lundi 9 août 2010

small measures with ashley: cool off with mint

It’s no secret that it’s been warm lately. And now that it’s August, it’s official. The heat is on. My normally active 2 year-old puppy and 4-year old German Shepard would rather hide in the darkest part of the house, directly underneath the ceiling fan, than chase rabbits. Our 5 cats are having a hard time mustering up full-throated, vigorous “meows” (offering up sad grunts instead). The chickens hunt around a bit, but then retire for the day in their pecked-out dust/dirt baths, getting up only for the occasional sip of water or egg deposit.

Meanwhile, I’ve been learning to cope with my rising prego body temperature. Lots of fluids (like last week’s sun tea!), quick, cold showers, and loose-fitting, light-weight clothing have been my salvation, along with forays to area creeks and, soon, swimming holes. I’ve also been enjoying the cooling effects of mint. Today’s small measure highlights the inherent heat-battling properties of those members of the genus Mentha. Whether you elect to use spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, apple mint, or any of the other mint species is of no consequence. The end result will be the same-cool, crisp, clean, and refreshed. Mint helps to move along stagnant, blocked heat, as opposed to generating internal heat in the manner that ginger or hot chilis might. When congested heat gets sent along its merry way, the body can better adjust to warm weather conditions.

The benefits of mints are many. From calming aching bellies (I always keep mint on hand for this purpose; coupled with fennel seeds and chamomile buds, it quickly relieves my most intense moments of, shall we say, “gastric distress”) to soothing a mild sunburn (make a basic infusion of fresh mint and boiling water, leave to steep and cool for several hours, and then simply wet a cotton ball or cloth in the solution and apply to inflamed skin), mint is a full-service herb. During the dog days of summer, use it to cool you down quickly when you don’t have a.c., can’t make it to the pool, or just don’t want to sit around complaining about how miserable you feel all day. The following remedies can be easily whipped up and put to cooling use on hot bodies of all ages:

CLICK HERE for the rest of Ashley’s post and her all-natural mint remedy recipes!

Hot Dogs Foot Bath

The Goods:

-A handful of fresh mint (anywhere from 1/2 c.-2c. works great)

-2 drops peppermint essential oil

-Warm water

The Deal:

-Add ingredients to plastic or metal tub large enough to accommodate feet.

-Rest feet in water 15-20 minutes.

-Dry and rub with a cooling mint lotion (I especially love these, from Burt’s Bees and Masada)

Cooling Mint Facial Mist

The Goods:

-1 c. witch hazel (I’ve been using Thayer brand for over a decade)

-1/2 c. fresh mint

-1/2 c. fresh rosemary

-Peel from 1 orange

The Deal:

-Combine ingredients in an 8 oz. glass jar.

-Cover with a lid and shake well.

-Leave in a cool, dark area (such as a pantry or cabinet) to infuse for at least one week.

-Strain off solids using fine muslin or a paper coffee filter.

-Put solution in a mister bottle and mist away!

Minty Hair Rinse

The Goods:

-1 c. water

-1/2 c. fresh mint

-1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

The Deal:

-Bring the water to a boil.

-Add the mint, remove from heat, and allow to steep until cool. Strain out solids.

-Stir in vinegar and transfer to a lidded container.

-After your normal hair cleaning routine in the shower, pour the hair rinse over your head. Rub it into your scalp and comb it through your hair.

-Leaving the rinse in, dry your hair as usual (there will be a bit of a lingering odor from the vinegar, so, if this bothers you, I’d suggest using this rinse when you don’t have to go out for a while or before going to bed).

How about you? Got any minty fresh solutions for keeping your cool when the mercury rises? As for me, I’m off to brew up a chilly pitcher of mint and honey iced tea and attempt to coax my dogs back from complacency’s edge. -ashley

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