Masala Chai is a wonderful spice milk tea from India that is being discovered by contemplative beverage drinkers around the world.
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. And this ratio increases to 5:1 or 6:1 when you compare chai to strong coffee. By virtue of this fact alone, switching to chai will cut your caffeine intake dramatically even if you have an extra cup. Finally we have an easy and enjoyable way to get off the stimulant/fatigue treadmill and enjoy something that is actually good for us!
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 philosophy and medicine, these spices are considered to be “sattvic,” or calming, vitalizing and mentally clarifying – The perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life! Consider these traditional uses:
Cinnamon 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.)
Cardamom 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.
Clove 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.
Black Pepper 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 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.
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.
Ginger Long valued as a stimulant for the circulatory and the immune systems, ginger has been used to treat such disparate conditions as impotence and motion sickness.
Fennel An important medicinal plant in the royal herb gardens of medieval France and Germany, fennel is still widely used to treat both kidney and ocular problems, as well as laryngitis.
Have you had your cup of chai tea today?