Chai comes from the Indian subcontinent where “chai” is simply the generic term for “tea” in Hindi. There is nothing basic, though, about chai.
Chai is a traditional Indian tea that has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine to cure many ailments and strengthen the immune system. The tea is rich in antioxidants, the spices may promote health and well being, and it is much lower in caffeine content than coffee. Chai is traditionally steeped in milk. In the US, chai latte is made by mixing chai tea with milk or a milk substitute. Most chai lattes include a sweetener to bring out the full flavor of the spices.
There are thousands of chai recipes– but the basic components of chai include black tea, cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom and black pepper.
While each of these ingredients has its own powerful health benefits, their synergy creates a potent tea that may help support digestion, prevent cancer, lower blood sugar and promote cardiovascular health.
Cinnamon is thought to increase circulation and open breathing, increase awareness and vitality, and reduce fatigue.
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.
Believed to invigorate and restore, helps generate heat in the body, useful during the cold/flu season. Cloves soothe toothaches, serve as a breath freshener, relieve nausea and can also be taken for gastric upsets.
Ginger is commonly used as a digestive aid and contains compounds that ease motion sickness and nausea. These healing qualities can be attributed to its high Vitamin C and antioxidant content. This root is also useful in fighting heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also excellent for improving sluggish circulation.
Many chai recipes also contain black pepper. Black pepper is beneficial for reducing the symptoms of a chronic common cold, especially in the winter months. Black pepper also promotes sweating, which can cool down your body and help breaks a fever. Pepper also arouses the taste buds, improves digestion and reduces gas.
The reason I celebrate Chai? It’s rich, warming, comforting & aromatic…all at the same time. At The Tea Smith, we have a number of different Chai blends, and we have gotten creative with fun variations from the basic drink. Warm up this winter with one of our Chai Latte Creations! Choose a tea, choose a milk, add some flavor!