Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the United States after water. More than 80% of that is black tea and more than 40% of tea drinkers consume tea as an evening beverage. Chai is a very popular option in cafes across america for morning and evening beverages.A frequent conversation about the nutrition in America centers around the question of whether our favorite morning beverages are actually healthy for you. You will be surprised when you learn about these chai tea benefits!
Read below about the health benefits of making your own chai tea and find out how easy it is to make at home.
The first thing to keep in mind about chai is that it is full of powerful healing herbs. Many of the ingredients included in this recipe are classified as carminative herbs. The most common carminative spices are: anise, caraway, cinnamon bark, fennel, marjoram, peppermint, star anise, savory, mint & thyme.
Some of the healing properties of these types of herbs include: antiviral, antifungal, anticancer, antibacterial and antimicrobial. Additionally, they contain powerful phytonutrients that manage digestive health problems like: intestinal spasms, pain and flatulence. It can help to relax digestive muscles and sphincters, allowing them to function properly. This can be helpful in GERD or IBS when spastic sphincters can cause symptoms. The essential oil properties of these herbs inhibit the growth and fermentation of flatulent promoting bacteria.
In addition, it can be helpful in triggering digestive enzyme secretion, which is a common cause for those who experience digestive health problems. Many experience other benefits like blood sugar regulation, hormonal balancing (promote lactation for breast-feeding mothers, promote menstruation if irregular), detoxification and energy boosting.
As someone who has had irregular digestive and hormonal health most of my life, I remain symptom free most of the time by consuming a cup of chai several days out of the week. Chai is one meal prep item that I can make very easily while cooking one of my meals. I keep my ingredients together in my pantry. It takes 5 minutes of my time to actually make because all I need to do is wait for the water to boil, then when it is done steeping, all I need to do is strain the liquid.
One caveat to keep in mind with chai is that it is made with black tea, which is dehydrating. I typically will use a decaf vanilla bean black tea to save money on the cost of vanilla bean powder or pods. I would not recommend using vanilla extract because you do not want to introduce the alcohol into the mixture: this can ruin the flavor and you do not receive the anti-anxiety/anti-stress properties of the vanilla.
I will typically include additional herbs that are specific to my health needs. I pay particular attention to what kind of herbs I choose and when they needed to be added to the recipe. Read through the recipe and be sure to note the ingredients that are added after the heat is turned off. The reason for this is certain parts of plant material can be damaged and not yield their medicinal properties if they are brought up to a boil, rather than being added when the boiling water begins to cool.
Platel, K. and Srinivasan, K., (2004). Digestive stimulant action of spices: A myth or reality? Indian Journal of Medical Research. 119, 167-179.
Teuscher. E.(2006). Medicinal spices: a handbook of culinary herbs, spices, spice mixtures and their essential oils. Stuttgart: Medpharm
You will love the health benefits of this chai tea latte recipe! DIY homemade chai tea is easy, healthier than a cafe version and so delicious. Follow these instructions to make chai an easy homemade option!
- 1 quart water
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp whole all spice
- 1 inch chunk fresh ginger and/or turmeric
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 tsp whole cardamom pods
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp dandelion root
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder, 1 vanilla bean pod
- 2 black tea bags (decaf optional, use vanilla black tea if you do not have these vanilla options)
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 tsp cashew butter
- 10 oz water
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- pinch salt
In a small pot, add cinnamon, anise, black pepper, all spice, ginger, turmeric, cloves and cardamom to 1 quart of water.
Turn your stove to high heat and bring it to a full rolling boil uncovered. As soon as the boil begins to roll, turn the heat off, and immediately add fennel seeds, dandelion root, vanilla bean and tea bags.
Once the remaining ingredients are in, cover it completely and let it rest for at least 15 minutes, up to 10 minutes longer if you want the tea to be slightly stronger.
While the ingredients are steeping, add your cashews, maple syrup, cashew butter, water, and salt to a high powdered blender. Blend on high for 2 minutes or until it is a smooth, creamy consistency. No straining needed.
Serve hot or over ice. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.