Beat the heat, the herbal way!

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Come summer and we are all dehydrated to almost death! Soaring temperatures literally suck the life out of us, making the body weak and tired, always. Dehydration can be extremely dangerous if not checked and rectified on time. Exposure to heat dries up our cells causing fluid loss in the body. The digestive and excretory systems suffer badly when they are deprived of water. Acute thirst, dryness of the mouth, nausea, dizziness and headaches are all symptoms of dehydration in summer. Apart from the cells getting dried up, an electrolyte imbalance occurs too, which if neglected can also lead to coma.

Cold beverages, chilled water, lassi, buttermilk, iced tea and coffee revive us from the tiring heat but are they healthy options? No says the good old Ayurveda. It is a well-known fact that carbonated drinks and other cold beverages just quench our thirst but are not good for the body. The high sugar content can cause more trouble instead of just beating the heating. Ayurveda suggests there are a few healthier herbs to beat dehydration in summer. Just take a sneak-peak at your kitchen and you will find them. These natural hydrants are simple, healthy and always available.

Peppermint or Pudina – Remember the peppermint candies we all had fun with during our childhood days. The moment you pop in a candy, the mouth felt fresh and cool. Peppermint does the same to our body too. This herb is known for its adaptogenic properties that balance the electrolytes and cool down the body temperature.

Get a few mint leaves and boil them in a huge bowl of water. Add a dash of lemon or a few sugar crystals just to give a flavour. Chill it and consume it regularly. You can have mint tea even without adding anything to it.

Lemons – Lemons are available in plenty all through the year but they are best useful only in summer. A tiny lemon in cold water can make a great hydrant energizing the body and restoring the temperature. Not just lemon but citrus fruits in general like mango, orange, sweet lime etc have the ability to restore bodily temperature. So you can trust these fruits to do the needful in summer without having to worry about dehydration.

Squeeze half a lemon into some water, add a pinch of salt and consume. If you want to make the drink more tastier, chop a few mint or basil (tulasi) leaves into the water and take it. Nothing makes a more refreshing drink in summer!

Willow bark or Dalchini – Though dalchini is known only as a biryani or pulao herb, it is equally good at beating dehydration. A pure decoction of dalchini is a super summer cooler. Willow bark, as it is technically called, contains analgesic properties too that cure headaches. Summer heat sometimes causes cold and cough in people. Such cold bouts rarely get treated with medicines. In such cases, you can trust this good old herb.

Coarsely powder a few pieces of dalchini and boil them in water. Cool it and consume it throughout the day. Do not add any other herb or spice to it because the taste is hampered.

Holy basil or Tulasi – Our earlier generations who never got to see a refrigerator counted on earthly pots to cool drinking water. They used to fill huge pots with water and sprinkle a few basil leaves on the top before closing the lid. Basil has the power to absorb heat and balance the temperature. The tradition continued and Ayurveda insists we all drink water that has been mixed with tulasi leaves. It not only hydrates the body but also detoxifies it by flushing out chemicals and unwanted waste.

You can warm a little water, add basil leaves and cool it before consuming. If you are running short of time, make large quantities of the mix and store it in the refrigerator.