Quenching a summer thirst calls for a tall, cold beverage—and what better way to satisfy that thirst than with cool drinks made from herbs and spices? You can make delicious, unusual herbal drinks yourself. The herbs and spices pack a powerful punch of health benefits—and the drinks featured here can help with specific ailments, such as easing stiff muscles and aiding digestion. James Duke, PhD, a botanist and author of The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods tells High Energy for Life readers how to make two special herbal drinks.

Dr. Duke advises using organic herbs and spices, whenever possible. They are available at many health-food stores and some grocery stores. And of course, since the compounds in some botanicals may interact with your medications, get your doctor’s OK before making these recipes. Then drink up!

WEEKEND WARRIORS JOINT TEA

This refreshing tea is perfect after a long day of activity when your muscles feel stiff from exertion.

Why: Three of the herbs in this drink—turmeric, ginger and cardamom—produce an anti-inflammatory effect. The black pepper and cayenne help synergize the benefit of the anti-inflammatory herbs.

6 cardamom pods, cracked

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh turmeric or ¼ teaspoon ground dried turmeric (note that fresh tastes best)

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Ground cayenne pepper

1 cup pineapple juice, chilled

2 mint sprigs for garnish, optional

In a pot, combine the first four ingredients with 2 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil, then set aside and steep for 20 minutes. Using a strainer, pour the tea into a jar and chill. Before serving, add cayenne pepper to taste. Divide the tea between two ice-filled glasses. Add half the pineapple juice to each. If desired, garnish with mint sprigs. Serves 2.

DIGESTADE

If you ate too much at a barbecue or a picnic and your stomach needs calming, this cool drink can help.

Why: The herbs in this drink—caraway, fennel and peppermint—have a carminative effect, which means that they help to relieve gas and settle an upset stomach.

1 Tablespoon chopped lemongrass or 1 handful fresh lemon balm leaves

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 handful fresh peppermint leaves

1 handful fresh or 1 Tablespoon dried chamomile flowers

Optional: 1 licorice tea bag or stevia. Stevia adds sweetness…licorice adds digestive benefits along with sweetness. Licorice tea is unlikely to raise blood pressure, but those with hypertension should use with caution.

2 sprigs peppermint for garnish, optional

Note that you can replace the fresh peppermint and dried chamomile with peppermint and chamomile tea bags.

In a pot, combine the lemongrass, caraway, fennel, peppermint and chamomile with 2 cups of filtered water. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the licorice tea bag (if using). Cover and set pot aside to steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea bag. Using a strainer, pour the tea into a jar and chill. (If not using a licorice tea bag, add stevia for sweetness, if desired.) Divide the chilled tea between two ice-filled glasses and serve, garnished with mint sprigs, if desired. Serves 2.