Considering this ridiculous stretch of temperatures, this week are recipes that focused entirely on cooling beverages to help you beat the heat using foods and culinary herbs known to help clear heat, promote,urination, enrich yin &/or engender fluids, eliminate vexation, and resolve thirst.
Known scientifically as Cucumis sativus of the gourd family, the cucmber plant is an annual herb that grows by trailing along the ground or by climbing a support. It is believed to be native to Asia, probably the Middle East. According to Chinese records, cucumber was introduced to China around 100 B.C. (during the Han Dynasty) from countries to the west by way of what later became known as the Silk Route, later taken by Marco Polo. For six to seven hundred years, cucumber bore the name hu gua, meaning "foreign melon", but a later name, huang gua, meaning "yellow melon" is now more commonly used.
Numerous varieties of the plant produce fruits (cucumbers) of different sizes, shapes, colors, and flavors. They are easy to grow and, depending on the variety, range in shape from nearly round (rare) to elongate (common), and in taste from nonbitter to quite bitter, especially at the stem tips. Some cucumbers of the elongate type can reach 1 m. (3 ft) in length, but most are between 10 cm (4 in.) and 30 cm (1 ft.) long.
Like most vegetables and fruits, raw cucumbers contain large amounts of water (95%). The rest is made up of about 1% protein, 3% carbohydrates, minor amounts of fats (0.1%), minerals and vitamins (e.g., A, Bs, and C), none in unusually high concentration. Cucumbers also contain minor amounts of numerous other biologically active constituents. Their bitter taste is due to compounds known as cucurbitacins, one of which has been found to have antitumor effects on experimental animals.
In Chinese medicine, cucumber is considered to have heat-dissipating, diuretic, laxative, and detoxifying effects. Its major uses include the treatment of excessive thirst, sore throat, laryngitis, acute conjuctivitis, and burns. In most Chinese homes, however, whether eaten raw or cooked as a soup, cucumber is used only for keeping cool in summer, when it is in season, or in early autumn to soothe dry lips and throat.
Mint which is Bo He in Chinese is aromatic it is used for both the lungs and the liver
- Expels wind heat particularly from the head region - fever, headaches, red eyes, cough, sore throat.
- Vents rashes - accelerates the activity of rashes towards the surface to quicken healing.
- Resolves LV Qi Stagnation - emotional issues, PMS, menstrual issues, pressure in chest or sides of body *Which is of course is the basic medicinal properties depending on what herbs it is paired with in a formula. In the recipe below it is to cool and moisten, clear heat
4 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
¼ c fresh mint
1 L water
1 lime, juiced
1 T agave nectar (or to taste)
Run the cucumbers through a juicer or puree with ½ c water and run through a fine‐meshed sieve to
collect the juices.
Muddle the mint in the bottom of a serving pitcher, then add the cucumber juice, water, lime juice, and
agave nectar, stirring to combine. Serve immediately. Garnish with additional slices of lime and
cucumber, if desired.
Lavender is aromatic and is also know to be a calmative. The use of lemons is sour and good for the liver.
Always use natural raw sugar or the best one to use is rock sugar. Rock sugar gives a slightly sweet but not over barring sweetness to this and any drink.
3 c lemon juice (approx. 15‐20 lemons when juiced)
2 c sugar (Raw sugar)
4 c water
3 T fresh culinary lavender buds (or 1 T dried)
Place the lemon juice in a serving pitcher and stir in the sugar until fully dissolved. Add the water and
lavender buds to the sweetened lemon juice, stirring to combine. Serve chilled. Garnish with additional
slices of lemon, if desired.
Strawberrys and roses are packwith vitamin C and both taste delicious. Honey is a calmative and is used in Chinese Medicine for restless organ syndrome(Relieve Vexation). Coconut is an excellent re-hydration drink. Coconut Milk has a long standing cultural association with health in the Ayuvedic tradition. From which Chinese herbal medicine was derived. This natural drink is usually recommended for maintaining electrolyte balance and can also be used in case of dehydration.
Strawberry Rose Lassi
4 c fresh strawberries, leaves and stems removed
1 ½ c plain Greek yogurt
½ c coconut milk
1 c ice cubes
2 T rosewater
2 T honey (or to taste)
Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately.
Watermelon, Xi Gua in Chinese, is used to Clear Summer Heat. Verbena is a calmative.
Watermelon Agua Fresca
8 c watermelon, cut into 1” cubes
2 T fresh lemon verbena leaves
2 c water
2 T rosewater
1 T honey (or to taste)
Puree the watermelon cubes in a blender, then pour through a fine‐meshed sieve to collect the juices.
Muddle the lemon verbena leaves in a serving pitcher, then top with the collected watermelon juice,
water, rosewater, and honey, stirring to combine. Serve chilled. Garnish with sprigs of lemon verbena,
While these drinks will cool you down it will also give you some different new options on your liquid culinary lists of summer drinks. Each has herbs and ingredients that will clear heat, calm the spirit. Enjoy! For more information on herbs and chinese medicine please visit http://www.threelotusdragon.com/blog
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