Chai and Chai Tea: Benefits, Side Effects, Recipes and Facts

"Chai" is the word for tea in many parts of the world. In India "chai" simply means tea. But in the West it refers specifically to spiced Indian-style tea - that is, tea with traditional Indian spices and milk. It is generally made up of:

• rich black tea

• heavy milk

• a combination of various spices

• a sweetener

The tea is made by boiling tea leaves with milk, sugar, and spices. This is also referred to as "Masala Chai Tea", which is more popular in India than coffee. It is a centuries-old beverage which has played an important role in many cultures. This tea has been delighting people around the world for more than 5,000 years.

The popularity of chai tea is spreading rapidly to the rest of the world, and has taken on some changes. In America, a sweeter, creamier variation known as a "Chai Latte" is often served as chai. Many industry analysts are predicting that chai will eventually become as popular and common as coffee lattes and cappuccinos.

Chai Tea Facts

Chai or Masala Chai, an aromatic spiced tea, has been the Indian drink of choice for hundreds of years. It is the perfect blend of freshly ground spices (chai masala) like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and pepper, added to a boiling pot of loose leaf tea and milk to make a delicious, satisfying and healthy beverage.

It is an aromatic deliciously spiced milky beverage that Tea lovers everywhere enjoy. Whether in coffeeshops relaxing with friends or at home in your own kitchen or even at a resturaunt with family, Masala Chai Tea is a relaxing drink. Known for its spices added to the tea as well as the tea itself, Chai tea has been known as a stress relaxant as well as having anti-oxident qualities.

Today most of the population drink Chai Tea because of its taste. But some enjoy it for its known to have been used in the Eastern World in medicines. It is often said that Chia Tea drinkers relatively have better health and over all happier.

The spices used vary from region to region and among households in India. The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Indian chai produces a warming, soothing effect, acts as a natural digestive aid and gives one a wonderful sense of well being. It's difficult to resist a second cup.

According to Ayurvedic (Ancient Indian) philosophy and medicine, these spices are considered to be "sattvic," or calming, vitalizing and mentally clarifying - The perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life! Consider these traditional uses:

  • Cinnamon

    Cinnamon is thought to increase circulation and open breathing, increase awareness and vitality, and reduce fatigue.

  • Cardamom

    A popular spice in both the Indian and Chinese preparations, cardamom is said to benefit the lungs, kidneys, and heart. It is also a mood elevator.

  • Clove

    Native to the spice islands of Indonesia, cloves have been used by the Chinese since 300 BC, and came to Europe in the 4th and 5th Centuries AD. Cloves have pain-relieving and antiseptic attributes. Like pepper and ginger, clove is also used to synergistically increase the potency of other herbal blends.

  • Black Pepper

    Widely used to support circulation and metabolism, black pepper can help to alleviate chronic coldness. (We can use more of that here, in the winter!) Attila the Hun demanded this spice as a ransom during the siege of Rome in 408 AD.

  • Nutmeg

    Nutmeg has been used for centuries to ease sciatica and promote the digestion of heavy foods. It was also used by ancient Arab physicians to treat kidney and lymph problems.

  • Chinese Star Anise

    Traditional Asian herbalists credit star anise with a variety of properties. It's used frequently as a cough remedy and to freshen the breath.

  • Ginger

    Long valued as a stimulant for the circulatory and the immune systems, ginger has been used to treat such disparate conditions as impotence and motion sickness.

  • Fennel

    An important medicinal plant in the royal herb gardens of medieval France and Germany, fennel is still widely used to treat both kidney and ocular problems, as well as laryngitis.

In addition, you would have to drink three cups of chai tea to achieve the same amount of caffeine you get in a single cup of coffee. And this ratio increases to 5:1 or 6:1 when you compare chai to strong coffee. By virtue of this fact alone, switching to chai will cut your caffeine intake dramatically, even if you have an extra cup. Finally we have an easy and enjoyable way to get off the stimulant/fatigue treadmill and enjoy something that is actually good for us!

