An Herbalist's Favorite Cooling Herbs To Sip All Summer Long
Summer heat can be grueling. While the sun is energizing at times, some days the temperature just drains your battery leaving you hot, frazzled, and exhausted.
When summer is at its peak, you might find yourself reaching for lots of iced beverages or cold, sugary drinks to cool you down. And while it may feel refreshing, ice can restrict digestion according to Ayurveda, a holistic healing system with roots stretching back to ancient India. While herbal teas may remind you of wintertime, some herbs have cooling properties that make them perfect candidates for refreshing summer tea to bring down your body temperature.
Here are four cooling herbs worth looking into and why:
- Elderflower (Sambucus spp.): Elderflower has a gentle aroma and subtle flavor that cools and calms nerves in the body. Its properties can be beneficial for heat-related discomforts that so often pop up in the summertime. Ayurveda mentions that heat in the body rises just like the heat in a house, triggering eye tension, headaches, brain fog, and sinus irritation. Elderflower is wonderful for dissipating that heat and supporting the body through these summer woes.
- Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis): The ideal herb for a frazzled, chattering mind, lemon balm is known best for soothing stress and calming overworked nerves. It never misses a moment to cool and relax tension in the body while uplifting spirits with its refreshing lemony flavor. Lemon balm is wonderful for supporting uneasy or upset stomachs, especially if these symptoms are caused by occasional anxiousness. This plant's potent volatile oils come through beautifully in summer tea.
- Rose (Rosa spp.) petals: Ah the gentle, sweet scent of rose petals. A lovely tonic for the nervous system, rose petals help clear out excessive heat1. You can infuse any color of rose petals (as long as they are organic) as well as use them to make the most attractive garnish!
- Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa): Hibiscus is an antioxidant-rich flower that has the ability to calm down and cool off2 hot spots in the body. It has a slight tartness that imparts a bright flavor and leaves the taste buds wanting more. Hibiscus tea can also help ease stress and restlessness. Not to mention, its enticing color will have family and friends pouring twice as many glasses. People seem to love red drinks!
The following herbal teas are so simple to make and immediate crowd-pleasers. Whether it's a BBQ or a day in the backyard, you won't miss a summertime excuse to brew a batch or two.
Easy Summer Living Tea
If you are feeling excess tension in the body, this is the perfect herbal tea to reach for, especially on those hot days when stress is high. You can make it using fresh or dry herbs—whatever is available to you!
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon elderflower (Sambucus spp.)
- 1 tablespoon lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
- 1 tablespoon rose petals (Rosa spp.)
- Place water and herbs into a pot, then cover.
- Bring to a boil, and then turn off the heat.
- Let steep for 1 hour.
- Using a fine-mesh strainer or muslin cloth, strain the herbs from the tea.
- To serve, reheat the tea or drink at room temperature.
Cooling Summer Herbal Tea
A summer tea to quench your thirst and leave you wanting more, hot days are no match for this recipe. Serve in a clear pitcher to showcase the brilliant red and garnish with some fresh fruit.
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
- 1 teaspoon peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
- 1 teaspoon lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Put herbs and water into a large jar, and put the lid on the jar.
- Let a container of herbs and water sit in the sun for several hours, letting the sun's natural heat infuse the water for you.
- Use a fine-mesh strainer or muslin cloth to strain herbs out of tea.
- Stir in honey to taste.
- Garnish and enjoy.
Rose Petal Tea
Simple and soothing, this tea will give you a high dose of vitamin C and help calm your nerves with fragrant rose petals.
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon dried or 2 tablespoons fresh, unsprayed rose petals (Rosa spp.)
- Place rose petals in a pot, then cover.
- Bring water and rose petals to a boil, and then immediately turn off the heat.
- Let rose petals steep for 1 hour.
- Using a fine-mesh strainer or muslin cloth, remove rose petals from the tea.
- Drink warm or cool.
A cooling herbal drink can lend fresh mental, physical, and emotional energy—and you don't need ice to make it! Instead, sipping naturally cooling tea is such a special way to stay calm, cool, and collected all summer long.
Kami McBride is an experienced herbalist, educator, and author whose well-known book, The Herbal Kitchen, has helped thousands of people unlock the healing potential of their spice cabinets and herb gardens. She developed and taught the herbal curriculum for the Complementary Medicine Department at the University of California School of Nursing, and she founded the Living Awareness Institute in 1994 where she offers online herbalism courses to students of all skill levels. Kami lives in California with her husband and children, and she can often be found concocting seasonal recipes in her kitchen and spending time with her favorite plants outdoors.