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Mints:

Somewhere along the way, I was told that in Native American cultures spearmint was used for women and peppermint for men.

I have no idea if this is true (and I find it doubtful since peppermint is indigenous to Europe) but in my own experience I have found peppermint to be more yang and spearmint a bit more yin.

Here’s what I do know: I crave peppermint and spearmint at different times and sometimes I really want the balance offered by enjoying both together.

In desert cultures, hot mint tea is taken to cool you down.  Why?

Because sweating (which you will do in spades with hot tea on a hot day!), cools your body down.  BUT, the caveat, this only works if you are able to evaporate off the sweat.  Want to know more?  Check out this blog post from the Smithsonian Institute.

Chickweed

We call this little herb a “refrigerant” cause its that kind of cooling!  If you can get it fresh, it makes a yummy addition to salads.  Dried it loses some of its medicine and a lot of its taste so I pair it in tea with a mint to round everything out.

Cardamom

This Ayurvedic herb is used to “pacify pitta.”  That means that if you are constitutionally hot and a bit damp, this is the herb for you.  Summertime, especially in humid regions, can get a pitta constitution way out of balance.  Try the recipe in the sidebar to bring equilibrium back to your body and mind.

Rose

Put rose water in a spritzer bottle and spray your face throughout the day.  Not only will it cool you off and keep your skin hydrated, it will work wonders for cooling you down when your temper ignites.

Cucumber

Okay, I’m cheating.  Cucumber is a veggie, not an herb.  Add a big handful of cucumber slices to a pitcher of water along with some fresh mint and you have a wonderful, refreshing treat.  Feeling daring:  add cucumber and mint to white wine.  Chill for 2 hours and serve.

Lemon Balm

Lovely Lemon Balm cools and uplifts…. and makes tasty ice cubes!  Just make a strong lemon balm infusion, let it cool to room temperature, and pour into ice cube trays.

Want to add some flower power:  add lavender blossoms, rose petals, or fresh mint leaves to your lemon balm ice cubes to add a little eye candy.

Lavender

Is the heat making you just plain uncomfortable?  Try a little lavender essential oil on the soles of your feet!  Want to up the ante?  Add a few drops of peppermint oil as well.

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