Healthful Chai Tea

I have had so much green, leafy bounty from my garden that I am almost buried under salad. I’m not complaining, far from it. I merely state this as the catalyst that brought me to one of the local Asian markets to purchase rice noodles for Vietnamese rolls and salads to rotate in with our French salads, Greek salads, Italian salads, etc.

It just so happens that the noodle shelves share an aisle with tea. Since it’s an Asian market, many of the tins have little more than a sticker stating whether it’s oolong, Ceylon, China green, etc. I was maneuvering past a few other patrons when one lady stopped me to ask if I could tell if the tea she was holding was loose or bagged. Despite the fact I have only five or so kanji in my repertoire, I attempted to be as helpful as possible. We ended up standing there for a good 20 minutes discussing chai.

I have been experimenting with chai since this past winter, so I was able to share my experiences. Since I’m allergic to cinnamon, I have never been able to drink commercial chai. When a friend returned from visiting her son, she taught me how he made chai. I never knew it could be so fun and tasty. I shall post my favorite chai recipe at a later date. I’m still experimenting with proportions.

I digress.

This lovely lady was on a mission to make big jars of chai for her Mom who is battling cancer. Her goal was to supplant all those pre-packaged chai teas that contain ingredients her Mom could no longer have. Caffeine is off her Mom’s list, so I suggested she make an herbal chai using a base of mint leaves rather than buy a decaffeinated tea. Honestly, I don’t know if there is a way to be sure they ever remove ALL the caffeine, so I feel it’s best to just work with naturally caffeine-free ingredients. I further suggested she look into the healing properties of other herbs that could fight the cancer and/or ease the discomfort: ginger for nausea; ginseng for energy, chamomile for jitters; dried blueberries or goji berries for antioxidants, etc. Since she is going through chemotherapy, there is a great chance of nausea and upset stomach, and mint is great for soothing just those things, so I recommended that as her base herb. She also mentioned they wanted her Mom off sugar, so I thought stevia or licorice root would be a perfect replacement sweetener that could be steeped right in with the chai ingredients.

She also explained that the acid in coffee had been bothering her, lately, and she had decided to prepare a batch of caffeinated chai for herself. I told her that she could use any tea she desired and that I had been experimenting with green tea and mint as my base. I prefer green tea over black because the anti-oxidant rich phytochemicals that naturally occur in the leaves are kept in tact in green tea. Because black tea is cooked, these beneficial chemicals are converted into other compounds. Green tea is merely steamed and remains rich in anti-oxidants.

This conversation was a great reminder to me that the best, most healthy chai tea is one made yourself. You can customize the ingredients to your own benefit, it’s very economical, for I can make a huge batch of tea with affordable bulk herbs and spices, and you can control how sweet it is.

Do you make chai at home? Do you include items for their healing benefits or just for taste?

Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!

5 comments to Healthful Chai Tea

  • Kittekaat

    I am really interested in your green-tea, cinnamon-free chai recipe! Although I am not allergic, I can’t stand the taste of cinnamon and it’s the only thing keeping me away from steamy chai goodness!

  • Andi

    I can see you so easily in the store going over healing properties. Excellent!

    So, (nudge nudge) I’ve been experimenting with cold green tea. And so far, my results have been eh. Got any good suggestions/tips for cold-brewed green tea? And could distill the explanation down to bachelor living explanations? 😉

  • I am really interested in your green-tea, cinnamon-free chai recipe! Although I am not allergic, I can’t stand the taste of cinnamon and it’s the only thing keeping me away from steamy chai goodness!
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  • Thanks! I’ll post my recipe for green tea chai as soon as I write the proper proportions out in ink. I start with teaspoons and tablespoons and it quickly deteriorates into adding a pinch more of this and a dash of that until it tastes right. It ends up tasting great, yet I still don’t have a publishable recipe. I’m close, though.

  • Rich black teas are combined with cinnamon, Madagascar cloves, exotic spices, and creamy vanilla. Roxanne Herbal