Chai Tea Health Benefits
Did you know that you would have to drink three cups of chai tea to achieve the same amount of caffeine you get in a single cup of coffee? That means switching to chai will cut your caffeine intake dramatically, even if you have an extra cup. Chai is an easy and enjoyable way to get off the stimulant/fatigue treadmill and enjoy something that is actually good for you!
Unlike coffee, chai has many inherently beneficial properties. The black tea in chai is rich in antioxidants and the spices in chai have been used for thousands of years to promote general health and well-being, as well as to treat various ailments.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, these spices are considered to be "sattvic," or calming, vitalizing and mentally clarifying - The perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life! Let’s take a look at these traditional uses:
Cinnamon is thought to increase circulation and open breathing, increase awareness and vitality, and reduce fatigue. It is also reputed to be an aphrodisiac! (We won't comment on this one.)
A popular spice in both the Indian and Chinese preparations, cardamom is said to benefit the lungs, kidneys, and heart. It is also a mood elevator.
Native to the spice islands of Indonesia, cloves have been used by the Chinese since 300 BC, and came to Europe in the 4th and 5th Centuries AD. Cloves have pain-relieving and antiseptic attributes. Like pepper and ginger, clove is also used to synergistically increase the potency of other herbal blends.
Widely used to support circulation and metabolism, black pepper can help to alleviate chronic coldness. (We can use more of that here, in the winter!) Attila the Hun demanded this spice as a ransom during the siege of Rome in 408 AD.
Nutmeg has been used for centuries to ease sciatica and promote the digestion of heavy foods. It was also used by ancient Arab physicians to treat kidney and lymph problems.
Chinese Star Anise
Traditional Asian herbalists credit star anise with a variety of properties. It's used frequently as a cough remedy and to freshen the breath.
Long valued as a stimulant for the circulatory and the immune systems, ginger has been used to treat a variety of conditions from impotence to motion sickness.
An important medicinal plant in the royal herb gardens of medieval France and Germany, fennel is still widely used to treat both kidney and eye problems, as well as laryngitis.
My Favorite Chai Recipe:
Boil 5 minutes, then steep 10 minutes:
- 1 Tablespoon fennel
- 1 anise star
- 6 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 12 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4" ginger root, sliced thin
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper corns
- 2 bay leaves
- 7 Cups water
Add, bring to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes:
- 2 Tablespoons Darjeeling tea
- 6 Tablespoons honey or brown sugar
- 1 Cup milk, this can be dairy (tastes yummy) or a nut milk.
Delicious and re-vitalizing! Yum!