There are many herbs that can help us cool off on hot and humid days – whether by cooling and relaxing our tissues, helping open our pores to release heat, or by bringing extra moisture into our bodies. Here’s a list of 5 Cooling Herbs to beat the heat this summer and how to prepare them at home.
5 Cooling Herbs to Beat the Summer Heat
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMay 26, 2022 clinical herbalist, clinical herbalist pittsburgh, herbalism, herbalist pittsburgh, holistic health, holistic medicine, integrative health, integrative medicine, integrative mental health, self care, Uncategorized0 comments
- Hibiscus has bright and luscious flowers that are enjoyed as a cooling beverage throughout the world. The taste is tangy, sour, and slightly astringent. I highly recommend trying this one iced and sweetened with a bit of honey!Also – If you happen to have Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus, a common landscaping bush) growing in your yard – good news! This is a variety of hibiscus and the flowers can also be enjoyed as tea. Just make sure your plants are not sprayed with chemical pesticides! Iced Hibiscus Tea: Add ¼ C hibiscus flowers to a quart jar and fill with boiling water. Let steep for 30 minutes, add honey to sweeten, and chill in the refrigerator.
- Marshmallow Root: A cousin to hibiscus and yes, the namesake of the fluffy white confections that we enjoy in s’mores, Marshmallow is a wonderful herb to cool and moisten overly hot and dry tissues. Marshmallow contains “mucilage”, a lubricating compound that soothes and cools our the tissues of our body, particularly our respiratory, digestive, and urinary tract systems. This beverage is best prepared with cool or room temperature water and has an earthy and sweet taste. Marshmallow Infusion: Use ¼ C sifted marshmallow roots to a quart jar of cool or room temperature water. Let steep for 4 hours (or overnight), strain, and add ice and a bit of maple syrup.
- Rose: Did you know that roses are also medicinal and a lovely, cooling herb? Both the rose petals and the rose hips (the “fruit” of the rose) are edible and full of vitamin C. The petals are floral, sweet, and slightly astringent, and the rosehips are more tangy and sour. I love adding a small handful of rose petals to my water bottle in the summer time for a nice gentle and uplifting floral flavor. My other favorite preparation is a rose petal simple syrup (described below). If you have roses growing in your yard, you can use them as long as you don’t spray chemical pesticides or herbicides. Do not use commercially grown roses that you buy in the store as these almost always contain harmful chemical residues! Rose Petal Simple Syrup: Combine 1 C of rose petals, 1 C of sugar, and 2 C of water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let steep for 1 – 4 hours. Strain and store in the refrigerator! Add rose syrup to cocktails or sparkling water.
- Lemon Balm, one of the most bright, sweet, and sunny tasting herbs around, is from the mint family. This beautiful and aromatic herb uplifts the spirit and calms a restless heart. The physical effects are gentle and cooling, slightly sour and bitter. Lemon balm can be brewed as a regular tea infusion, or made into a “Sun Tea”. Lemon Balm Sun Tea: Pack a quart jar full of fresh lemon balm, or use ½ – 1 C of dried lemon balm. Fill with water, cover and place out in the sun all day long. After you strain, this tea can be chilled in the refrigerator and stored for 2 – 3 days.
- Raspberry leaf is high in vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, making it like a natural gatorade. It’s a well known ally for people that menstruate and pregnant folks, due to the high levels of iron and calcium and its action as a uterine tonic. The leaves are not quite as sweet and tart as the raspberry fruit, but they still contain a subtle tanginess that can be quite enjoyable! Raspberry iced tea: Pour 2 C boiling water over 1 tbsp of dried raspberry leave. Steep for 10 – 15 minutes, strain, add honey and chill in the refrigerator. To obtain more minerals and vitamins, infuse and steep overnight!
Ready to try them at home? If you’re local to Pittsburgh you can find many of these herbs at the East End Food Coop or at Cutting Root Apothecary. You can also order online at Mountain Rose Herbs.
Written by: Clinical Herbalist Annie Fox Derek.
If you’re interested in working with Annie you can reach us at 412-322-2129 or contact us here.
Therapist Recommendations For Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMay 12, 2022 borderline personality disorder, BPD, BPD Relationships0 comments
There has been a lot of recent media attention surrounding Borderline Personality Disorder—Pete Davidson has been open about his diagnosis and more recently Amber Heard was evaluated to have Borderline Personality Disorder by a forensic psychologist who was hired by Johnny Depp’s legal team. I am hoping that I can show you the positive side of Borderline Personality Disorder and offer recommendations on loving someone with Borderline Personality Disorder and making your BPD relationships brighter and healthier.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can have features that include fear of abandonment, patterns of unstable relationships, rapid changes in self-image, and risky behavior.
With the pervasive nature of these mental health symptoms, treatment is essential, which includes a solid support network.
If you are a friend, family member, or partner of someone with BPD, you are probably well aware of the relationship challenges. Also, keep in mind those with BPD can (often unbeknownst to themselves) create the issues that cause abandonment, which they may fear the most.
Aside from these challenges, having a loved one with BPD can be enriching and rewarding. I can easily cite the positive aspects. I’ve frequently been motivated by the inspiring love for their passions. Their enthusiasm for life can be very contagious. They can offer dark humor and quick wit when you need to be cheered up from your own negative emotions.
In my experiences with clients and loved ones with BPD, I wanted to share some insight. I’ve learned that patience and empathy are the foundation for mutual growth.
I hope to offer some recommendations that can make BPD relationships brighter and healthier:
- First and most importantly, realize there are limits and boundaries to every relationship. Give and take isn’t always 50/50, but the relationship does not stay healthy if one’s time and energy is on a pattern of depletion.
- Clear communication of wants and needs are essential. Make sure you have your desires established early into the relationship, while also respecting those of your partner.
- Individual treatment. For your loved one, appropriate therapy is ideal. This clinician should be experienced in personality disorders. Even more importantly, this clinician should focus on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT is a therapy specifically devised for Borderline individuals that focuses on healthier coping and inward reflection. To manage your emotions properly, consider therapy for yourself.
- Research and learning. Receiving this diagnosis can be overwhelming for the patient as well as their support network. Finding out a loved one has a BPD diagnosis can bring up an array of questions. Make sure you educate yourself using reputable resources.
- Self-care. Both you and your loved one need care and balance; it is highly important to carve time for yourself. Your health is just as crucial as those around you.
- Support in any relationship is crucial, but even more so to those living with BPD. Look into joining a “Friends and Family” DBT support group online.
- Be Aware of Love Languages. Part of BPD in relationships is fear of abandonment, and small gestures can go a long way. Find your love languages and keep these in mind when you want to express appreciation.
- Words of Affirmation: Telling the person they are loved or giving sincere compliments even via text.
- Gifts: Thoughtful doesn’t have to mean expensive; think about their special interests or even delivering them a treat.
- Quality Time: One-on-one, no phones/no distractions. Be present with each other.
- Acts of Service: Schedule time to work on tasks they find overwhelming, even if you find it mundane.
- Physical Touch: Even close proximity can express to your BPD loved one that you are near and dear.
The emotional connections we have in life take thoughtful cultivation. There is work required in every relationship, but elevated patience and effort are needed when it comes to those with personality disorders. I encourage you to have open conversations with loved ones with any and all mental health needs so that you can discover more joy.
Written by Rachel Taylor, a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and Nationally Board Certified Counselor (NBCC) with Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh.
Pruthi, S. Borderline Personality Disorder. (2022, May) The Mayo Clinic.