May 19 2017 In Ask the Herbalist By Kenneth Roberts
Herbs to Beat the Heat of Summer
It is that time of year when temperatures are climbing and we are all enjoying the beauty of nature outside. Two issues we often face in the summer as we sweat more is loss of water (dehydration) and loss of electrolytes. Electrolytes in the body help regulate the heart, nervous system, muscle strength, oxygen delivery, and so much more, so when they are lost in sweat, the body’s ability to balance and maintain these systems is decreased, sometimes to dangerous levels.
How do we fight electrolyte loss naturally? By using herbs. It is always important to drink enough water throughout the day, and doubly so when it’s hot out; adding the right herbs to your water can help hydrate you, cool you down, and, of course, help replace those ever-important electrolytes.
Herbs can help in several ways. For example, both hibiscus and peppermint are cooling herbs that reduce your body core temperature. Maintaining a lower body core temperature helps prevent heat stroke, exhaustion and even muscle cramping. Another great herb to beat the heat is raspberry leaf; not only is it refreshing, it is an adaptogenic herb that contains magnesium, potassium, iron, B-complex vitamins and vitamin C to help replace electrolytes. Dandelion is a circulatory aid that also contains potassium, iron and B-complex vitamins as well as vitamin C. You can find some of these herbs already in blends such as our Tropic of Jasmine, Cranberry Apple, Mo-Rockin’ Mint, FemiginiTea, Peaceful Pathways, and Lavender Lemonade, or have them on hand separately and add a pinch to your regular cuppa for some extra benefits.
You can also blend all four of these herbs together to create your own blend that can even act as a natural, low-sugar alternative to drinks such as Gatorade. Simply combine 2 teaspoons each of hibiscus, dandelion, peppermint, and raspberry leaf, hot-brew in a half-gallon of water for 25-30 minutes, and refrigerate to sip on or to fill your water bottle throughout the day. You can even add a teaspoon or two of one of our fruit blends as well for a great burst of fruity flavor. (My personal favorite is the Piña Colada.)
And remember, for a high-energy summer, it’s important to stay hydrated in order to recharge your batteries!