….and why you should love it too.
This is and should be the subtitle of this post.
Now that we are all aware of my shamefully unabashed love for Chai tea, let me explain myself.
And yes, I know that justification and excuse making are sure signs of addiction, but before ya’ll sign me up for a 12 step program, just hear me out. 😉
There are health benefits of drinking Chai Tea.
It is not merely a delightfully yummy drink that warms up not only your body but also your soul in the wintertime…it also is GOOD. FOR. YOU.
Chai Tea is loaded with herbs and spices that benefit the body in many exciting ways. The tea is also loaded with antioxidants, and vitamins, depending upon whether you drink Black Tea, or Red Rooibos. Let me break it down for you.
Let’s start with the herbs and spices:
Cinnamon: Considered a medicinal herb and has been used as such since before biblical times. It has a warming and uplifting effect upon the body and spirit, supports and soothes digestion, is an expectorant (breaks up and rids body of mucus), encourages proper circulatory function within the body, has strong antioxidant properties, is an analgesic (pain reliever), diaphoretic (encourages proper perspiration, which we all know is good for us ;)), alterative, (“a drug used empirically to alter favorably the course of an ailment.” (as quoted by Miriam Webster online), carminative (as in, gets rid of gas, flatulence, and bloating…I know you love cinnamon already!), emmenagogue (supports menstruation). No worries guys, this is not adverse to your physiology. Other studies indicate that cinnamon may also help support healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and also promotes wound healing.
Wow! Cinnamon alone could convince you to add Chai Tea to your daily routine! But wait! There’s more…
Cardamom: Used widely in ayruvedic medicine since ancient times, science is catching up with ancient wisdom. There are many exciting health properties of cardamom, so let’s dive in!
Cardamom is uplifting and aids in battling depression and fighting off stress, helps relieve digestive problems such as; indigestion and upset stomach, constipation, gas, heartburn, and even dysentery. It also gently encourages a healthy appetite for those under stress and prone to loss of appetite. Cardamom is even in chewing gum, because it is so effective against halitosis, (bad breath), it is used widely in South East Asia to combat tooth and gum disease, and helps to heal a sore throat, and horse voice. Lab tests show that Cardamom is loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals to help the body to resist stress and aging and also to support the body in its healing process. Last but not least, one of the most exciting new scientific finds is that cardamom has strong anti-cancer properties. The studies show that it may be effective against hormone-responding cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer. Science is proving the ancient healing wisdom of this herb in its ability to not only fight these cancers, but also to prevent them.
Clove: The earliest written record of clove being used for medicinal purposes date to 300 B.C. It has been extensively used throughout history as a medicinal for many ailments. This made clove one of the most sought after spices in the ancient spice trade. Clove is known as an anti-inflammatory (used to relieve inflammation within the body), antimicrobial (killing bacteria and parasites within the digestive system), antifungal (rids body of fungal growth and infection), strong antiviral (a main ingredient of “Marseilles Vinegar” or “Four Thieves Vinegar” during the Black Plague- kills viral infections), analgesic/anesthetic (pain reliever-pain killer, provides topical relief from pain, historically used in the dental industry) anticoagulant (keeps blood from clotting), antioxidant (helps to support liver and organs at removing free-radicals from the body), anticonvulsant (clove is a mild sedative and can help to relax and smooth muscles within the body), it also has wonderful properties to support proper digestion. Clove can aid in relieving an upset stomach, and help relieve gas and bloating. It is also an expectorant (works to expel mucous- so great to use for an upper respiratory infection, colds, and flu). Scientific studies are showing that clove has strong anti-cancerous properties as a strong presence of phytochemicals work as a chemopreventive used in treating and preventing lung cancer. Read more about this in the Oxford Journals here. Another exciting medicinal use for clove is in treating diabetes. It is found that clove may mimic insulin to help control blood sugar levels.
