How do you connect with Nature in the Summer?
3 ways plant-lovers can embrace the season with great Summer Rituals
Ahhh, to feel the sun warm your skin and your soul! Summer is a bright and exciting season. I’m sure you have plenty of memories from this cherished season. Memories like connecting with loved ones over campfires and outdoor cook-outs….food sizzling over open flames and the energy of chatter filling the air. These summer rituals are some of the great reasons to love summer. Fresh garden food is irreplaceable. The snap of a cucumber straight from your garden, or the juicy heirloom tomatoes grown by your local farmers. There is much to celebrate in this season, and we think that herbs can help!
We’re here to explore rituals to help you, as a plant lover, to embrace summer’s beauty. Keep reading to explore 3 important practices that you can do during the heat of summer.
Before getting into our rituals, let’s talk about the energy and symbolism around the summer season!
Summer is all about life, growth, warmth, and activity! This is a time when we feel motivated and expansive. It’s easy to feel upbeat and social and also optimistic. It’s also a great time to embrace productivity. During the high summer months, projects that need tending may find the dedication they’ve been waiting for. You probably feel compelled to make more social plans and maybe life is just a little more joyful.
As a plant-curious soul, I’m sure you’ve noticed these shifts in energy. But have you ever stopped to wonder why these shifts matter? Aligning lifestyle choices with seasonal changes helps us maintain optimal health and vitality. It’s as simple as that.
Instead of forcing productivity when motivation is lacking, or socializing too much during the dark & sleepy winter days, we can align this energy more appropriately with the intoxicating rush of summer days.
Summer is the time to get out & do it–whatever it may be!
But before you get zooming on your list of things to complete and get immersed in all the fun activities that you ached for all winter season……there are some things to consider. Because it can be so easy to get on a roll in the summer, it’s important to stay mindful. Despite feeling seasonally invigorated, the human body still needs rest & intentional care.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t excessively eat cold foods like smoothies, fruit, & iced drinks. These things cool down the digestive system and compromise nutrient absorption. This means less nutrients and more susceptibility to illness, which none of us want in the summer
months. If you do enjoy these foods, try adding warming spices to make them more digestible: ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamon, hot peppers.
- Don’t overdo it with activity. Like I said before, the human body needs rest–no matter the season. If you are constantly on the go and over-engaging in strenuous activity, then you may need to SLOW DOWN. Check in with your body: do you need some rest? This can set you up for burn out and imbalance. Maybe you don’t feel it now, but in the future you may pay the price.
Herbs are amazing allies for creating more intention and support around the summer buzz. When it comes to herbs, there are a few categories to keep in mind:
- Cooling Herbs–I bet you can guess why these herbs might be useful. It’s no shocker that summer is the hottest time of year. Leaning on cooling herbs is helpful for maintaining comfort. Unlike harsh AC and ice-cold water, cooling herbs work on a more subtle level. They help the body stay in balance by offering more gentle support.
Cooling Herb for Summer: peppermint, hibiscus, rose, chamomile, elder, fennel, lavender, lemon balm, red clover, borage, green tea, burdock root.
- Drying herbs–in moderation, herbs that are slightly drying (or astringent), can help to strengthen the heart and intestines. Traditional Chinese Medicine associates these organs with summer, and thus encourages using herbs to nourish and strengthen the heart and intestines. (Tierra)
Astringent Herbs for Summer: yarrow (especially when prepared in a cold infusion), raspberry leaf, peppermint, chamomile, calendula, nettle leaf.
- Spicy herbs–These herbs open the pores, and disperse heat to the surface of your body. It might sound like exactly the opposite of what you need, but trust us. Spicy herbs can help cool down the body by encouraging sweating.
Spicy Herbs for Summer: cayenne, nasturtium, yarrow (especially when prepared in a hot infusion).
- Moistening Herbs- These are especially important if you live in a dry climate. If this isn’t you, you might want to incorporate more herbs from the “drying” list. Maintaining hydration can be tricky, especially if your climate doesn’t offer much in the way of moisture. Moistening (or demulcent) herbs give life to dry tissue states. Demulcent herbs are moistening, cooling, and soothing. They help relax tissues that are hot and irritated. Great cues that you might need these herbs are dry lips, mouth, eyes, and nose.
Demulcent Herbs for Summer: Plantain, marshmallow leaf or root, mullein, licorice, comfrey.
