One year, I remember being rather enthusiastic about a type of Indian tea a friend taught me how to make. I was so enthused, in fact, that I made up several jars of the mixture and gave it as gifts.
As I celebrate National Hot Tea Month, I reflect on the nurturing combination of spices in Masala tea. Here’s a simple recipe that makes for a calming ritual to promote health and well-being.
In a pot, simmer water with the following ingredients:
- Black tea (either loose or a bag)
- Ginger (fresh or powder)
- Cinnamon stick (or powder)
- A few cloves
- Raw honey
- Strain, if necessary
- Top it off with the milk of your choice
According to the Tea Association of the USA Inc., tea drinking is on the rise. In 2014, Americans consumed more than 80 billion servings of tea, which is actually more than 3.60 billion gallons. Of all the tea consumed, about 84% was Black Tea, 15% was Green Tea, and the remainder was a combination of Oolong, White and Dark Tea.
I was also interested to learn that the USA is the second largest importer of tea after Russia. Perhaps it’s so popular because it’s an all-natural and environmentally sound product from a renewable source. The tea plant is naturally resistant to most insects. The oxidation of the tealeaf is a natural process. It’s also great to know that many tea packers use recycled paper for packaging. Then, of course, there’s the aspect of health. Tea has no sodium, fat, carbonation or sugar, which makes it almost calorie-free.
Now that it’s winter, I’m also drinking less coffee because I prefer iced coffee. Hot drinks are much more appealing and do the necessary job of warming my bones.
Lately, I’ve taken up the Ayurvedic remedy for bloating and weight-loss that involves nothing more than a hot cup of water, five times a day. That’s a lot of hot liquid, which is why I allow myself only one cup of tea per day. Choosing just one tea, considering there are so many with health benefits, isn’t always easy.
Besides masala tea, here are some of my favorites:
- Chamomile tea – for relieving mild depression, stress and anxiety.
- Dandelion – for detoxification, high in vitamins A, C and D, with significant amounts of zinc, iron, magnesium and potassium. Good for liver detox, bloating and diabetes.
- Ginger – Helps fight cancer, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other digestion-related issues, protects against Alzheimer’s Disease, helps weight loss, relieves tired muscles, and helps manage glucose levels, among other things.
- Rooibos – Rich in minerals and antioxidants, it helps headaches, insomnia, asthma, eczema, bone weakness, hypertension, premature aging and allergies.
- Peppermint – As mint helps improve the flow of bile through the stomach, it speeds and eases digestion, as well as relieves pain and discomfort from gas and bloating.
- Kombucha – Aids in digestion and overall gut health because it’s naturally fermented. Also helps fight candida (harmful yeast), aids mental clarity and mood stability.
- Matcha – As a strong antioxidant, it helps fight cancer and can fight against the negative effects of UV radiation. Also calms, boosts memory and concentration and increases energy and endurance, among other things.