The temperatures are heating up and the sun has come out to play. I have grown to love all the seasons although living deep in the southwest summer can often be challenging with the high temperatures and intense sun. However the paring the right food and herbs together can leave us feeling cool and refreshed. Check out the list below for some of my favorite summer herbs and simple ways to use them.
Hibsicus - Hibiscus sabdariffa
Hibiscus makes an excellent iced beverage during the summer. With a long heritage being grown and used in hot dry climates, this plant is known for its ability to:
Cool the body
Reduce high blood pressure
Promotes weight loss
Helps boost the immune system
Hibiscus pairs well with fruits and citrus and makes an excellent choice for a pool side mocktail. It's delicious steeped in the sun with spearmint and orange peel.
As a child we would go strawberry picking as a family and then my mother would freeze them or turn them into jam and preserves. They were like eating little bits of sunshine through out the year. When it comes to food as medicine both strawberries and raspberries are my go to for women's health.
Strawberries provide an array of antioxidants that help to fight cancer, regulate blood sugar, and keep our immune system in tip top condition.
They have also been known to:
Lower our risk of heart attacks
Tone the uterus
Are high in fiber
Strawberry leaf may be used in much the same way as raspberry leaf in teas and are high in iron, potassium, calcium and vitamin C. In fact strawberries have more vitamin C in them than an orange.
Raspberries are tart making them a great taste sensation as a summer treat amongst all the sweets available.
Raspberries are cooling and because of their ellagic acid they are great for cooling inflammation and pain in the body.
Research conducted by the University of Toronto found that due to the high vitamin C and antioxidants in raspberries they are great at fighting wrinkles and age spots.
I personally love making popsicles during the summer using hibiscus tea, coconut milk and raspberries.
Raspberry Hibiscus Tea Popsicles
8 oz water
1 tsp hibiscus flowers
pint of raspberries
1 tsp sugar
4 TBS coconut millk
1. boil water, take off heat and add hibiscus flowers. Allow to steep 3 minutes
2. Strain tea and allow to cool
3. In a bowl add sugar and raspberries. Lightly mash raspberries
4. Add tea and coconut milk. Stir and add to popsicle molds.
Filled with antioxidants known as polyphenols, which are powerful anti bacterial compounds, Aloe is great for keeping cuts, scrapes and other summer ouchies clean and on the path of healing.
Studies have shown that fresh aloe vera applied daily to the skin helps to boost collegen production, thus eliminating wrinkles and damage from sun exposure.
Application of the gel to gums helps to reduce dental plaque as well as heal canker sores and other mouth ulcers.
The beautiful soft cool petals of roses give a hint as to their summer benefits.
Roses are known as a refrigerant, meaning they help to cool the body both inside and out. Because of this unique quality, this flower helps to reduce conditions of heat in the skin such as irritation and burns.
I like soaking fresh rose petals and calendula flowers in apple cider vinegar to make an after sun spray.
8 oz jar
Fresh rose petals
Fresh calendula flowers
Apple cider vinegar (enough to cover the flowers)
1. Add flowers to jar
2. Pour apple cider vinegar over flowers
3. Place lid on jar and allow to sit on counter for 4 weeks. Gently shake each day.
4. After 4 weeks strain flowers out liquid
5. Place liquid in a spray bottle. Keep in fridge between uses
6. Spray skin after sun exposure.