Unlike coffee, chai has many inherently beneficial properties. The black tea in chai is rich in antioxidants and the spices in chai have been used for thousands of years to promote general health and well-being, as well as to treat various ailments.

A typical cup of chai tea prepared as directed contains approximately 40mg of caffeine (4 oz of black tea) compared to roughly 120mg in an average cup of coffee. However, the caffeine in tea seems to work differently due to the interaction with a component of tea known as tannin, which has a calming effect on the nervous system. This causes the caffeine to be absorbed much more slowly, avoiding the caffeine "shock" and inducing a calm, relaxed yet focused state characteristic of alpha brain wave patterns. Because chai doesn't have the caffeine "shock" of coffee, you can enjoy a few extra cups. Many people find they can even have it in the evening without disturbing sleep. (If you are highly sensitive to caffeine, however, try Chai tea that is naturally caffeine free.)

Chai Tea Benefits – Protecting your Health

In your cup of Chai tea lays a world of benefits. Each leaf and each spice that flows in your teapot gives you strength and energy to lead a healthier life.

Come with us and discover how the amazing benefits of Chai tea can change your life for the better!

  • Flu Relief

    Every time you feel those horrible symptoms of influenza knocking at your door, it's time to brew a cup of tea! The main base of chai tea is black tea. Therefore, it not only offers you the powerful benefits of black tea, but also a little extra help from those amazing spices!

    Along with black tea leaves potent antioxidants, ginger, for example, comes in great aid to ease sore throats and colds and it is also a great treatment of fever.

  • Improves Digestion

    If you suffer from digestion problems, this may very well be the tea for you!

    Chai tea is a great drink to help you dissolve excess stomach acidity, blending the amazing antioxidants present in black tea with a combination of spices that are just perfect for digestive distress. Cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and pepper offer you a special note in your tea, due to their characteristic flavour and they also promote a healthier digestion!

    How amazing is that? Would you have ever imagined that a single cup of tea could help you so much? It's definitely worth trying.

  • Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases

    Drinking tea is a great way to take care of your heart. The simple gesture of drinking a daily cup of tea can make a big difference.

    With each cup of tea, the high amounts of antioxidants, namely catechins and polyphenols, present in the black tea leaves, are able to lower blood pressure and reduce bad cholesterol, thus preventing the formation of blood clots.

    In addition, by drinking Chai tea, the crushed cloves may also help improve circulation. Once again spices and tea are the perfect combination to fight viruses and bacteria! Your heart will be beating strongly and you will feel healthier in no time!

  • Healthy Stimulant

    One of the benefits of chai tea is the ability to give you a boost in the morning. If you are one of those people who don't get very excited about getting up early to go to work, chai tea is a good choice for you!

    Being a black tea blend, it contains more caffeine than the other teas. However, caffeine in tea is much healthier than that in coffee. This makes chai tea a great coffee substitute as it gives you the energy you need to get through your day, feeling focused and relaxed at the same time! Plus the addition of honey, much healthier than sugar, also gives you extra fuel and even more health benefits.

  • Reduces the Risk of Cancer

    Tea has been known to reduce the growth of cancer cells and chai tea is no exception. Again the presence of antioxidants will fight the onset of free radicals, which are responsible for DNA damage and thus the growth of cancer cells.

Drinking chai tea will not only protect you and your loved ones! While protecting them from several ailments you will be entering a world of fantasy, ancient history and different fragrances.

Chai Tea Side Effects

The benefits of Chai tea are indeed many and you have much to gain by making it a part of your diet.

However, if you suffer from ulcers and heartburns you shouldn't drink it as it may worsen your condition. The milk used in this blend may cause more digestive distress than what you already feel, so make sure you are not lactose intolerant.

Moreover, if you are not tolerant to caffeine avoid drinking it at night as it may keep you awake. Have an herbal tea instead or try Chai Tea caffeine free! There are many spicy herbal teas that contain no caffeine at all.
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