It is summer and the month of August.  For most of us here in the Midwest, this is the hottest month of the year.  The heat and the humidity can be oppressing and unbearable, especially in Kansas.  Fortunately for us, there are medicinal plants that can aide in keeping us cool and dry during these hot, sticky and sweltering months.

One of the first medicinal plants to mention that contains cooling properties and often used in summer is Sambucus nigra or Elder.  Elderberry is commonly used as a cold/flu/cough remedy because of its delicious taste but the flowers can be used when trying to reduce the heat. Elder is a cooling, drying herb when the dried flowers are used in a tincture.  Elder improves the circulation throughout the body by opening the lungs, blood vessels, capillaries, kidneys, skin or anything that needs to move fluidly.

The next medicinal plant to mention is Sage or Salvia officinalis, which is a member of the mint family. Sage is a universal medicinal plant and when consumed as a hot tea, it induces sweating and when consumed as a cold tea, decreases sweating.  Sage is also an excellent herb for the nervous system when the heat aggravates it.  Other heat conditions that Sage is helpful at treating are menopause and the hot flashes that occupy it.

The third herb to take note of is Yarrow or Achillea millefolium, which is a favorite among many herbalists.  Yarrow has a long history of medicinal uses.  It grows almost everywhere and can easily be harvested across the United States. Yarrow is well known for regulating body fluids.  It does so by cooling or heating the surface of the body by moving blood toward or away from the skin’s surface.  You can drink Yarrow by brewing up a warm cup of tea. This will open up the pores of the skin and release heat.  A cold brew of Yarrow tea will stimulate the kidneys and relieve fluid retention.

Some other notable cooling medicinal plants to mention are Chamomile, Lavender and Calendula.  Chamomile is one of the best medicinal plants for hydrating the skin.  Lavender is a wonderful herb for its calming and refreshing abilities, which can be very effective in treating those hot temperatures in August.  Calendula is one of my favorite herbs.  Calendula is known as marigold, which often can be seen in summer gardens and flowerpots.  Calendula loves the skin and is effective when applied directly to the body.  It is also known in folklore to repel bugs, including mosquitos that plague the summer months.

The warm weather is here!  Enjoy the rest of your summer with ease and clarity by using the cooling medicinal plants mentioned above after consulting with your health care professional.