By ANNA MARIE BEAUCHEMIN
Martinez News-Gazette Columnist
Part of the fun of herbal medicine is how easy it is to incorporate medicinal plants into food. While teas, tinctures, and salves are definitely the mainstays of herbalism, many of the plants we use for medicine are also tasty and fun to cook with. Whenever I can, I try to spruce up my meals (and my treats) with purpose and intention, and for me, this often involves throwing in some medicinal herbs. In honor of the sweltering heat that’s descended upon the earth, I thought I would share one of my favorite therapeutic summer treats – lavender lemonade.
Lavender has traditionally been used to help people with anxiety and depression. The plant has a distinct and floral flavor making it a unique addition to the culinary cabinet. The dried and fresh flowers can be used in a variety of dishes ranging from desserts to cocktails, to fancy finishing salts.
When you add the fresh or dried herb to classic lemonade, the result is not only a sweet and refreshing treat but a calming concoction to ease the mind. I like to enjoy this beverage on a warm summer night after a long day at work. It makes a great alcohol-free option for unwinding at the end of the day; sip
slowly and melt into bliss!
Summer Lavender Lemonade
1.5 cups water
½ cup raw honey
1.5 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons fresh or dried lavender flowers
*optional – sparkling water
Combine lavender flowers and honey in a small saucepan. Bring water to boil in a kettle, and pour over honey and lavender. Stir to dissolve the honey, and cover and let sit roughly 30 minutes. Strain honey simple syrup from lavender flowers and add fresh lemon juice. Let cool, then chill overnight. The next day pour over ice and serve with a fresh sprig of lavender on top. For an added kick add a small pour of sparkling water to the glass, giving this sweet and soothing drink a refreshing dose of bubbles.
Note: The information presented in this article is for educational purposes only. For more information about local, seasonal, herbal remedies and regional botanical information, check back on the first Sunday of every month for the Hometown Herbalist column.
Anna Marie Beauchemin is a trained Clinical Western Herbalist and Biologist. Born and raised in Martinez, California, she is passionate about sharing her craft with her community and helping people to find balance and wellness in their lives. She runs her practice in downtown Martinez – offering herbal consultations and custom formulations, herbal education, product development and consulting, and community herb walks. For more information about her services visit her website at eastbayherbals.com, or follow her on Facebook and Instagram @eastbayherbals.