Throughout the ages, herbalists have used the energetic concepts of hot and cold, and wet and dry to describe the action of herbs. We can look at some examples of the conditions that would be treated with cooling herbs. Another important action of herbs in treating hot conditions would be the diaphoretics in treating fevers. Diaphoretics are herbs that promote sweating, which is a cooling process. And how about hot peppers. Their primary action is promoting digestion and circulation, but their secondary action is to promote sweating and therefore cooling. Peppers likely originated in the the hot climate of the Caribbean.A few years ago I visited the Huaqing Hot Springs in China. We were invited to dip a washcloth into the hot spring and wash our face as a way of cooling off in the 98 degree heat. As the water evaporated from my face, it was amazingly cooling. As water evaporates it cools! Herbs and foods that are refrigerants are cooling to the system on a hot summer day. To make hibiscus cooler, pour two quarts of boiling water over 4 tablespoons of dried hibiscus flowers. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of honey.Let “brew” for 2-3 hours. Refrigerate and enjoy cold or over ice. When hiking in the woods on a hot summer day your mouth can get very dry. Try eating some of the leaves of wood sorrel. It promotes mucus production and moistens your mouth.
An what hotter condition is there than sunburn. Here are two tried and true herbal remedies. When we sweat. we are not only perspiring water, we are also loosing electrolytes (minerals) that are so important for body functions such as heart regularity, nerve impulse transmission and gastrointestinal processes. Replacement of electrolytes is important in preventing heat stroke and muscle fatigue. Compare the mineral content of these popular electrolyte replacers with the suggested herbs. To make an electrolyte drink, put 1 cup (about 1 oz) of the herb in a quart jar, fill with boiling water, cap and let stand for 4-6 hours (perhaps overnight). Then strain and refrigerate. To improve taste, mix with your favorite refrigerant herbal drink.