June 27, 2022
The Kitchen Herbalist: Summer Solstice Sun Tea
What is Sun tea?
Sun tea is tea that has been made using the power of the sun. Instead of steeping herbs in hot water, you put the herbs & water in a vessel under the sun to infuse. Any combination of tea-appropriate plants can be used in sun tea, either fresh or dried. The most important thing is to place the herbs in a safe, clear container in direct sunlight for at least an hour. In choosing your container, we suggest using glass, as plastic containers can leech chemicals into the tea.
Making the perfect sun tea is more of an art than a science; no precise ratios of herbs to water are needed. To get more flavor, you can start the brew with a high volume of herbs, or you can infuse the blend in the sunshine for longer. Fewer herbs soaked in the sunshine for a shorter period of time will create a more gentle flavor. You can taste-test the brew as it bakes, and when the tea has reached your desired level of flavor, strain out the herbs to stop the steeping process.
Summer Solstice Sun Tea
Summer Solstice is the most “yang” day of the year. By brewing a sun tea on that day or in the summertime, you can harness all the power of the yang qi and offer your insides some warm sunshine-energy. One of our creative students came up with a Sun Tea recipe that uses sustainable ingredients to support the energetics of the season. These are herbs commonly used in Western herbal traditions & we’ll describe their functions in East Asian medicine.
Huang Chu Ju: Chamomile
“To cool you from the power of the summer solstice, to relax your muscles and heal any bruises or rashes you may have” • In East Asian Medicine, we consider Huang Chu Ju to belong to the “Regulate Qi” category of herbs. It can help release Qi stagnation, cool inflammation, soothe pain, settle the stomach, clear heat, and calm the Shen. It goes to the Lung, Heart, Stomach, and Liver. It is closely related to the functions of it’s Asteracea cousin, Chrysanthemum.
As a cooling Qi-regulator that goes to the Lung, Heart, Stomach, and Liver, it can be used as a gentle aid to calm anxiety, soothe headaches and coughs, ease irritability, support digestion, and aid with PMS symptoms.
Xun Yi Cao: Lavender
“Another cooling & relaxing tonic, healing both skin and aiding your breathing. Aphrodisiac for those Summer nights!” • Lavender’s main function in East Asian Medicine is to clear heat, followed closely by it’s capacity to descend qi. What does that Qi that needs to be descended look like? It could be an oncoming headache, or anxious, busy thinking, insomnia, or even high blood pressure. In all of these examples, the culprit behind these symptoms may be an abundance of rising qi– especially if they’re happening in the spring or summer seasons when there’s a lot of qi rising in the energy of the earth.
The relaxing effects of Chamomile & Lavender are thanks to their roles as heat-clearing Qi regulators in East Asian Medicine.
Feng Mi: Honey
“Antibacterial and antiviral, a powerful natural antibiotic that boosts the immune system” • A touch of Manuka honey adds a nourishing, Qi-tonifying factor to this sun tea. Honey tonifies the Spleen & Stomach and prevents dryness. With the dry environment of the East Bay, it’s a great moistening addition to a batch of sun tea. In herbal formulas, honey, like ginger or dates, can be used a harmonizer that blends all the flavors together & assists the Stomach with digestion of the other herbs in the formula.
In East Asian Medicine, we say that the Stomach is the source of all fluids in the body. If you have dry skin, dry eyes, dry mouth, chronic sinus inflammation, or tight tendons, your Acupuncture practitioner might wonder about the quality of the Jin-Ye, or fluids, in your body. To support proper fluid metabolism in the body, it’s important to put an adequate amount of fluid into the Stomach, specifically water.
“All living things are born from fluid … Water is the mother of the Three Sources of Heaven, Earth and Humans.” — Chang Ching-Yueh, The Book of Classifications (circa 2nd century B.C.)
For her Sun Tea, Leslee used double copper purified & structured water. She says “this structured water passes through copper filtration and also a dynamic pathway that leads to its restructuring post filtration, a return to its natural crystalline like formation.”
About the Creator
Leslee Kurihara lives on Ohlone land in San Francisco, CA. She is a student of Classical 5 Element Acupuncture with the Lingshu Institute, as well as a student of TCM at AIMC in Berkeley. She received her Undergraduate degree at the University of CA at Davis in Environmental Science and Design. Leslee believes in the tenets of healing as guided by the laws of nature and in honoring an individual’s unique constitution as integral to the diagnostic and treatment process.
Curious about herbal medicine? Check out our upcoming events to see if there are any Community Classes you’d like to join, or look over our Herbology curriculum to see if AIMC Berkeley could be the right place for you to learn East Asian Medicine Herbology in our Masters or Doctorate programs.