5 Cooling Herbs for Summer

Cooling Herbs for Summer

Summertime is marked by the warmth of the sun on the earth, and by light. The increase of solar radiation warms our bodies, and the increased light causes the plants to grow and fruit. Summer is a time of increased activity and this is reflected everywhere in the movement and expansiveness of the season. Just as in the winter we gravitate toward food and beverages that bring cozy warmth to the body (like soup or spicy chai), in the summer we naturally seek those foods that refresh, cool, and hydrate.

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Lovely Lemon Balm


There are a number of scents that instantly calm us down and soothe our nerves. One of those precious herbs is Lemon Balm or Melissa officinalis. A member of the Lamiaceae family, one of the most fragrant families, which includes all mints and balms.

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Opening the Heart with Hawthorn and Rose

Rosa rugosa

Hawthorn and rose are two favorite herbs of mine for opening the heart and balancing the emotions that govern the heart. White-flowering hawthorn trees and the red-colored Rosa rugosa flowering shrubs are worthy of planting in every herb garden and on every farm. Their flowers feed hundreds of native bees and honey bees, and in turn we herbalists are able to gather the flowers and fruits of these magnificent trees and shrubs and prepare them into teas, tinctures, elixirs, syrups, oxymels, and flower essences.

Besides making several gallons of fresh Hawthorn Berry tincture in October, I collect and dry a gallon of berries for winter tea. Combining dried hawthorn berries with fresh grated ginger is a tea I drink several times a week throughout the winter to strengthen my cardiovascular system, to keep my digestion and circulation functioning well and to open and warm my heart. At night before bed, I take Hawthorn Plus tincture which contains fresh hawthorn flower, leaf and berries blended together. This formula helps my emotional heart feel peaceful and settled, and ensures that my sleep is harmonious and restful. Two other herbal tinctures I use alongside hawthorn (at breakfast) are Schisandra Berry tincture and Eleuthero Tincture. These three are supportive to use throughout the winter months for improving overall strength, adapting to stress (including cold weather stress), and enhancing immunity and lung, liver and heart health.

Rose Petal Elixir continues to be a favorite of mine for soothing and comforting the heart, easing mental and emotional agitation and nourishing the nervous system. I take a few drops of Rose Petal Elixir under my tongue whenever I feel emotionally stressed by local and world events or before I meditate -- Rose helps me feel tenderness and compassion for myself and others. This gentle herb opens the heart, and with an open heart comes feelings of joy and gratitude. Another way I like to use Rose Petal Elixir is adding a dropper to a cup of warm Ashwagandha and Shatavari milk. These three herbs together create a feeling of harmony and balance.

The lovely rose garden at Avena's Biodynamic® farm is a peaceful and magical place to work and visit. The flowers are filled with buzzing bees, busy collecting sweet nectar and rolling around in the yellow pollen. It's such a joy to watch these special pollinators and to breathe in the fragrance of the flowers which dispel physical and mental fatigue and uplift the spirit. Visitors enjoy this meditative space to sit and soak in the stillness of the garden.

It is here that the gardeners gently harvest, in the early morning light, large baskets of fragrant rose petals. These petals are immediately placed in an organic glycerin and organic alcohol solution, where their soft pink color and medicinal properties are infused. This extraordinary Elixir relaxes the nervous system, eases feelings of impatience and agitation associated with PMS and menopause, comforts a sad heart, and inspires a feeling of love and compassion for oneself and others. Roses soothe and support the digestive system, cool emotional heat and inflammation related to women’s reproductive health, and fill the heart with harmony and peace.