I just moved to Texas and it is HOT. Here are a few ideas for cooling off and feeling better in the heat… no matter where you live!
PEPPERMINT – herb: Add fresh peppermint to your lemonade or ice tea. You can also used dried Peppermint to make an herbal iced tea. You can used loose leaf dried Peppermint or Peppermint herbal tea bags. Brew it hot or by making Sun Tea outside. Use about one tablespoon Peppermint per 8 oz of water. Steep for 20 minutes and strain and refrigerate. I like to order herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs.
PEPPERMINT – essential oil: Peppermint essential oil is great (and inexpensive compared to other essential oils) to use on the skin to cool off. Essential oils are the volatile oils that are steam distilled from plants and have aroma-therapeutic properties. Add a few drops to your bath or mix with lotion or massage oil to apply to skin. Soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and add a couple drops of Peppermint essential oil and wipe on hot spots like the back of the neck, wrists, back of knees, etc. Just be sure not to get it into your eyes (wash hands afterward) or too near your eyes or they will water (thanks Jenny for that idea!).
BORAGE: Borage is an herb that has cooling properties. It offers cleansing and detoxifying effects and soothes the nerves. It has a lot of other properties as well such as: alleviating depression, increasing milk flow for breast-feeding moms, and can work as a mild laxative. Make it as a herbal tea or infusion. You can try it in a formula by combining it with other herbs like lavender, rose petals, chamomile, or lemon balm. Borage flowers are also edible and can be infused in honey and eaten as another remedy.
CUCUMBER WATER: For a more cooling and spa-like drink than just plain water, try slicing a cucumber and putting it into a pitcher with spring water and ice. There is no need to steep this, you can drink it right away and throughout the day – make a fresh batch daily.
ROSEWATER FACIAL SPRITZ: You can buy rosewater at many grocery stores in the “ethnic foods” aisle or you can buy Rose Floral Water at a health food store, Whole Foods, or order it from an aromatherapy company. Use it in a spray bottle to spritz your skin before applying moisturizer. You can also add Rescue Remedy to the spray to calm your skin. A few drops of Rose Geranium essential oil are a nice addition as well. Try storing it in the refrigerator for an extra cool spray.
STEVIA: Try Stevia as a sweetener instead of sugar. In the summer, we don’t need extra calories or the blood sugar crash that sugar can give us. Stevia is an herb that is more than 100 times sweeter (up to 300 x sweeter) than sugar with no calories – plus it has the benefit of helping to get rid of bacteria in the mouth – so it prevents cavities rather than causing them like sugar does! Stevia is sold in either a powdered form or a liquid and is very affordable – especially because you use so little at a time (try the KAL brand). Use it to sweeten ice teas, coffee, and bake with. You can also use it to sweeten homemade lip balms! This herb is non-toxic and great for diabetics.
ALOE VERA: Use fresh aloe vera when you can – keep a plant in your yard or home and open a leaf and rub on sunburned skin. Also works great for all types of burns.
LAVENDER – essential oil: Lavender is wonderful for healing burns of the skin, including sunburns. Mix it with lotion or massage oil and apply.
WHITE CLAY: Buy a small amount of white clay at a health food store and mix with water to apply to bug bites to calm itchiness and stings. Also works well for oily summertime breakouts of the skin.