Chai tea is a combination of spices with tea and milk that makes a delicious, healthy beverage. According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, chai tea comes from Ayurvedic medicine and can be created with different recipes. All the recipes use health-promoting spices. Ayurvedic medicine, also called Ayurveda, works with each individual’s constitution; and, traditionally, chai tea recipes are tailored to the constitution of each individual.
Almost every chai recipe includes ginger, cinnamon, cloves and black, green or oolong tea. Other common chai tea ingredients are cardamom, black peppercorns and fennel. All of these are considered healthy ingredients in Ayurvedic medicine. Milk, which is almost always part of chai tea, enhances the taste and makes it a richer, more satisfying beverage, but it isn’t necessary for the health benefits. People with lactose intolerance can use soymilk or rice milk.
The antioxidant properties in tea are well known. Indiana University School of Medicine reports that the antioxidant effects of tea are not altered by caffeine or temperature. In an interview, Dr. James Klaunig, director of the Division of Toxicology and professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Indiana University School of Medicine, states supplements that contain tea are not as effective as tea consumed in a beverage. He goes on to say that it doesn’t matter whether your tea is caffeinated or decaffeinated. Whether you choose black, green or oolong tea for your chai, you’ll still benefit from a beverage rich in antioxidants.
Ayurveda asserts that poor digestion contributes to or causes many ailments. For that reason, strong digestion is vitally important. The Pacific College of Oriental medicine states that the basic spices in chai help stimulate, balance and support digestion. Cinnamon helps to calm the stomach and combat nausea and diarrhea. Ginger also soothes the stomach. Black pepper stimulates digestive fire as soon as it touches the taste buds. Cloves stimulate digestion. Fennel helps disperse flatulence.
With its powerful antioxidant properties, tea helps reduce inflammation. Chai tea’s anti-inflammatory star is ginger. Ayurveda frequently recommends ginger for inflammatory conditions like arthritis. In a paper published by the National Institutes of Health PubMed, Grzanna, Lindmark and Frondoza of RMG Biosciences state that recent research has proved the ancient belief that ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Chai tea provides a robust, satisfying beverage that can substitute for some of your daily coffee consumption. Caffeinated tea has less caffeine than coffee, and decaffeinated tea has almost none. Having chai instead of coffee provides health benefits and satisfies the taste buds.