You will probably already be familiar with Chai. That deliciously sweet, spicy tea is pretty well the traditional drink of India, sold at Chai stalls and train stations all over the country. Rather fittingly, Chai came from very royal beginnings. It is said that the original Chai recipe was created by the reigning king of India over 5000 years ago as a healing Ayurvedic beverage.
Why is it healing? The use of spices as part of the daily diet is revered in Ayurveda given most spices enhance digestion, metabolism, help remove accumulated toxins, and prevent digestive disorders such as gas and bloating.
Chai is traditionally consumed with milk and sweetened with sugar or honey. As milk is considered to be a nourishing but heavier food to digest, one of the benefits of adding all these beautiful spices is to aid digestion and offset the mucus-forming effects of drinking dairy milk. If you are dairy-free you can also experiment with your favourite milk alternatives.
Masala is an Indian term meaning ‘mixture of spices’. Tulsi, black tea and a traditional mix of spices make a perfect exotic chai that stimulates your senses and soothes your soul. There is nothing better than a hot, sweet, milky Chai morning or afternoon!
As you will see, Chai is a whole lot more that just a delicious cuppa; it is a cup full of Ayurvedic wisdom! The properties of Chai ingredients are known to have many wonderful benefits for our health, and when consumed together in the one cup have a synergistic effect that confirms the whole is greater than the sum of the parts!
Here are six ways Tulsi Masala will truly spice up your life and top up your vitality tank!
- Improves digestion
From an Ayurvedic perspective, poor digestion is considered the root of most disease. There are so many spices known for their ability to stimulate and support digestion, and you will find them in this Chai blend. Some of the ways spices support digestion include: increasing metabolism, stimulating appetite, protecting and strengthening intestines and balancing gut flora.
- Fuels energy and boosts blood sugar
The combination of the famous Assam black tea with Tulsi, and even a teaspoon of honey or sugar, will keep you going all morning or afternoon! Assam tea is known for its solid caffeine content and for promoting mental alertness, while Tulsi is renowned for its adaptive properties that promote increased stamina, endurance and energy. Cinnamon is also known to balance blood sugar levels. Once you add your honey or sugar you are looking at an energy saviour!
- Helps remove toxins
Nobody enjoys the sluggish feeling that an accumulation of toxins can promote. One great way to help remove toxins is to use spices. There are so many spices that support the body’s natural detoxification process; Chai is a delicious way to increase your intake.
- A cup full of antioxidants = anti-aging!
I just love the idea of visualising antioxidants in action throughout my body, protecting my cells from the damage that can be caused by free radicals. Diet is a major source of antioxidants, and Chai is full of them. Spices and teas with antioxidant properties are known to help reduce premature aging and of course reduce the risk of conditions related to oxidative stress such as: anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Calms the mind
What I love about this chai is the ability for it to promote energy and calm, simultaneously. The wonderfully aromatic Tulsi, Nutmeg and Mace combine beautifully to relax the nervous system and promote clarity of mind – something I definitely don’t get from a coffee! Nutmeg and Mace are also known sleep aids.
- Promotes stress resilience
As Tulsi is the rather unique Number 1 ingredient, I just can’t complete this list without noting the remarkable benefits of this herb. As one of the most effective adaptogenic herbs known, Tulsi helps the body adapt more efficiently to stress. It acts to reduce the intensity and negative impact of all sorts of stress caused by mental tensions, emotional difficulties, poor lifestyle habits, disease and infection, pollution and other factors.
Spices are like loyal friends who work gently and cumulatively to rejuvenate your wellbeing, so making them a regular part of your diet is a great thing you can do for your health. They are also a delicious way to warm up from the inside out!
About the Author: Sarah Holloway is an ORGANIC INDIA team member with a keen interest in Ayurveda and a background in environmental resource management. She is a proud Aunty and lives near Byron Bay with her husband and beloved pooch.
Pole, S. (2013). Ayurvedic Medicine: The principles of traditional practice.