“Let food be your medicine.” –Hippocrates
It’s peach season here in Washington State, which means you’ll often find me standing over the sink with a peach in hand and the juices dripping down my arms and off my elbows. Oh, the sweet taste of summer!
Peaches, like most foods, can be an important part of our medicine chest. These fruits have energetic properties that can be used therapeutically. Traditional practices of herbal medicine always used energetics to better understand how to use herbs as well as food.
So, before we get to the peach smoothie recipe, let’s take about energetics…
Energetics? What does that mean?
Imagine that you are eating a really ripe peach. What sensations do you experience? Dryness? Warmth? Moistness? Coolness? Do you taste bitterness? Sweetness? Sourness? Spiciness?
These answers give us insight into how peach can be used to help us when we are not well and to restore balance to our body.
Now imagine you have a bad sunburn. How does it feel? Cool? Moist? Hot? Dry?
What do you imagine would make it feel better? Something that is hot and dry? Or something that is cooling and moistening?
These are the simple energetic principles that can be applied to herbal remedies whether for acute or chronic conditions. This fall, LearningHerbs will have a special program teaching about energetics in depth.
So, back to peaches and the peach smoothie recipe.
You’ll probably agree that when you eat a peach, you experience moistness and coolness. We can then think of times when we experience relief by applying something moist and cool. Sunburns come to my mind, as well as inflamed mucous membranes, such as in the throat or inflamed intestines due to prolonged constipation.
Voilà! We are now using our food as medicine!
But the benefits of peach don’t just stop there. In herbalism, almost the entire peach tree can be used in a variety of ways.
I first learned about using peach from New Mexican herbalist Kiva Rose.
Peach is a traditional Appalachian and Southwestern remedy that has been gaining well-deserved attention from the herbal community in the last several years. This aromatic herb is both tasty and effective, and its calming and cooling properties give it a wide range of applicability. It has the ability to calm anxiety, heal wounds, soothe nausea and even moderate histamine reactions. The leaves, bark, flowers and even the fruit pits of this well known tree provide us an with an amazing array of healing actions that culminate in peach being one of North America’s most important plant medicines.
My favorite way to use peach as medicine is to tincture the peach twigs in brandy. This cooling and moistening remedy is perfect for hot, red inflamed problems. I use this extensively for insect bites, both internally and externally. I’ve seen it taking the swelling out of bee stings in minutes. Peach twig tincture is also a relaxing nervine that can be mildly calming as well.
Peach leaves can be dried and then used in a tea.
Peach pits are used in Chinese medicine for strengthening qi and moving blood. It is commonly used for fibroids. There are some cautions to using peach pits, so it’s best to consult a trained herbalist before trying this on your own.
Peaches are also a great remedy for the heat of summer to help our bodies cool down. If you had more peaches than you knew what to do with, you could use them externally as a facial. Simply mash up the peach fruit, spread on the face, let dry, and then rinse.
If you’re like me and you love the taste of peaches, then you’ll enjoy this cooling summer smoothie.
Peach Smoothie Recipe
What you’ll need…
- 4 large peaches, pits removed
- 1 can coconut milk (organic and full fat is best)
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- Pinch cinnamon
- Sprig of mint or parsley
Add the peaches, coconut milk and ginger to a blender.
Blend well. If you want the mixture to be colder, you can also add a few ice cubes.
Serve the peach smoothie with a pinch of cinnamon and a sprig of mint or parsley.