By GMB doctor / health advisor Dr Sandy Krafchik.
Chai is a sweet, spicy, soothing tea known for its fragrant scent and immune boosting properties. According to Ayurveda and medicine, Chai spices are considered ‘Sattvic:’ calming, vitalizing and mentally clarifying - perfect for counteracting the stress of modern life.
Chai has been an integral part of Indian culture throughout history. It is renowned for its many health benefits imparted by the spices it contains. The spices found in Chai vary. The most commonly found spices are cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves. Other spices sometimes found in chai include black pepper, bay leaves, star anise, coriander seeds or turmeric. Chai tea is prepared by combining black tea with spices.
Common ingredients found in chai and their health benefits:
- relieves motion sickness
- relieves heartburn
- reduces pain and inflammation
- prevents colds and flu
- relieves migraines
- regulates blood sugar levels
- reduces LDL cholesterol levels
- contains natural anti-infectious compounds
- reduces pain linked with arthritis
- improves digestion
- reduces stomach cramps
- relieves gas
- cleanses the body
- improves circulation to the lungs/ may treat asthma and bronchitis
- stimulates appetite/ may relieve stomach acidity
Cloves – provides relief from the following conditions:
- food poisoning
- athlete’s foot
- skin disorders such as acne
- symptoms of flu, bronchitis, sinus conditions, coughs and asthma
- gum and tooth disorders
- improves digestion
- decreases intestinal gas
- prevents heartburn and constipation
- anti-bacterial agent
- rich in anti-oxidants/ contains high levels of vitamin A and C
- assists in controlling blood pressure and heart rate
- skin and hair health
- rich in anti-oxidants such as flavonoids, demonstrated to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol
- contains caffeine and the amino acid, L-Theanine, which increases mental focus and concentration
- oral health–polyphenols and tannin perform as antibiotics, preventing bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath
- rich in tannins, which fight viruses and influenza, dysentery and hepatitis
Chai tea is traditionally brewed with both warm water and milk (in contrast to regular tea which is brewed with only water). It is usually sweetened. Chai latte is a very popular drink. It is prepared by adding a shot of chai tea to steamed milk. Chai has recently become very popular in Australia. Often when people order a Chai tea or latte in a cafe they are being served a powder or syrup imitation of the real thing. These artificial versions taste very sweet and artificial. Always ask the barista how the chai tea or latte is prepared.
Higher Living Green Tea Chai is a great option of chai tea since it only contains 100% natural & certified organic ingredients. The company has been operating for 45 years and is very reputable. The tea is packed in fully recyclable cartons which ensures added freshness. The Higher Living green tea chai contains green tea leaves (56%) with cardamom (10%), cinnamon (20%), cloves (10%) and orange peel (4%).
Recipe for chai tea
- 21/2 cups of filtered water
- 8 slices of fresh ginger root finely diced
- 12 cloves
- 16 green cardamom pods, cracked
- 16 black peppercorns
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 black tea (tea bags or loose tea)
- ½ cup of milk of choice (optional)
- Add honey to taste (optional)
- In a saucepan bring the water to the boil.
- Add the spices.
- Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, add the teabags and let them steep in the liquid for 2 minutes.
- Add the milk and bring to the boil.
- Remove from heat immediately.
- Add a teaspoon of honey to the cup, strain out the spices and serve.
Chai is very versatile and can be used in many different recipes – both sweet and savoury.
Here are a few ideas of how to incorporate chai into everyday recipes:
Savoury muffins/muesli bars/roasted nuts/biscuits/popsicles
Chocolate mousse/rice pudding/apple crumble
Smoothie/turmeric chai latte/iced matcha chai latte/iced chai tea/apple chai hot toddy/authentic homemade chai
So, with the cooler winter weather upon us – it’s the perfect time to enjoy your chai however you choose to and get creative in the kitchen!
Higher Living Herbs. 2018. Higher Living Organic Official online Tea Shop – Higher Living Herbs . [ONLINE] Available at: https://shop.higherlivingherbs.com/. [Accessed 03 June 2018].
Mindbodygreen. 2018. Chai: Simple Ingredients, Major Benefits - mindbodygreen. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6127/Chai-Simple-Ingredients-Major-Benefits.html. [Accessed 03 June 2018].
Real Chai. 2018. What is Chai Tea | Real Chai. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.realchai.com.au/blogs/chai-blog/what-is-chai-tea. [Accessed 03 June 2018].