It is officially summer, and it is hot. To help us endure the heat, we need to stay hydrated. We also need to eat and drink foods that cool the body and mind. In the Ayurvedic tradition, we learn that different foods, herbs and spices have different properties. These beverage recipes feature cooling herbs, spices and other ingredients. 

Dried herbs/florals that are considered cooling: 

  • Coriander seed
  • Fennel
  • Hibiscus
  • Chamomile
  • Rose
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemongrass
  • Mint 
  • Jasmine
  • Spearmint
  • Red Clover
  • Saffron
  • Sarsaparilla
  • Peppermint
  • Wintergreen
  • Nettle
  • Licorice
  • Chicory
  • Alfalfa
  • Dandelion

Any of these dried herbs can be steeped in hot water to make tea and the tea would be cooling to the body. Even warm teas can help cool the body if the herb has a cooling energy. All of these herbs have a cooling energy and will reduce Pitta (fire element) in the body. 

Fresh herbs that are cooling:

  • Cilantro
  • Dill

Here are some cooling fruits: 

  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Lime (rather than lemon)
  • Mango
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Pomegranate
  • Dates
  • Avocados
  • Coconut
  • Pineapple (sweet)
  • Raisins

In addition, these vegetables are cooling: 

  • Cucumber
  • Spinach
  • Celery
  • Leafy Greens

There are lots of delicious ways to combine the ingredients above to assist the body in cooling down.  

Coriander, Fennel and Licorice 

This is a classic Ayurvedic combination and a summertime favorite.

Coriander, Fennel and Licorice all have cooling properties. Coriander is considered stimulating and aids in digestion. Fennel also aids in digestion. According to Ayurveda, fennel coats the GI tract, so it can help with ulcers and constipation. Licorice is sweet and astringent. It is a natural expectorant. As such, it will help clear mucus from the body. In truth, I do not like licorice, but when you mix a bit of dry licorice powder into a brewed tea, it gives the tea a sweet finish. It makes unsweetened tea taste sweet. I have come to enjoy a bit of dry licorice in unsweetened tea. Here’s the recipe:  

1 tbsp dried coriander seed

1 tbsp fennel seed

1 tsp licorice powder

2 cups of water

Crush fennel and coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle. Add crushed seeds and licorice to boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off and allow it to steep for another 10 minutes. Strain out seeds and enjoy. Drink tea warm or cool. 

I will make a pot of tea before bed and allow it to steep overnight. In the morning, I strain the tea and place in the fridge to cool. This is very refreshing on a hot summer afternoon. 

Mint Tea

Mint is said to calm the nerves and clear the mind. For this tea, you could use fresh mint, peppermint or spearmint leaves.

2 cups water

4 sprigs of fresh mint or 2 tsps dried mint

Bring the water to a boil. Remove it from the heat and then add the fresh mint leaves. Steep for 10 minutes. (Mint leaves and florals are delicate and should not be boiled. When using these ingredients, remove from the heat and steep.) 

Aloe and Pomegranate Shot

Aloe Vera is considered anti-pitta, anti-vata and anti-kapha meaning that aloe vera can reduce all three doshas. I find it particularly effective in reducing pitta, the fire energy, in the body. Ayurveda considers pomegranate a blood tonic. To quickly reduce the effects of heat in my body, I use the recipe below.  Excess heat can cause my head to ache, so this is what I drink when I need a quick hit of something that will help me cool down immediately. 

2 tbsp aloe juice

1 tbsp pomegranate

Pour ingredients into a shot class and drink. 

Aloe vera in large amounts can aggravate kapha, so just know this is not recommended for everyday consumption for every dosha type. 

Coconut Water, Cucumber & Cilantro 

This is seriously delicious; very cooling and hydrating. 

Coconut water is rich in electrolytes and potassium. Cucumber promotes hydration. Cilantro is an herb that is often served as a garnish on a taco, but here we blend into a sweet beverage, and it totally works. 

2 cups organic coconut water, chilled

1 small cucumber or half of a large cucumber chilled and peeled

10 springs of cilantro (stems and all)

A squeeze of fresh lime juice

1 tsp maple syrup (optional)

Wash the cilantro. Peel the cucumber. Add all of the ingredients (expect the syrup) into a blender. Blend until the cilantro and cucumber are liquefied. Taste to determine if it is sweet enough. I generally do not add sugar, because the coconut water contains sugar. If you taste the beverage and you would like it sweeter, add the maple syrup. Blend again.  Pour into a chilled glass and enjoy. 

To amp up the nutrition and create a drink that provides a real pick-me-up, add 1 tsp Vitamineral Green 

To learn more about Vitamineral Green, click below:

Coconut Water, Cucumber, Cilantro and Vitamineral Green