Here in Southern California, Chai Tea is really popular. It’s not a new drink, though, it goes back at least 5,000 years to the courts of Siam and India. One theory is that a king created it in his search for a healing tea. It has been used since in India’s medical tradition—Ayurveda.
Is it a healing tea? Possibly, but probably only if it is home made. The main ingredient is black tea.
Black tea is rich in antioxidants that has been found to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It seems that everyday, a new healing property is discovered about black tea, including heart health and cancer prevention.
The spices in Chai also have a long tradition for their health and healing properties:
Black pepper (piper nigrum) is noted for its anti-inflammatory actions, among other things. It is also high in minerals.
Cardamom is also full of anti-oxidants. It aids digestion, and can help expel excess mucus in the body. It is high in vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, which protects the heart and blood pressure.
Cinnamon is in many dental health products, including toothpaste and mouthwash, for its antibacterial properties. It has also been researched for a treatment for type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. It has also been shown to possibly prevent stomach ulcers. It has anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiparasitic properties. It is also effective in fighting yeast infections.
Ginger has been used for centuries as a health and healing food. It is an anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial food. It is traditionally used in the modern world to prevent or nausea and motion sickness. It has been found to be effective against diarrhea (E.coli), and to help with migraines. It is rich in vitamins B-6 and B-5. It is high in potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
Although you can buy Chai in a bag or box, or at a gourmet coffee house, it probably is made with flavorings rather than with the real ingredients. Making Chai isn’t difficult, and it keeps fairly well in the refrigerator. You can even freeze it into ice cubes.
Typically, in India, every family has their own Chai recipe. Although the basic ingredients are the same, the proportions vary a bit from recipe to recipe. Here is one that was given to me by Satya Khaur Khalsa, an American Sikh who was a fellow NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) student in the 1980’s.
I had always marvelled at Satha’s health, vitality, and stamina during the grueling NLP training days. The rest of us were flagging toward the end of the day, shoring up with coffee and sugar. She was fresh as a daisy. When I asked her for her secret, she gave me the recipe for Chai.
It worked! I was alert, full of energy, and feeling strong and healthy throughout the rest of the trainings. BTW, the NLP trainings in those days were four full days in a row, once a month for six months. No fast track for us. We really learned NLP!
Here is Satya’s recipe. Enjoy!
Satya’s Chai Tea
For each cup begin with 10 ounces of spring or filtered water.
Bring to a rapid boil and add for each cup:
3 whole cloves
4 whole green cardamom pods
4 whole black peppercorns
1 – 3 inch stick cinnamon
1 – 1 inch slice fresh ginger root
Let this simmer, covered for 15 to 20 minutes (longer for amounts of more than 4 cups). Then add for each cup 1/4 tsp black tea and 1/2 cup cold milk, almond milk, soy milk.
You can drink it hot or cold. I love it cold. Better than any Latte or fancy drink from STBK.
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