With the summer heat, it’s worth the effort to make some tasty, nutritive drinks on hand to quench thirst and provide nourishment. 

I especially enjoy having shrubs on hand, because as much as I love coconut water as an electrolyte and thirst-quencher, I can’t seem to enjoy single-use cans and bottles anymore knowing that recycled items are more and more likely to end in the land-fill! The vinegar in shrubs is a great alternative as an electrolyte, especially when combined with mineral-rich herbs like oat straw and nettle.

These are some of my favorite potions from this summer that I hope you will enjoy, too.

Take the liberty to experiment with these recipes and discover your own favorite combinations!

Lastly, I wanted to share something I wished I’d known earlier in my herbal practice – many caffeine-free herbs are diuretic! Nettle, mint, dandelion  –  they help move the water OUT of your body, which can be therapeutic, but they can also dry out your system if tea is all that you drink.  So just a reminder, whatever time of year, don’t drink teas exclusively and get that water down!

Cherry Mint Cooler
This is a delicious, naturally sweet tea with mineral-rich nettles

1 cup fresh or frozen cherries

1 cup dried mint (or 1 cup freshly chopped)

1 cup dried nettle (or 1 cup freshly chopped)

4 cups water

Honey to taste


-In a saucepan, bring water and cherries to a gentle boil, and let simmer for 15 -20 minutes

-Strain cherries, put remaining water back in saucepan (with heat off), and add the herbs.

-Strain herbs, add honey to taste

-Drink over ice or chill in the refrigerator and serve


Tulsi Berry Shrub
Shrubs are so nutritive and delicious, they make great mocktails that everyone can enjoy

4 oz local honey (or more, depending on preference)

2 oz apple cider vinegar

2 oz balsamic vinegar

4 oz chopped seasonal berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries)

4 oz dried tulsi (a little more if fresh, a little less if dried)

1 tablespoon gin

Method: Mix all ingredients in bowl, apply gentle heat if needed to soften the honey.   

Put in a glass jar (about a quart size), keep in the refrigerator and shake daily.  Strain after 2-3 weeks.  Then add desired amount to iced or sparkling water.


Rachel’s Summer Tea Blend

I make a lot of this tea and friends often ask me for the recipe. Alfalfa, nettle, and oat straw help make it rich in minerals and tonifying for the nervous system; red rooibos gives it a robust flavor rich in antioxidants; tulsi is a lovely adaptogen, and calendula makes it beautiful and it’s an easy way to get my garden into my tea! I usually blend the dried herbs in a quart-size jar so it’s easy to make a cup (or several) at a time.

3 tablespoons nettle

3 tablespoons alfalfa

3 tablespoons oatstraw

2 tablespoons rooibos

1 tablespoons tulsi

A sprinkling of calendula blossoms

1 teaspoon stevia (dried leaf, not processed powder))

Method: Mix ingredients well, and use 1 tablespoon for each 8 oz of tea desired.  Let tea steep for several hours (or overnight) to extract the most nourishment (but it’s tasty after just a few minutes of steeping). Recipe makes about 8 oz of loose leaf herbs, or 64 ounces of delicious tea.


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