Cool and Refreshing

By Taylor Jeffers, Herbalist.

Summer still has a lot to offer, and with flowers in bloom and berries ripe, we can all enjoy the fruits of Mother Nature. Here you’ll find inspiration for delicious recipes to bring more healing vitality into your daily lives.

Digestive Lemon-Aide

  • 1 cup fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
  • 2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

Bring the ginger, sugar, and 4 cups of water to a boil and then reduce to medium heat for 30 minutes. Strain the syrup and then allow to cool to room temperature. In the meantime, squeeze the lemons and add to a large pitcher with the remaining 6 cups of water. Once the syrup is cooled, add to the lemon water and place in the fridge until chilled.

Depending on your heat preference, adjust the amount of ginger accordingly.

Ginger will support your digestive system by soothing inflammation while stimulating digestive secretions to improve indigestion. It will reduce gas, bloating, cramping, and nausea. The fresh lemon juice will provide Vitamin C and also support healthy gastric secretions as well as detoxification. Altogether this is a great drink to increase your digestive fire and can be used before or after meals to support digestion of a meal.

*If you are sensitive to spicy foods or have history of ulcers, GERD, or acid reflux consider reducing the amount of ginger in half or reducing the amount consumed.*

Antioxidant-Rich Syrup

  • 2 tsp hibiscus
  • 1 handful fresh Oregon Grape berries
  • 1 tsp lemon peel
  • 4 cups water
  • 1-2 cups organic cane sugar or local honey

Begin by picking fresh oregon grape berries. At this time of year in the PNW, these berries are ripe and easy to find. Be sure to not harvest near roadsides or where chemicals may have been sprayed. Pour water into a small pot and add the herbs and berries. With a fork, smash the berries to release their juices into the water. Simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes and then strain. Add your preferred sweetener and return the pot to the stove to simmer until reduced halfway or until desired consistency is achieved

This syrup can be used to drizzle on pancakes or toast. It pairs well with rosemary crackers and goat cheese and can even be added to sparkling water to create a soda. The antioxidants in this syrup will add to a youthful glow and support skin repair.

Herbal Waters

  • 1 T Spearmint
  • 1 T Red Clover
  • 1 T Hawthorn berries
  • 5 cups water

Make a tea by first bringing the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the herbs. Cover the pot with a lid and steep until room temperature. Strain out the herbs and pour into ice cube trays and freeze.

These ice cubes are wonderful to add to your drinks to get a lightly flavored water with added benefits of the herbs. Spearmint is a cooling herb, fit for the summer heat. Red clover aids in detox and hawthorn berries support the cardiovascular system.

Nutritive Popsicles

  • A handful of violet flowers or 1 T dried violet flowers
  • 1 T lavender flowers (fresh or dried)
  • 1 T oat straw or oat pods
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 T local honey

Create a tea by boiling water in a small pot. Once boiling, remove from heat and add herbs. Allow to steep with the lid on until cooled to room temperature. Strain out the herbs, ensuring to press the herbs with the back of a spoon. Add herbal infusion to a blender with the coconut milk, blueberries, and honey and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze.

The high mineral content and nervous system restorative power of oat straw/oat pods is a lovely combination with sweet violets and lavender flowers. With the antioxidant power of blueberries and the healthy fats of coconut milk, these popsicles are brain food.

You can usually find most of these herbs in your backyard but are also available to you at your local herb shop. Check out Dandelion Botanicals in Ballard or Herban Wellness in Kirkland. If you cannot find Oregon Grape berries, feel free to substitute them with any other dark colored berry for the same antioxidant effects.