- Relaxing Nervine Herbs-The summer heat can be intense! To protect your nervous system from stress and heat exhaustion, you can lean on herbs that offer relaxation. These herbs act on the nervous system by offering calming support. They can help take the edge off during stressful times.
Relaxing Nervines for Summer: chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, california poppy, catnip, passionflower.
Most of the herbs above can be ingested, and would make great summer teas. However, it is NOT ADVISED TO TAKE COMFREY INTERNALLY. THIS HERB CAN BE TOXIC FOR INTERNAL USE AND CAN DAMAGE THE LIVER.
Additionally, mugwort is an herb associated with Litha (summer solstice) in Wiccan practices. This herb is quite warming, so perhaps it is more appropriate to use as a smudge for any of your summer rituals. (WICCA BOOK)
Speaking of which…. I bet you’re dying to hear the exciting rituals we promised. Trust me, we’re just as excited to share them! As you continue to read, you’ll notice that our suggestions are, well…..quite relaxing.
This is because we’re human, too. We know what it’s like to be burning off of summer fumes, and understand how hard it can be to take a beat while the going’s good. These rituals are invitations to slow down and preserve energy for the days to come. We want you to feel good all year round, not just when you’re high on summer.
These are rituals to take it easy and celebrate the small joys of summer. We hope you enjoy them just as much as we do!
- Sun Tea Ceremony
Sun tea is a fabulous way to incorporate cooling herbs into the hot days. It is such a joy to harness the sun’s power to brew a batch of refreshing and restorative herbal tea.
To do this, place your herbs into a small muslin sack or cloth–or a specialized tea infuser. Grab a large pitcher, or glass jar and fill it with water. Place the herb infuser into the water vessel and set the whole thing outside in a sunny spot. Put it out in the morning, and let it sit out for most of the day.
By the time the heat of the day reaches full potential (4-5pm), your tea should be ready.
You can add ice to cool it down a little, but no need to make it ice cold. If you make sure to choose cooling herbs, they will work their magic to help you beat the heat.
Check out this recipe( Sun Tea Recipe) to make your own summer tea blend.
- Floral Bath
Drawing a cool bath is a great way to cool down and reset the nervous system. To celebrate summer’s beauty, you could add in some summer flowers and relaxing nervine herbs. One way to do it is to boil a kettle of water, and use it to infuse the relaxing nervine herbs. You will want to use 1 tsp of herb for every 8 oz of water. Steep the herbs for 20 minutes and add all of the fluid to your cool bath.
Here’s a bath salt recipe (Bath Salt Recipe), that you can also add in for extra relaxation, and a beautiful floral delight. Incorporating flowers is a lovely way to embrace summer’s beauty.
- Garden party for one (or two, or however many people live in your household) This is an opportunity to celebrate abundance. The Earth gives us so much in the summertime and when we’re in go-mode, it can be a challenge to pause and really appreciate that.
We invite you to go to your source for fresh produce. Maybe this is your personal garden, a friend’s garden, your local food bank, the grocery store, or your town’s farmer’s market. Whatever it looks like, go there and notice what is currently available. Pick out the things that you feel most excited about, and take them home to prepare a fresh meal.
Take this as an opportunity to embrace creativity, which is as bountiful as veggies in the summer. No need to buy special ingredients; we challenge you to incorporate the fresh produce using whatever is already available to you in your kitchen. Take your time with this process and when your food is ready, light a candle, give thanks, and slow down for this special meal.
We invite you to explore these herbal self-care rituals as you please. They are heartfelt invitations to pause and truly feel the essence of summer. Celebration doesn’t always have to look big and loud. Sometimes, the best way to celebrate something good is in the quiet moments in between all of the action.
So, here’s your encouragement to balance out the summer fun. Whether it be with some peaceful sun tea, a relaxing bath, a mindful dinner, or maybe all three. We hope you make the most of this summer season, while also honoring the very human necessity of rest and rejuvenation.
- Tierra, L. (2003). Healing with the Herbs of Life: Hundreds of Herbal Remedies, Therapies, and Preparations. Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed.Cech, R. (2016). Making Plant
Medicine. Herbal Reads LLC.
- Wood, J. (2003). The Wicca Herbal: Recipes, Magick, and Abundance
- Cech, R. (2016). Making Plant Medicine. Herbal Reads LLC. Celestial Arts, LLC.
- Groves, M. N. (2016). Body Into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care. Storey Publishing, LLC.