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Herbs for Cooling

Summer vibes kick off this weekend with Memorial Day! Don't forget to read my post (what to eat at a picnic HERE).

This week's topic was inspired by my garden. As I potted my herbs, I realized you might be interested in some of the ways common herbs can heal and cool us this time of year! Who else is planting herb gardens this weekend? Let's consider how to eat and use our fresh herbs according to Ayurveda.

First, it's important to understand that certain herbs have heating qualities and others have cooling qualities. You don't want to overheat yourself with herbs since a little goes a long way. But, there are some summer herbs that have a specific cooling effect on the tissues of the body:

(FYI, just because an herb might be heating, it's still OK to have them in the summer but when you have HIGH heat in the body aka inflammation or, it's just a super, hot day, you'll want to stick to these cooling herbs.)

  • Fennel-make a tea with fennel powder or whole fennel seeds, or use it as a spice in your sauces, salads, desserts, and vegetable dishes. Chew on a few roasted fennel seeds to aid digestion.

  • Coriander- Try as a cold infusion tea. Use 1 part crushed coriander seeds to 6 parts water and cover. Let sit over night then add a bit of raw sugar. It's an anti-oxidant/ helps reduce cholesterol and blood sugar and aids with excessive thirst. Perfect for you Pittas!

  • Cilantro - Did you know cilantro is is a traditional remedy for rashes like summer poison-ivy, allergy related hives, or even just a sunburn! It's a natural anti-histamine! Take a bunch of cilantro and put it in a blender. Strain the juice from the pulp. Apply pulp to your rash and drink the juice. See, you can still grow it even if you think it tastes like soap!

  • Mint/ Spearmint-Crush and add to your favorite tea in a glass jar and steep in the sun. Try it with peach tea! Yum. Mint clears stagnation everywhere in the body and opens the tissues. Mint also helps you digest meat.

  • Dill-Don't think pickles here. Pickles are fermented which means they are very heating! They're called fire starters :) Pickles can be helpful in cooler weather or to help ignite appetite and digestion. Always take fermented food in moderation particularly in the summer this includes kombucha. Dill seeds however, help digestion, reduce bloating and gas, they are high in calcium and reduce cholesterol and blood sugar. Chewing raw seeds also helps with bad breath and mouth and throat inflammation.

  • Sweet Basil-Add to all your summer dishes to keep your meal tasty and balancing. It's a wonderful addition to your summer dishes and a nice, bitter accent to sweet watermelon. It's anti-inflammatory and good for those with arthritis.

Other common cooling herbs include; cardamom, chamomile saffron and lemon verbena. Some common heating herbs to be cautious of include: garlic, mustard, cloves and black pepper.

Speaking of herbs, remember my note on the benefits of dandelions? Re-read HERE.

Please reply and let me know how you like to use herbs in the summer, or share a favorite recipe I can include in next week's newsletter.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

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