I remember studying with Master Jou Tsung Hwa at Tai Chi Farm outdoors almost every day, even in the extreme heat. And as is in most of China, on Tai Chi Farm we did not have air conditioning either. So you can imagine how that felt on a hot, humid August day in lower New York state!
Mint grew wild on Tai Chi Farm, and I would gather it up and wash and bruise it and then put it in cold spring water, or dilute tea. What I discovered was that it cooled me down a lot and let me tolerate the heat.
In later years, I ate at a middle eastern restaurant and noticed that they put chunky sliced cucumbers in their pitchers of cold water served to the customers. According to traditional Chinese medicine, cucumber is very yin/cooling, and slightly moistening. Mint is cooling and drying.
So: Why not put the two together for a cool summer herbal water?
This herbal water will balance your qi for the hot, humid weather. It helps you to tolerate heat and humidity very comfortably. Great if you like to practice your tai chi or qigong outdoors. Another side effect is that the mint soothes digestion and the cucumber soothes your throat. You know what another side benefit is? The volatile oils in the mint and high amount of chlorophyl eliminate body odors and bad breath. Everyone should drink this in the summer!!
You can get wild mint in many outdoor locations, ask your neighbor if she has some, or buy it in a produce mart. Best is to use organic, of course!
Use a glass pitcher or PBA-free plastic pitcher. Be sure to cover the pitcher so the water doesn’t absorb refrigerator odors!
* Thoroughly wash and “bruise” fresh mint stalks and leaves (fold it up, twist, and rub it together). This releases its heavenly essential oils. Place in the pitcher.
* Wash and cut up an organic cucumber in thick chunks. You can leave the peel on if organic. If not, peel it. You can use as little or as much as you wish. Place in the pitcher.
* Add filtered water or spring water.
* You can also add a touch of a fresh garden sage leaf, basil, etc. Experiment.
* Cover and chill in the refrigerator.
This water should keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
When lightly chilled, drink. Best is not to add ice – Chinese medicine claims that adding ice to beverages all the time will eventually damage your qi! Indeed, heavily iced beverages are a modern American invention. And most Americans have some of the worst dietary habits on the planet.
I’d love to hear back from you if you have the same results as me.
I find that if I drink this throughout the day, I can let my office get as hot as 85 degrees or so, and it doesn’t bother me (of course, I put the AC on when I have class or visitors!!).
Enjoy, and don’t let the heat distract your practice!