~by Sophia Ma ND~

As the sun glows and the heat settles uncomfortably around us, it can be easy to escape to our air conditioned interiors and miss out on all the beauty and bustle that summer brings. To avoid wasting the limited number of sunny days afforded to us, here are some tips to stay fresh and enjoy the summer heat.


Some herbs that have the ability to refresh, quench our thirst and impart a cooling, calming effect include lemonbalm, nettle and peppermint.

Lemonbalm: this slightly sweet herb imparts the softest lemony essence and acts as a mild sedative and carminative (breaks up gas) to soothe both the nervous and digestive system.

Nettle: this slightly grassy tasting herb is super rich in minerals that can help to replenish us after long periods of sweating. Traditionally nettle is used as an antiallergic and cleansing herb, making it great for calming hayfever symptoms and providing a gentle detox.

Peppermint: this is likely one of the most cooling herbs offered by mother nature. It helps to calm tight muscles, making it great for headaches and stomach aches as well.


  • Combine dried herbs: 4 parts lemonbalm, 4 parts nettle, 1 part peppermint
  • Add 1 tsp of herb mix to 1 cup (8oz) of freshly boiled water, steep for 10 minutes
  • Let cool, or refrigerate and enjoy on a hot day.


According to Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, foods have properties that can be cooling, warming, calming or invigorating. For the summer, foods that promote a cooling effect include:

  • Apples
  • Coconut water
  • Cucumber
  • Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, watercress)
  • Melons (watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe)
  • Water chestnut

This summer, don’t let your fear of the heat keep you from getting outdoors. Plan a picnic or barbecue, drink plenty of water, and make use of cooling herbs and foods to stay fresh.