Hot enough for ya? In Much of North America and certainly here in the Bay area, we’re well into a HOT summer. As acupuncturists and herbalists, we like to offer alternatives to standard American or Western practices for ‘beating the heat’ that are not health promoting - icy cold drinks, that American favorite, comes to mind. What can you serve your patients in your waiting room, or recommend for them to drink at home, that will support their bodies through this time of year, that they’ll enjoy, and that they can find and make themselves? Here’s a few ideas. Feel free to share these with your patients!
Mint and Chrysanthemum Tea: Bo he and ju hua are a classic pairing for heat and wind - great for the kind of dry heat that makes allergies flare up. It has a pleasant taste that’s palatable to most people - a little sweetening with stevia leaf, honey or rock sugar makes it even easier to drink. It’s also delicious cool.
Green Tea with Hibiscus: This is a great iced coffee or iced tea substitute as the green tea provides a gentle lift of energy without producing heat like more caffeinated beverages. Hibiscus offers a refreshing sweet/sour flavor that benefits the liver and nourishes yin, and a beautiful red color. It is used in traditional medicines around the world to cool the body and improve hydration. I combine equal parts of both and make sun tea in a large mason jar.
Cantaloupe Agua Fresca: Aguas frescas (cool waters) are refreshing summer beverages made from fresh fruit, popular throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. They can easily be made without sugar for a sweet, refreshing taste of summer that doesn’t knock your spleen out and kick your blood sugar in the butt. Mix equal parts ripe cantaloupe and water in a blender and puree. A tiny pinch of salt will improve the hydrating effect and make it taste sweeter. Add a little bit of grated fresh ginger, especially if there’s a weak or cold spleen condition.
All of these are delicious cool or at room temperature - but if you’d like a little accessible science to help share the wisdom of avoiding cold drinks on hot days, here’s an investigation from NPR that explains from an allopathic perspective why cold drinks make you hotter. A votre santé!
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