Here are the ingredients and their functions:
Staghorn sumac’s red “berry” clusters (actually drupes) are full of a tangy flavor and lots of Vitamin C. The Native Americans would make a tart refreshing beverage out of it (similar to lemonade), as well as use it as a treatment for coughs and sore throats. (Staghorn Sumac is not at all similar to Poison Sumac, by the way. Poison Sumac grows in wet, swampy areas and has white berries and as the part we want are the red berries, you’ll easily be able to tell the difference.) Sumacs are ready to harvest when they are red and pass the taste test: Pinch the cluster with your fingers. It should be slightly sticky. Then lick your fingers and you will taste the tartness, indicating it is ready for harvest. Sumac is also just slightly astringent, helping your body to tighten around the moisture it does have, to hold it in and preserve it.
Stinging nettles are very nutritious. They’re high in many vitamins and minerals, but are particularly high in iron, potassium, vitamins A and C, manganese, and calcium. They are fortifying and strengthening, often used as an all-around tonic. They’re helpful for kidney, urinary, reproductive, and bone conditions (like osteoporosis.)
Wild Rose Petals are gently cooling and softening, plus add a subtle sweet flavor to the brew. They help to relax heat-related tension and irritability.
Wild Mallow is gently moistening. When eaten alone, the leaves are fairly mucilaginous and can be a bit slimy, like okra (though I personally like the texture, I know many do not.) When used in an infusion, they don’t add a noticeable texture change but provide soothing relief for dried out mucous membranes and the digestive system. They also help you stay hydrated.
Hibiscus flowers are gently cooling and moistening, making them extra delicious in a summer drink. (They also give everything they are added to a beautiful ruby-red color!) Hibiscus teas or lemonades are drank all throughout the tropics as a refreshing summer beverage.
Honey is a great carbohydrate energy source because it contains three different natural sugars - glucose, fructose, and maltose. Each of these different sugars is absorbed into the bloodstream at a slightly different rate, giving you sustained energy. It’s also immune-boosting and anti-bacterial, making it helpful for fighting off illness. Finally, it’s full of antioxidants.
Coconut water contains a variety of electrolytes including magnesium, sodium, and potassium. It’s actually pretty similar to the fluid used in IV’s, making it a fairly effective rehydration solution on its own. There are even rumors of it being used an IV electrolyte replacement during World War II when stores of saline bags ran short. (Though I do not recommend injecting it directly into your veins. Drinking it is just fine!)
Lemon juice contributes calcium, potassium, and other electrolytes. It’s also very thirst-quenching and delicious!
Sea salt contains 15% trace minerals to replace lost salts, while a tiny bit of baking soda replaces other electrolytes.
Ginger is flavorful and soothing. It’s often used for stomach upset and nausea. The stress of heat or exertion on the body can sometimes compromise digestive function; adding a little ginger ensures that things will keep running smoothly.
Replenishing Summer Punch:
This refreshing blend is thirst-quenching and fortifying, full of nutrition and electrolytes as well as a pleasant zesty flavor. This recipe makes a quart.
1/4 c. dried nettle
1/3 c. dried hibiscus flowers
1/4 c. wild rose petals, dried (or 1/2 c. fresh)
1/4 c. wild mallow, dried (or 1/2 c. fresh)
1 (3”) section fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1/3 c. dried sumac, or one ripe seedhead broken up into small chunks
2 c. boiling water
juice from 1 lemon
2 c. coconut water
1/4 tsp. Himalayan sea salt
pinch baking soda
1/8- 1/4 c. honey, to taste