Monday, July 20, 2009

Beat The Heat With Cool Herbs

By Rachel Nowakowski, L.Ac.

During the hot weather, we automatically reach for an iced cold beverage to cool us down and quench our thirst. But is it the best thing for us?

Drinking iced cold fluids only lowers the body temperature temporarily. The stomach then has to work twice as hard to produce enough heat for digestion which makes you hotter. And more thirsty.

It may sound crazy, but a cup of hot tea in the hot weather can actually cool you down. Drinking warmer fluids dilates the blood vessels which makes you sweat and the sweat evaporation cools you down.

Two popular Chinese herbs for clearing heat from the body are field mint, Herba Mentha Haplocalycis (Bo He) and chrysanthemum flowers, Chrysanthemum Moriflorii, (Ju Hua).

Both of these herbs are classified as cool, acrid herbs which relieve heat of the upper body, i.e. head and chest. They are beneficial to the Liver energy and are helpful for eye and skin conditions.

These herbs are available at health food stores or from your Chinese medicine practitioner.

Cooling Peppermint & Chrysanthemum Tea

1 handful of dried mint
1 small handful of dried chrysanthemum flowers
3 quarts of water
Honey to taste

1. Put herbs into a cooking pot.
2. Pour in 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Add honey.
5. Strain out the herbs and refrigerate.
6. Drink cooled or at room temperature.