Stepping into the garden, the aroma of mint fills the air. Sometimes invasive, this herb is hearty, and can be used in a multitude of ways. With more than 500 species of mint, from peppermint to spearmint, and everything in between, mint is used as both a medicinal herb and a culinary flavor booster.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, certain foods are chosen to support the function of a given organ system. Mint—along with pears, roasted almonds, honey, white sesame seeds, and celery—support your Lung and Large Intestine. Often times, these organs suffer from being too dry and not having enough moisture, especially in the hot summer months.
Mint also has a cooling essence, which helps your body counteract the summer heat. Mint gently cools the eyes and head while smoothing the flow of Qi, dissipating emotional or physical tension.
A perfect addition to summer meals, mint can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Mint can also boost the flavor of drinks, such as this refreshing mint lemonade. In addition to all of the benefits of mint, this recipe calls for fresh-squeezed lemons, which relax tension, and a hint of maple syrup, which makes life that much sweeter!
Minty Summer Lemonade
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup washed fresh mint leaves, chopped
6 cups water, room temperature or slightly chilled
4-6 large organic lemons, squeezed
Combine hot water and maple syrup in a glass pitcher. Add the chopped mint and stir. Let steep for about 45 minutes while the mixture cools. Then strain out the mint and add the remaining water and lemon juice. Add more maple syrup, 1 teaspoon at a time, if desired.
As an alternate:
Substitute 3 cups of water for several chunks of watermelon, using both the white and red parts. Place mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. While this is refreshing to drink, you can also splash it on your face to rejuvenate your skin and pores, especially if you’ve been out in the sun all day.