Green tea is not the only tea traditionally known for health-promoting properties. Chai tea can be added to that category as well. Here’s why.
Chai tea is a tasty blend of sweet and spicy that, unlike green tea, originated in India. This concoction of black tea and ground spices is served with milk and can be enjoyed sipped hot or cold. As one of the first things they learn to prepare in the kitchen, it is believed that 90 per cent of people in India enjoy a cup of chai tea every day.
It is not only the flavour of chai which makes this tea drink so popular. The Bondi Beach Tea Co. team have dug deep and sourced some interesting facts about chai tea. This article uncovers the history, health benefits, and how to best enjoy chai tea.
The history of chai tea
In India, where chia tea originated, the word chaiactually means tea.So, by referring to chia tea you are actually saying tea tea. A bit of an unnecessary double-up! Chai in India refers to all kinds of tea. The chai tea that westerners have come to love, is in fact traditionally called masala chai.
Masala is a combination of spices used in Indian cuisine, and when translated, masala chai means spiced tea. Nowadays, masala chai is most commonly referred to as just chai.
Legend has it that 5000 years ago in the courts of Siam and India, a king devised a recipe for a healthy drink. That drink was in fact chai. Since this time, chai has been linked with Ayurveda alternative medicine. This medicine has been used as a healing aid with a combination of massage, herbs, spices and yoga. Fast forward thousands of years and chai tea is now a massive part of Indian life.
Through sheer popularity, chai spread into South Asia and later into the western world.
Traditionally, chai was prepared by simmering or boiling a combination of buffalo milk and water. The black tea leaves and spices were wrapped in a cloth for ease of straining. The tea was then consumed once the mixture was steeped.
Chai spices give off a warming sensation. Although there is no oneblend for chai, the most common spices used are ginger root, green cardamom seed, cinnamon, star anise, clover and peppercorn. Fennel seed, lemongrass, liquorice root and nutmeg are also popular choices in some blends.
Chai tea spices and their benefits
Chai ingredients alone have their own beneficial properties, but when combined, they pack a real punch. According to Dr Draxe, chai has detoxification and cleansing properties and can help to rid the body of bad bacteria.
Here is some more about its impressive benefits.
Several of chai’s ingredients have been linked to an ability to eliminate pain associated with arthritis and other inflammatory ailments. Clove, ginger and cinnamon are three of those ingredients.
According to the Arthritis Foundation in the US, ginger has properties similar to those in ibuprofen as it suppresses inflammatory molecules. In a vitro study, a specialised ginger extract was found to release inflammatory reactions in rheumatoid arthritis, just as effective as steroids. 
Clove, coriander seed and black cumin oils have also been linked with reducing acute inflammation, according to research published in Pharmaceutical Biology. 
Cinnamon bark essential oil has anti-inflammatory potential with human skin cells. However, researchers note that further studies are required to clarify its clinical efficacy. 
A cup or two of tea each day might help to combat free radical damage due to its high content of polyphenols (antioxidants). Free radicals are linked with damage to cells in the body.
Chai tea is commonly consumed post-meal, and one of the reasons may be from the digestive properties of black pepper. Black pepper is said to support the pancreas to secrete digestive enzymes thus helping to speed up the time it takes to digest fat and protein.
Various studies also show that the right combination of spices, including black pepper, can offer support for the gut. 
Further to the above, according to Lean Healthy and Wise, the chai spices can improve oxygen uptake and actually breakdown fats. This in turn can improve metabolism and help you to feel fuller for longer, avoiding over-eating.
How to make a Chai Latte
As one of the popular ways to drink chai, following is a simple method for brewing a chai latte.
Simply mix the milk of your choice with water and bring it to a boil. Add your combination of black tea, a cinnamon stick, cloves, black peppercorn pods, a pinch of nutmeg and orange peel into a strainer and return to the boil. Once boiled, remove from heat and let it steep for a few minutes. Remove the strainer when done.
For added sweetness, you can add some honey if you need to.
Not only does it taste great, chai tea offers some impressive health and weight loss benefits. But, be warned – once you sip you might just fall in love with the intensely sweet and spicy flavour!
For a complete range of health-promoting herbal tea blends, check out our full range of Bondi Beach Tea Co. tea blends. From green tea to breakfast blends, sleep tea, complexion tea and all that in between, we have a tea blend perfect for every occasion. Our teas are all-natural and are made just the way nature intended. No nasty additives or laxatives.
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