretful moods.
Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) High in minerals and antioxidants, these pleasant tasting leaves are astringent and drying, with a taste similar to black tea. Try combining 2 parts raspberry leaf with 1 part rose petals for a light, floral beverage.
Rose petal (Rosa) Calming to hot, emotional states, rose petals have long been used to lift emotional discomfort. Their beautiful fragrance can be easily imparted into herbal infusions. Be sure to use a small amount compared to other herbs in the blend, and avoid oversteeping.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) A member of the mint family, sage is a go-to herb for menopausal women seeking to reduce hot flashes. It’s also a fantastic summertime tea, delicious on its own or when combined with mint and/or rose petals.
We also carry a wide variety of excellent, organic, pre-blended herbal tea bags perfect for taking an edge off the summer heat. If you plan to serve it over ice, brew double strength and add honey, if using, while the tea is still warm. Cover (to preserve the volatile oils in the herbs), and let cool thoroughly before refrigerating. Here are some of our favorites.
- Triple Lemon
- Tulsi Telepa Tea
- After Dinner Fennel Mint
- Peppermint Nettle
- Peace, Harmony & Tranquilit
- Rosehips with Hibiscus
- Raspberry leaf
Amy Baker is a gardener, teacher, wildcrafter, herb enthusiast and an award-winning writer. She has studied herbal medicine with various teachers in Chicago and Madison, and earned her certification as a Culinary Nutrition Expert and Instructor through the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. Amy has enjoyed creating plant medicines, natural beauty and cleaning products, and all manner of tasty, nutritious, healing recipes for decades.