Herbal ice cubes are great. They’re not only easy to make but they contain added nutrients that your drink otherwise would not have. They also taste great and make a refreshing way to dress up water or a drink, especially on a hot summer’s day. You can use any herbs you like the flavor of but for this recipe I used mint, basil, and rosemary. I like the flavor of these herbs in drinks and the nutrients they offer.
Medicinal Benefits of These Herbal Ice Cubes
Let’s look at each of the herbs in detail and what medicinal properties they hold and also their history. They date back thousands of years in some cultures and ancient medical practices.
The Health Benefits of Mint
Mint has been used in medicine for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks believed it would make them stronger by rubbing mint leaves on their arms. Mint also featured in ancient Chinese medicine as they believed it improved liver function.
Today, mint is enjoyed all over the world and it has many beneficial nutritional properties. It is high in antioxidants which help protect against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. It is also high in Vitamin A which is good for eye health, particularly night vision. As well as these, it contains fiber, iron, folate, and manganese.
Mint is known for being effective in improving irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. The menthol it contains has a relaxing effect and soothes inflammatory pain. It also eases digestion and helps speed up the process by encouraging bile flow.
As an anti-inflammatory, it can be used in the treatment of asthma and the common cold to relieve symptoms and provide a soothing effect. It is known to clear congestion in the lungs, nose, bronchi, and throat. In regards to colds, mint is effective at relieving the irritation that is caused by coughing too.
It is also an adaptogen, which helps balance the body. Even the aroma of mint is powerful and can help with stress and depression. Studies have found that breathing in the aroma of mint instantly calms the mind.
The Health Benefits of Basil
Basil is one of the oldest herbs as it has been used for 4,000 years. The basil plant is native to tropical regions from southeast Asia to central Africa. Historically, basil was used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine practices.
The eugenol found in basil has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This can help in a number of illnesses and issues such as digestion, headaches, and insomnia. The anti-inflammatory properties can also lower the risk of heart disease, arthritis, and inflammatory bowel conditions.
It also has flavonoids that boost the immune system. These help with aging by slowing down the effects. Flavonoids activate key enzymes which protect neuronal cells and fight tissue damage and oxidative stress.
Basil is also useful for managing diabetes as it has a very low glycemic load. Taking basil helps the body to release sugar slowly into the blood, which is important for people with diabetes.
The Health Benefits of Rosemary
Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean. It has been used by humans for even longer than basil starting somewhat 5,000 years ago. It started being used as a medicinal herb around 500 BC by the Greeks and Romans. Today, it is commonly used in Europe to treat indigestion. It also has many other health properties that can fight diseases.
Rosemary is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, supporting the immune system and improving blood circulation. It also helps fight free radicals which can cause damage to cells and lead to the development of cancer. Free radicals also play a negative role in degenerative diseases like atherosclerosis, inflammatory joint disease, degenerative eye disease, and senile dementia.
It also has compounds that can help with the mind and brain, particularly mood and memory. That’s partly because it can lower anxiety levels and improve sleep quality. Even the aroma of rosemary has beneficial effects which stimulate concentration, mood, and performance. It could also improve mood because it promotes a healthy gut and reduces inflammation in the hippocampus part of the brain (associated with emotion and memory).
On top of this, rosemary also contains many vitamins. It is a very rich source of many B-complex vitamins including folic acid, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid, and pyridoxine. It also has large amounts of vitamin A (just a few leaves a day would give you enough vitamin A). Its fresh leaves are also high in vitamin C, which is essential for so many vital processes in our bodies.
How to Make These Herbal Ice Cubes
You can prepare these herbal ice cubes in five minutes and then they will take a few hours to set, depending on how cold your freezer is and how big your ice cube tray blocks are.
- Mint leaves
- Basil leaves
- Rosemary leaves
- Purified water
- Ice cube tray
- Wash your herbs under running water to get any grit and dirt off them.
- Cut the ends off the rosemary leaves and cut them in half if they’re too long to fit in your ice cube tray. If your basil and mint leaves are too big cut them to size too. Don’t cut them fine because they will float to the top.
- Fill your ice cube tray approximately one-third of the way with water.
- Take your herbs and place them in each of the blocks
- Pour more water into each of the blocks, then push down gently on the herbs if they are protruding to cover them as best as you can.
- Place your ice cube tray in the freezer and wait until they are set (usually 3-4 hours).
- Take your ice cube tray out and pop out your ice cubes when you’re ready to use them.
You can enjoy these herbal ice cubes in water with or without gas. You can also use them to spice up a juice for a refreshing change or in any drink of your choosing.
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