Stay Cool With These Herbal Drinks
“India’s traditional herbal coolants are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals”
Summer has set in and due to the sweltering heat, there is an onslaught of exhaustion and heatstroke. And though the weather may be an excuse for lots of pool parties and staying indoors at noon, it also means discarding cola drinks in favour of natural non alcoholic breezers and sorbets that are exclusive to summer.
The inviting appeal of herbs and fruits, the taste of delicious sherbet, topped with crushed ice in a tall stem glass never lazes and these nutritious drinks are also high on the refreshment quotient.
India’s traditional herbal coolants are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. Beat the heat with some of these drinks that are popular Indian remedies to deal with hot weather conditions. Also, try them for their curative properties to combat summer ailments.
A cool and flavourful sherbet, Rooh Alza has been India’s answer to combat the scorching summers for many years now. This is a fruity, red concentrated rose scented drink widely known and commonly found all over the country.
A popular choice in Indian homes to beat the heat, this drink is a summer staple. It is concocted from the pulp of raw mangoes and mixed with a wide variety of spices and herbs. The must add ingredients are mint leaves and cumin seeds. Aam panna has innumerable health benefits and protects from the onslaught of summer ailments.
Apart from being served on the occasion of Holi, with a dash of bhaang. this drink is also a summer favourite. Thandal is made by thickening diluted milk with the addition of aromatic saffron and nuts/dry fruits, It mostly contains cashews, almonds, pistachios, melon and poppy seeds, cardamom, peppercorns, fennel powder and a sprinkling of rose petals. This delicious drink is very healthy as it is packed with the goodness of herbs, nuts and seeds.
Another common favourite in the Indian sub continent is the sherbet made from gurhal or hibiscus. This drink is made by making a syrup of water and sugar and then stirring in the hibiscus flower petals. The cooling sherbet is best enjoyed by diluting it in water or soda. Gurhal sherbet is also used as a base for cocktails in American and European pubs.
This drink is made by boiling Indian gooseberry and saffron, which is then blended into a pulp. The pulp is then mixed in syrup, along with saffron and cardamom powder. The resulting concentrated mix is a coolant which can be stored for over a month. A refreshing sherbet can be made by mixing a bit of it with chilled water. Kesariya amia is an excellent source of vitamin C, amino acids, tannin and polyphenolic compounds.
Almonds and herbs are the key ingredients for this summer coolant. This nutritious drink is prepared by blanching almonds and blending it with thick sugar syrup, cardamom, tulsi (basil) leaves and a few drops of kewra essence. The concoction has a long shelf life and can be consumed by diluting a couple of tablespoons in water or milk.
Khus or vetiver grass juice is concocted by blending the roots of the plant with sugary syrup and herbs for an irresistible drink, It is an instant remedy for sunstroke as it cools the skin and soothes the nerves. The drink is also a natural diuretic and aids in flushing out extra fluids from the body.
Meaning three fruits, triphala is a combination of the extracts from amlaki, bibhitaki and haritaki. This concoction with its essential nutrients naturally detoxifies and boosts digestion. One portion of the extract should be mixed with three portions of water to have a rejuvenating drink to breeze through the hot summer and to take care of some other ailments too.
Widely grown in many parts of south Asia, kewra is known for its fragrance and its essence is distilled from the pandunus flower. The cooling properties of this aromatic plant makes it invaluable during the summer season. The kewra sherbet is made by adding lime juice in sweetened water after which, the kewra essence is stirred in.
Turmeric tea is one of the most beneficial herbal drinks for health. Drinking of this brew a few times in a week, keeps the immune system healthy and enriches the body with antioxidants. This can prove to be beneficial in preventing cancer, liver disease and other inflammatory problems. Besides, it also promotes weight loss and is regarded highly effective in reducing sensations of chronic pain.