Chai, as it is popularly known in India is the flavored black tea sweetened with sugar and milk along with spices like cardamom and ginger. Though Chai is a lot more than a cup of hot beverage in India. For Indians it is a ritual, a trusted companion and stress reliever. We build relationships, get path breaking ideas and we get up from a stupor feeling stimulated energetic. It is a celebration of a bond that keeps Indians connected.
Chai was initially brought to India by the silk caravans that were travelling from China to Europe. Infact, Camellia sinesis (sources of the tea leaves) has its origin in the Indian subcontinent, but it was unrecognized till its value was understood. Till then it was generally used for its medicinal properties while cooking and gradually it underwent the transformation and “Chai” was born.
Chai has a host of health benefits wherein, it preserves our health and keeps the mind alert. It has immense contribution in improving digestion, in improving the immunity of the body, and it combats inflammations as well. Chai is also an extra ordinary source of anti-oxidants. Researches claim that chai has anti-bacterial and anti-cancer effects. A cup of chai could thus be termed as the “magic cup”, for its benefits are unprecedented.
There a lot of spices added to chai to make it more stimulating and to enhance the flavor. The spices that are generally added in the chai are ground ginger and green cardamom pods. Other spices that are added are cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, peppercorn, nutmeg, and cloves. These spices are very common in the northern part of the country. However, if you travel to the southern parts, you may find that cardamom and clove are the two basic spices that are added to the tea. An important aspect here would be the medicinal values of the major spices that are added to chai.
Cardamom - The green pods of cardamom are beneficial in counteracting a lot of ailments like bloating, gas, heartburn and loss of appetite.
Clove - It helps in curing issues like gas, diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach. As per research cinnamon helps to regulate type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin action.
Ginger – It helps in treating of nausea, especially morning sickness.
Fennel seeds – They work wonders in preventing dementia, glaucoma, heart disease, high blood pressure.
Food for Thought – Having a cup of tea is like investing in your health for a better tomorrow, especially when it helps in keeping a plethora of diseases at bay? Tea is addictive not only because of its refreshing qualities but also because of the immense health benefits that it offers.
A LOT CAN HAPPEN OVER A CUP OF TEA…….. So, let’s have some tea.