Masala chai, or as most of us know it, Chai Tea, is a drink made by boiling black tea in milk and water with a mixture of herbs and spices. Originating in India, the beverage has gained popularity, becoming a staple in coffee and tea houses all over the world.
Generally, chai tea contains ⅓ of the caffeine as a regular cup of coffee (or ⅙ of the caffeine of a strong cup). In addition, chai tea has proven health benefits that make this drink not only yummy, but also good for you!
Like many teas, chai is great for gut health. The spice in chai tea that is mainly responsible for digestive health benefits is ginger. Ginger is known for improving circulation and delivering oxygen to organs including those in the digestive system.
Ginger and cloves are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. These spices can help alleviate common aches and pains such as headaches and may even help people with more severe pain such as arthritis. Cloves are also used to treat tooth pain. Some people believe that clove gel can even be used as a topical anesthetic.
Cardamom has high doses of vitamin C and other nutrients that keep your immune system healthy
Studies have shown that cinnamon, one of the main ingredients in chai, may help to lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Black tea has also been shown to help lower blood cholesterol levels. While there are few studies on the direct links between chai tea and heart health, there is evidence that many chai ingredients may help build a healthy heart.
There are many variation of chai tea. Here is a simple recipe that can be made at home.
2 ½ c water
3 c milk
¼ c brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ – 1 tsp ground cardamom (this is a unique and strong spice so use as much or little as you like)
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp ginger
8 individual serving black tea bags
- In a large saucepan, bring water, milk, and spices to a gentle boil.
- Remove from heat, add tea bags, steep for 5 minutes.
- Remove tea bags.
- Pour through a fine strainer to remove any solids.
This tea can be served hot or cold. Store in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for up to 4 days.