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The benefits of Chai tea have been known for quite a long time. The beginnings of chai tea can be found in the practices of Indian Ayurvedic medicine some 5,000 years ago. It belonged to a healing system that relied on spices, herbs and sweeteners to cure various ailments.
Chai tea is made from a base of either black, green or oolong tea, and then combined with such herbs as ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, black peppercorns and fennel. Milk may be added to this mix and serves to enhance the flavor. Honey is also often added to give the brew a sweet and pleasant taste.
The different spices in chai tea have been used in traditional Asian medicine for centuries. Both Ayurvedic and Chinese Traditional Medicine place a high value on spices in the treatment of a wide array of health conditions.
Chai tea has become popular of late as the proliferation of gourmet coffee and tea houses placed this beverage on the spotlight. In these places, chai tea can be consumed either hot or cold and are processed as lattes. However, these chai tea drinks may not be as beneficial as traditionally-prepared chai tea, as these drinks often contain lower amounts of the chai spices, and often have higher amounts of white sugar. The spices may also not be as potent because coffee shops tend to order chai mix in large batches rather mixing it fresh on a daily basis.
The health benefits of chai tea are the result of the individual benefits of its component herbs and spices. The following are the health benefits attributed to chai tea:
- May help ease sore throat.
- May help alleviate cough and cold symptoms.
- May help enhance the immune system.
- May help ease the digestive process.
- May help calm the system.
- May help fight bacterial infection.
- May help contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system.
- May help in the protection against cancer and other diseases associated with free radical damage.
- May help reduce body aches.
Some interesting Chai facts, did you know that:
- The black tea base of chai tea is typically of the Assam or Ceylon variety. Both of these varieties are grown in the South Asian region where a huge percentage of the world’s black tea supplies come from. Chai tea originated in India where the abundance of both black tea and culinary spices naturally resulted in the development of this gastronomic tea delight.
- Cinnamon is one of the ingredient spices in chai tea. This delightful spice has been found to help improve blood circulation as well as help in lowering bad cholesterol levels in the body. It is similarly used as an ingredient in pastries and candies.
- Cardamom is another spice that contributes to the richness of the flavor in chai tea. It comes from an evergreen plant mostly grown in India and Guatemala. It has a pungent and aromatic flavor that may help in the relief of certain digestive problems.
- Antioxidants in chai tea help fight the damages wrought by free radicals which are viewed as the source of many of today’s debilitating diseases. Did you know that aside from the catechins that are so abundant in tea, there are a lot of other types of antioxidants? Discover them all here.
- It can sometimes be made using oolong tea or green tea as its base. Both of these teas are believed to provide considerably higher levels of antioxidants than black tea due to the shorter oxidation process that these teas undergo. However, the practice of adding milk to chai tea is said to dilute the antioxidant benefits of the tea.
- It has a considerable content of Vitamin B1 or thiamine. Thiamine is a water-soluble vitamin that enables the body to use its carbohydrate intake for energy-use. It also helps enhance blood circulation. Discover the benefits of thiamine here.