Chicory: Native Americans have long since known the plethora of health benefits in chicory. Ancient Egyptians used it, as well as Europeans throughout history. It has the highest content of inulin of all plants and herbs. Inulin is a soluble fiber that helps to regulate the digestive system. It fights against acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion by reducing the acidity within the body. Inulin is a strong probiotic helping to maintain essential balance of good bacteria in the intestines. Inulin is not digestible so it helps to maintain healthy glucose levels within the body. Think of inulin like this- it is a cleaner, sweeper- it moves through your digestive system mopping up the toxins and yuck carrying them along to gently remove them from your body. While this cleaning action is taking place the good bacteria benefit and grow as the inulin feeds them. Its a win-win situation! Chicory is also high in vitamin and mineral content, making it a wonderful addition to your diet. It is also a strong anti-inflammatory, being used in treatment of osteoarthritis and other inflammatory ailments. Showing great promise in reducing pain and stiffness in joints. Heart disease is another of Chicory’s foes. Chicory is high in plant phenols and antioxidants helping to support the cardiovascular system and maintain health. the inulin also plays an important role in cardiovascular health by helping the body to maintain and remove bad cholesterol (LDL). This allows the body to maintain healthy blood pressure and also healthy arteries. It is also an antitumor (fights against forming and growth of tumors within the body). With chicory’s high level of antioxidants and nutrients it guards the body against cancer. It also boosts the immune system, supports liver and kidney function, encourages relaxation, and fights against stress and anxiety.
Ginger Root: Traditional wisdom and medicine tells the story of a potent healing herb that has been used throughout the ages in Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine. Ginger root is a digestive aid, supporting proper function of the digestive system, giving relief from nausea, motion sickness, indigestion, colic, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and many other digestive maladies. It has a warming effect on the body, supporting proper circulation among blood vessels and may cause a warming sensation throughout your body. Traditionally it is used to treat ailments caused by cold ad damp conditions. Ginger is the go-to remedy for anything that ends in– ‘itis’, arthritis, tendonitis, bronchitis, the list goes on… It has strong anti-inflammatory properties proving over the ages its effectiveness to treat inflammation within the body. It is also used in treating cancer because of its high levels of antioxidants, and the effect it has shown in some studies to halt the growth of cancer cells. Studies are promising and more research is planned to explore ginger root’s effectiveness to fight cancer. It also has expectorant qualities and helps to break up and dispel mucus. It is an anticoagulant helping to keep things from sticking together, it is this action along with gingers positive effect on the circulatory system that may help keep cholesterol levels in check, as well as blood pressure. Ginger is also an anesthetic, helping to relieve pain. Many cultures use it to relieve headaches. Ginger also helps to remove toxins from the body, has antiseptic and antiviral qualities and is quite effective in treating colds and flu.
Black Pepper: Egyptians, ancient monks, and tribes all valued black pepper as a medicinal herb. It was and still is one of our most highly utilized and valued spices on the market. Most people use pepper on a daily basis so let’s learn a little more about it! Black pepper is stimulating and energizing. It is good for facilitating proper digestion, aids in the prevention of intestinal gas, and also in relieving the intestinal system from gas by encouraging it to move downward through the body in a healthy motion rather than pressing upward on organs and chest cavity. Black pepper is warming and encourages circulation, and perspiration allowing the body to rid itself of toxins. It is also high in fiber, assists in breaking down fat cells to help the body lose weight naturally. Black pepper is a rich source for vitamins and minerals, including iron, manganese, potassium, vitamin c, and vitamin k. It is also an anti inflammatory, has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, is an expectorant, helping to treat and prevent the common cold, flu, heart disease and high cholesterol, respiratory infection, diarrhea, and dental disease. Black pepper’s effectiveness in treating Alzheimer’s is also being explored as it has a stimulating effect on neuropathways in the brain helping to reduce memory and cognitive impairment on those suffering from age-related dementia or other free-radical induced cognitive impairment. Black pepper is also a carrier herb. That means that it helps make other herbs more effective by supporting and carrying them where they are needed within the body.
OK, so I knew there were health benefits of my Chai Tea habit, but I really had no idea, the extent of it! It appears Chai may be quite the health tonic! It definitely gives the body a nutritional boost, and also plenty of herbal support to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I have listed just a brief overview of these herbs in this post, I am leaving you with a list of resources and encourage you to research further if you are intrigued by any one, or all of these herbs. There is some exciting and surprising information and more studies being done on the healing properties of herbs. Science has begun expressing the ancient healing wisdom of herbal remedies. It is an exciting and empowering time to be confident in claiming back our health and wellbeing.
Essential Oils Desk Reference, Third Edition, Young Living Oils
Ten Essential Herbs, Lalitha Thomas