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Summer can be especially draining. Even here in the temperate PNW, we get dogged with the long stretches of intense heat, dryness and unrelenting sunshine. And while some might enjoy the air conditioned comforts of a climate controlled office or home – there are still others of us who either dislike it and do not have access. So, if chilling out in the shade or taking a dip in a cool creek is not an option – what is one to do to stay cool during the dog days of summer?
Why – cooling herbs, extracts, essential oils, and mists of course! Here are a few holistic summer essentials to ward off the heat!
Aloe: Aloe vera gel is just like a sip of cold spring water for the skin. Both hydrating and cooling, aloe can be slathered on hot, irritated and even sunburned skin. It is, without a doubt, an indispensable summer botanical and one of my holistic summer essentials that deserve top billing in my book.
Cucumber Mist: Every year, I look forward to the first garden cucumbers. Crisp, cool and full of water goodness, cucumbers are quintessential summer food. But have you ever considered the fragrance of a cucumber? It is equally cooling and soothing aromatic standpoint and feels oh-so-lovely on hot, dry skin. Keep a bottle of this cucumber hydrosol in the refrigerate to douse yourself with after a day spent gardening in the blazing hot sun!
Lavender Essential oil: Lavender is both the essence of summer and a great little first aid essential oil. Applied to mild topical burns (such as one might get stationed at the grill) or mixed into aloe to apply to reddened and chapped summer skin, lavender is cooling and analgesic. Check out more on essential oil safety here.
Black Tea: Here is an oddball holistic summer essential — but one I will never be without. The tannins in black tea are a comforting remedy for sunburn. I keep a few muslin tea bags around to fill with black tea (and maybe a little marshmallow root) and toss into a tub of tepid water when my loved ones or I get a bit overexposed and sunburned. A black tea soak is like turning the dial down on the irritating volume of a wicked sunburn.
Spearmint: The mint family is one of complicated herbal energetics. I find that the net effect of spearmint is cooling – and very welcome of as part of an iced tea drink (especially with lemon verbena) on a killer hot day.
Elderflower: Elderflower is a considered traditional remedy for a hot sudden fever, making it a perfect holistic summer essential too! Check out this post with my recipe for a delicious elderflower syrup blends beautifully with sparkling water.
Borage: Dress up your summer drinks with borage blossom ice cubes. The semi sweet, cucumber flavored blooms beat the heat with so much pizzazz. And their royal blue color just exemplifies cool. Grow your own with these seeds!
Lemon Balm: Another member of the mint family with a distinctly citrus tone, lemon balm is cooling to the body and the soul. This is the perfect herb for those jangled nerves – like family road trips with teenagers and preschoolers in the same car, and when the mower dies for the second time in a row and the repair shop guy says it is a blown head gasket, needs a complete rebuild, and your lawn looks like you abandoned the house months ago. I may be speaking from a place of experience here. Just maybe.
These holistic summer essentials are sure to cool your mind, body, and spirit when the sun, the grill, or tempers flare! Keep some or all on hand to beat the heat and find a bit of comfort when the literal and figurative mercury rises!