The planet is definitely warming. Europe had record-breaking temperatures this summer. People lost their lives to heat stroke.
Modern life encourages us to be productive and active without considering how our body is copying with heat during the summer. For some people like myself, heat is oppressive.
Here where I live in New Hampshire the summer is hot but not as extreme as in Europe. Nevertheless, I have a hard time dealing with heat. When the temperature is around 90 F (over 30C) my mind melts and I lose focus. So I am always on the lookout for natural ways to cool my body.
Some signs that you might be overheated are:
- racing thoughts
Learning how to read the signals of your body and respond to it needs appropriatly is crucial for your overall well being.
Most herbal traditions classified herbs as warming, cooling, or natural.
Herbalist Rosalee the La Foret studied the way that the taste of herbs can inform us about the way that they work in the body. The bitter taste and the sour taste are considered to be cooling to the body.
Herbalist Benjamin Zappin of Five Flavor Herbs divides cooling herbs into two types:
- Refrigerants work by lowering your body’s temperature and cooling its tissues. Some refrigerant herbs are Lemon balm, Peppermint, Lavender, and Lemongrass
- Diaphoretics encourage perspiration or sweating. Sweating is used to reduce the body’s temperature in fever for example. Some diaphoretic herbs are Elderflower and Chamomile.
The sour taste is cooling and astringent (think of the way that your mouth puckers as you bite into a lemon). Foods and herbs that are sour are often red or dark blue which points to the presence of antioxidants that are beneficial for preventing and reducing inflammation.
I am always in awe when nature provides us with what we need right at the time we need it. Summer is the right time for fruits from the Rose family that are cooling. Fruits like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries will help to keep you cool.
Lemon-tasting herbs are cooling and refreshing too. One of my favorite blends for ice tea in the summer is Bee Tea. A blend of Lemon balm, Lemon grass, Lemon verbena, and Lavender
Another favorite is Hibiscus, Lemonade tea.
One of my daily practices in the summer is adding sliced lemon to my water bottle. A nice addition to the lemon might be a couple of leaves of mint. You can refill your bottle with water a couple of times. I renew my lemon slices every other day.
Not herbal but I could not avoid the phrase “cool as a cucumber” (how cheesy is that?) So here is a cooling sour Greek cucumber salad.
A couple of tips to keep you safe and cool in the summer:
- Try to finish all your outdoor activities before the warm hours. I do all the garden work between 6 and 9 in the morning.
- Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Water and unsweetened herbal tea are the best
- Avoid alcohol and coffee or at least reduce them as they are diuretics so they dry your body.
Summer is a time to enjoy the outdoors but be sensible and safe about it.