During the heat of the summer months you may find yourself reaching for popsicles or dipping in chilly bodies of water to cool your body temperature down. While these methods offer us relief temporarily, they aren’t doing much long-term. That’s where herbs come in! Similar to humans, plants have different characteristics or “energetics” that describe how they taste, feel, and work in our bodies. They can be warming, cooling, drying, moistening, tonifying, neutralizing, relaxing, etc. 

Cooling herbs are often used to treat “hot” conditions in the body which typically present as inflammation, redness, or anything that looks inherently angry (like acne or rashes). But they can also be fantastic for reducing heat in the body caused by environmental temperature fluctuations – hello summertime. You may notice as the warm weather persists that you feel dizzy, anxious, irritable, or exhausted or have more frequent headaches, heartburn, or changes in appetite.

There are numerous ways that cooling herbs help to move excess heat through our bodies but their main actions are:

  • reducing inflammation
  • soothing irritation
  • stimulating our cooling mechanisms (like sweating)
  • detoxifying our blood

So let’s jump into some of our favorite cooling herbs for the season.


Really any plant in the mint family is a fantastic cooling herb, with spearmint and peppermint as the standout stars. Think about it this way– when you brush your teeth with mint toothpaste, don’t you feel that cooling, tingly sensation on your tongue? Similarly, if you use any balms that contain mint you’ve likely experienced an undeniable icy feeling on your skin. That’s because these plants contain menthol which literally triggers the cold-sensitive receptors in your skin, creating a cooling sensation on your skin and mucous membranes. Additionally, plants in the mint family are energizing, which can be really helpful for those of us who tend to feel zapped of our energy or exhausted from the heat. 

Ways to use mint this summer: 

  • Make iced mint tea for a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up
  • Throw some mint in your water bottle in the morning (maybe with a little cucumber and/or lemon!?) for an at-home spa water
  • Blend mint into your smoothies for some brightness 
  • Add mint leaves to your salads and cold dishes


When you think of hot, tropical climates, hibiscus flowers often come to mind. These bright red blooms are some of the best herbal medicine for beating the summer heat and have been used by many cultures around the world for this reason. As a “refrigerant herb”, hibiscus quite literally brings your body temperature down when you consume it. The astringent, tart flavor of a hibiscus tea or infusion is super thirst-quenching on a hot summer day and the high electrolyte content of hibiscus deeply hydrates and replenishes your tissues – especially when you’re sweating!

It also happens to be an incredibly rich source of vitamin C, making it an ideal elixir for warding off any sickness during the busy summer season. With consistently warmer days, excess heat in your body can start to manifest as digestive issues and stress on your heart, leading to emotional and physical stagnation. Hibiscus helps to both dissipate and eliminate this heat, easing any swelling, inflammation, and fluid retention. And unlike peppermint, hibiscus has a calming effect on your nervous system since it’s technically an anxiolytic and mild sedative. So if you’re feeling hot and bothered, hibiscus might be your girl.

Ways to use hibiscus this summer: 

  • Make an iced hibiscus tea
  • Brew an overnight infusion with hibiscus, then add salt and lemon the next day for a cooling, deeply hydrating drink
  • Add some honey or sweetener of your choice to your hibiscus tea or infusion and freeze in popsicle molds for a refreshing, extra cooling treat

Marshmallow Root

As members of the Mallow family, marshmallow and hibiscus are actually cousins. So it shouldn’t come as a total surprise that the marshmallow plant has a moistening, cooling effect on any hot or dry tissues as well. Perhaps the most noteworthy and unique trait of marshmallow root is its characteristic mucilaginous texture. In other words, when you hydrate marshmallow root with water, it creates a viscous, slippery liquid (think Chia seeds) that is wonderful for soothing irritated or inflamed mucous membranes – like our digestive, respiratory, and urinary tracts. 

Ways to use marshmallow root this summer: 

  • Make a marshmallow root infusion by adding ¼ cup to a big glass jar of cool or room temp water and let it steep overnight. Add maple syrup if you like it a little sweetener
  • Combine hibiscus with marshmallow root in a deeply cooling and soothing overnight herbal infusion
  • Swap out your store bought marshmallows with homemade marshmallows with marshmallow root! Perfect as a gut-healing sweet treat or for roasting over the fire

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is cooling by nature since it falls into the mint family. However, this herb is considered to be sour in taste, which is rare for mints. Its delicious, citrusy aroma is not only enjoyable but also mentally and emotionally uplifting, which is why it’s known to be an effective antidepressant for mild depression. During the hot summer months, lemon balm is effective in calming down any digestive issues, soothing your nervous system, and fighting off viruses (like cold sores!) with its potent volatile oils.  

Ways to use lemon balm this summer: 

  • Make a sun tea by packing a jar with fresh lemon balm, covering with water and placing in the sun all day
  • Freeze lemon balm leaves into ice cube trays for a hint of citrus and mint in any drink 
  • Whip up a big batch of lemon balm lemonade for your next gathering


In Ayurvedic tradition, rose is actually considered to be tri-doshic, which means that it is supportive for any dosha, or constitution. Flavor wise, rose petals are sweet and slightly astringent, while rosehips are sour and tangy. Both are rich in vitamin C, B, K and potent plant constituents like polyphenols and flavonoids. Rose is particularly calming for any hot, fiery skin conditions like redness, rashes, swelling, acne and eczema that may be exacerbated by hot days. Because of this, rose is often found in topical creams and facial products and makes a lovely hydrosol or body oil. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the immense healing power of rose for the heart. This nurturing, loving herb has been used for centuries to open your heart up, clear any emotional congestion or heat and move blood and Qi through your circulatory system. So if you’re in need of some TLC this summer, rose is a beautiful cooling ally to get you through.

Ways to use rose this summer: 

  • Simmer a rose simple syrup to add to cocktails, mocktails and lemonades
  • Soak rose petals in water to make an easy rose water facial spray that you can spritz throughout your day
  • Infuse rose petals into a nourishing, calming body oil
  • Throw some rose petals into a warm bath at night  
  • Add rose petals into your water bottle for a mild, floral flavor  

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