Summer is heating up and it’s getting hot. Bring on that Indian Summer! Whether or not you realize it, the heat takes quite a toll on us, and it’s not uncommon for many to feel fatigued, experience headaches, or worse – sweat through your shirt before lunchtime. Now, before you run over to the thermostat and turn up the A/C (and also your carbon footprint and gas bill), check out these naturally cooling herbs and the various ways you can use them to beat the heat.
This one’s a given. The menthol in peppermint has incredible cooling powers — if you’ve ever had water after chewing a mint, you’ll know that it feels like you’re sipping on a glacier. All joking aside, peppermint has a variety of benefits that will make the summer heat much more bearable.
For starters, cooling menthol helps dilate your airway and opens up your sinuses. It’s no secret that air quality isn’t the best during the warmer months, whether due to pollution or humidity, which can cause many to experience labored breathing. Peppermint can help alleviate this by opening up your respiratory passages, allowing you to take in more oxygen.
Another benefit of peppermint is its ability to energize the body. As you know, heat can quickly zap your energy, leaving you exhausted from merely going about your normal daily routine. The menthol in peppermint helps invigorate the nervous system and can help wake you up, similar to the effect of caffeine. Pretty cool, right?
Peppermint is also well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it especially useful for sun-related ailments like sunburns or heat rash. Not only will it aid in the reduction of swelling and redness, but peppermint is believed by some to have anesthetic qualities which would also help reduce the pain.
Try it: Peppermint After-Sun Moisturizer
Mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with coconut oil in a bowl. Rub the mixture on inflamed skin to moisturize and cool.
Hibiscus has countless cooling benefits which make it a staple for summer care. This herb is jam-packed with antioxidants that help combat UV-related stressors. This quality is especially important in the summer where the days are longer and many people find themselves outdoors more often.
Furthermore, hibiscus is commonly ingested in the summer because of its thirst-quenching abilities. This makes it a helpful tool in fighting dehydration. When steeped, hibiscus is tart, refreshing, and really hits the spot when the mercury rises.
In addition, hibiscus is commonly used to help with bloating. Chances are, if you’ve been hydrating as much as you need to, you’re going to be carrying some extra water weight. Whether this sensation causes you physical discomfort or makes you shun your beach body, hibiscus can help you dispel the extra water it’s holding onto.
Try It: Iced Hibiscus Tea
Steep hibiscus tea bags, you can find them most health food stores. A good rule of thumb is 1 bag for every 10 oz of boiling water. While still warm, add honey to taste for a bit of sweetness. Chill in the fridge and enjoy over ice.
Try It: In Booch form…
Grapefruit Heather Hibiscus. Truly the ultimate refresher.
This herb is quite a unique one in that it has both warming and cooling abilities. Don’t worry, we’re only going to go over the ways it can help cool you off. For starters, rose is revered for its anti-inflammatory properties. It can have a very calming effect on the body, both physically and emotionally.
Due to its aromatherapeutic ability, the scent of rose has been shown to reduce mental stress, something often exacerbated by the heat. Rose also can help disperse physical heat which would feel especially soothing on a sunburn.
When applied to the skin, rose not only cools, but also calms down puffiness and any redness. For this reason, it is often used in cosmetics.
Try It: Rosewater Facial Mist
Simmer fresh rose petals in filtered water over medium heat for about 12 minutes and strain. Fill half of a spray bottle with the concentrated mixture and the rest of the bottle with water. Mist face to refresh skin throughout the day.
Try It: Booch strikes again!
Our Ginger Lime Rosehips uses just that – rosehips! The rosehip, also called rose haw and rose hep, is the accessory fruit of the rose plant, deeming the same beneficial properties.
As delicious as basil is, it also has exceptional medicinal benefits. Used extensively in ancient Chinese medicine, it is believed that consuming certain foods can balance you internally while also better equip you to handle external stressors, like heat. For this reason, many believe that basil is excellent at correcting heat imbalances.
In addition, basil’s antioxidant properties can help calm the body down, especially in the face of external stress. These same compounds help the body eradicate free radicals, which are the main culprits for aging due to sun exposure. Finally, basil is aromatic which can help calm down the nervous system and the rest of the body.
Try It: Tomato Basil Salad
Add chopped tomatoes, a sliced cucumber, feta cheese crumbles (optional, or go with a Vegan cheese) and ½ cup of chopped basil to a bowl. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar across the salad and toss lightly.
Ahh, the ultimate soother. Chamomile is commonly associated with sleep but can also be used to cool. This is due in part to its antispasmodic abilities that help relax muscles. In the discomfort of heat, we tend to tense up which can put stress on our muscles. Chamomile helps relax the body so it can loosen up and expel pent up heat.
Chamomile doesn’t just help calm down physical stress, it also is very effective at relaxing the nervous system. When overloaded with heat, we find ourselves more stressed and irritable. This herb has a calming effect over the body and can help you let go of any negative emotions you are holding on to!
When applied to the skin, chamomile can have a strong calming and cooling effect. This can be especially helpful when it comes to unwinding at the end of a long, hot day. Since the body naturally cools itself when it’s ready for bed, applying chamomile to the skin right before laying down can help you sleep better through the heat.
Try It: Chamomile bath
Add a few strong chamomile tea bags to a bath at the end of a long day. Soak in the tub for at least 15 minutes to feel the full effect.
While you’re keeping yourself cool, make sure you stay hydrated this summer. Lucky for you, we happen to know a really nice drink to sip on, many which include these herbal gems.