Have you thought of using cooling herbs on a sweltering hot day?
Herbs have properties that help cool down the body’s temperature from the inside out.
Herbs that have cooling properties are known as ‘refrigerants’ while herbs that increase perspiration or sweating (which results in cooling) are known as diaphoretics.
Cooling herbs work by lowering the temperature of the body and cooling the tissues.
They include herbs like; lemongrass, chamomile, lemon balm, lavender, spearmint and peppermint.
These cooling herbs work internally but they can also be applied topically. Lavender, spearmint and peppermint can be used for burns applied to the skin as an essential oil or in a cream base.
Only lavender essential oil can be applied directly to the skin, as spearmint or peppermint needs to be diluted in a base oil or cream.
Peppermint can be massaged onto the skin to help with inflammation and cool the heat from that too.
It is especially cooling as it contains menthol which is also anti-inflammatory.
Both peppermint and lavender essential oil can be used to cool the redness and swelling from insect bites.
Herbs for Sweating
Some of the herbs listed for cooling also have the effect of being a diaphoretic or causing sweating.
These herbs include; peppermint, lemon balm and chamomile. Additionally catnip and elderflower are also diaphoretics.
Drink tea made with one or a combination of diaphoretic herbs can induce sweating. This won’t be an intense sweat, it would be much more subtle. The tea can be drunk hot or cold. Some nice combinations include peppermint and lemon balm, mint and catnip, elderflowers and lemon balm. Experiment to find one you like.
Using Herbs for Cooling
Drinking herbal teas is one of the best ways to cool with them, perhaps used along with essential oils massaged onto the body.
Another way to use cooling herbs is to take a lukewarm bath with several drops of essential oil. Peppermint is great for this but don’t use any more than 5 drops as too much will make you prickly.
Another way to enjoy a cooling herb is to make a sun tea. This is done by bruising a large handful of the leaves from the herbs you intend to use, and add to a large jar, such as a mason jar.
Fill the jar with water and set it in the sun to brew for at least an hour. This is known as a cold infusion.
The resulting tea from this cold infusion will have a very refreshing cooling flavour, much different than that of hot mint tea.