When you live in the Northeast and experience 6+ months of winter it can be easy to run full blast into the bright, warm days of summer. We revel in the sun here on the Hillside, thanking it for nourishing our plants and bodies. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), summer is the season of Fire; a time of play, passion, spontaneity, and manifesting our gifts to the Land and one another. However, as with all things, it's important to strike a balance, especially as we increasingly experience summers that are HOT and HUMID.
Whether you're toiling away in the fields, enjoying your favorite trails, or even just casually catching some rays, it's actually quite easy to become dehydrated quickly in summer's heat. Profuse sweating, dry mouth, headaches, muscle cramps and tightness, and lethargy are all classic signs that one has gotten a little too much heat. So what's one to do?! Cool yourself down and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! The key to good hydration is making sure you're 1.) consuming enough water and 2.) encouraging a healthy balance of electrolytes to replenish those that have been sweating through the skin. Many of our commonly used and abundant herbs actually offer quite a bit of useful constituents, namely vitamins and minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, that can be supportive in ensuring we stay hydrated even in the warmest weather. Further, we can look to energetically cooling herbs and fruits to help balance out the heat of this season of Fire.
Here's one of our favorite herbal beverages to consume throughout the summer on the Hillside:
Hillside's Herbal Hydration Cooler
Yields approx 1 quart
What You'll Need:
1 quart boiled water
2 tbs raw honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup 100% fruit juice (we like antioxidant-rich options like pomegranate, tart cherry, cranberry or blueberry)
1/4 cup sea salt
Add the tea to a quart jar and pour boiled water over the mixture. Immediately cap the tea, and allow to steep for 30 min up to overnight (A longer steep will allow a more concentrated extraction of the minerals and other nutritive constituents found in this blend.) Note: If steeping for only 30 min, allow your tea to cool completely in the fridge before heading on to the next step.
Strain herbs and add honey or maple syrup, fruit juice, and sea salt. Mix well, add a few ice cubes and enjoy!
The combination of mineral-rich herbs including, nettles, red clover, milky oats, and raspberry leaf, found in our Mineral Magic tea offers a deeply nourishing foundation with the cooling synergy of wildcrafted mint. Mixed with a touch of natural sugars and sea salt you've got a fully plant-based beverage that is totally free of processed sugars, synthetic preservatives, and weird food dyes.
Want to make your own version? Here are some nutritive and cooling herbs to consider for your potion-making:
Nutritive Herbs: Nettles, Red Clover, Milky Oat Tops, Raspberry Leaf, Alfalfa, Oatstraw,
Cooling and Moistening Herbs: Mints (most mints aside from tulsi are considered cooling), Marshmallow (leaf, flower + root), Calendula, Violet leaf + flower, Chamomile, and roots like Burdock, Dandelion, Licorice and Yellow Dock
So, when you're headed out on your next summer adventure, don't forget your herbs!