Masala tea, or masala chai, is a constant beverage for many people in India. They love its taste and aroma, and it’s also believed that a cup of masala tea can help prevent different kinds of illnesses and keep you healthy. Originating in India, this tea has gained popularity worldwide, and has become part of the menu of many coffee and tea houses. Masala chai is enough to soothe lovers of chai in the middle of a hectic day or the morning rush.
Masala tea is made of a mixture of several ingredients, including ginger, cardamom (elaichi), black pepper, clove, tulsi, and cinnamon. Any connoisseur has their own blend of ingredients for masala tea, which means that no two cups will ever be the same.
However, this tea has five basic components that are usually always present: black tea leaves, water, sugar, milk, ginger, and a mixture of cardamom and black pepper. This tea is spicy, tangy, and more herbal. The Western adaptation of this beverage is the chai latte, which has a sweeter and lighter taste than the Indian version.
Here are the health benefits of masala tea:
1. Improves digestion
Just like any warm drink, masala chai is great at regulating the digestive system and keeping the gut healthy. Food isn’t always digested easily, but masala tea can help prevent bloating and gassiness. The ingredients of masala tea, including tulsi, clove, and elaichi can help ease the digestive process. When you add ginger and black pepper to the mixture, the effects become more profound. These spices help produce digestive enzymes that act as catalysts to speed up the digestive processes, and break down proteins and fats. Therefore, it’s also a great tea to add for your weight loss diet.
2. Has anti-inflammatory properties
Most of the spices used in making masala chai have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger and clove are known to be effective painkillers, and they offer a positive impact on the body.
3. Boosts immunity
Masala tea is great for the immune system, thanks to clove and cinnamon. When used together, these two spices can enhance each other’s medicinal effects, creating a line of defense that prevents infections to pass through. The medicinal properties of this drink makes it a popular health beverage in India.
4. Prevents colds and nasal decongestion
The immunity boosting power of clove and ginger helps keep colds away, especially when it’s taken hot. One glass of masala tea will keep you from developing colds. But if you already have colds, one glass of masala tea can help you feel better sooner.
5. Has antioxidant properties
The main ingredient of masala tea is black tea, and it comes with powerful anti-oxidizing properties. The addition of clove and elaichi can help reduce bad cholesterol levels, and increase good cholesterol. The spices in masala tea also helps keep blood pressure and heart rate at proper levels.
6. Helps prevent cancer
The antioxidant properties of masala tea can help prevent cancer. Cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon all have cancer-preventing compounds, according to studies. Healthy diet is your best prevention against cancer, and masala tea can be included in it.
7. Increases energy levels
Black tea, the basic component of masala tea, contains caffeine that helps boost energy. While caffeine alone can have side effects on the body, the other ingredients of masala tea can help balance it out. The spices in the masala tea have energy-kicking effect, as the flavors itself boosts alertness and energy. This tea is a natural and healthy stimulant that you can take without worrying about taking in too much caffeine.
8. Reduces menstrual cramps and other body pains
A lesser-known benefit of masala tea is it can help alleviate menstrual cramps. The ingredients in masala tea like ginger and clove have pain-relieving benefits, and masala tea is known to have a calming effect on the muscles and nerves. It helps relieve pain by increasing blood circulation, delivering oxygen-rich blood cells to areas that are aching.
9. Helps prevent diabetes
Your body can be better equipped to handle sugars after taking in masala tea. The ingredients in this drink have properties that can help reduce blood sugar levels, thus reducing the risk of diabetes. It also helps increase the insulin sensitivity in the body.
10. Improves heart health
Studies have shown that cinnamon, a common ingredient in masala tea, helps reduce bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure, thus maintaining overall heart health. If you experience spikes in your blood pressure, masala tea can help calm it down and bring it down a notch. This tea can also help improve and regulate blood circulation in the body.
How to Prepare Masala Tea
Traditionally, masala tea is prepared as a decoction of cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, green cardamom pods, and black peppercorn mixed together with black tea leaves.
Its robust blend of spices and herbs emit a one-of-a-kind aroma that awakens the senses and a unique flavor that’s distinctively chai.
There is no perfect way to prepare masala chai – it all depends on the preference and taste of the drinker. You might like it mild and mellow, or you may want it strong and robust. You can prepare it with or without milk, or with additional mix of spices and other ingredients like star anise, chocolate, lemongrass, saffron, tamarind, vanilla, or white poppy seeds.
Since the traditional way to prepare masala tea can be time-consuming, it is now available in retail versions in the form of tea bags for infusion, instant powdered mixes, and concentrates. Here are some masala tea variants you can buy online:
- Tetley Tea Masala
- Tazo Organic Chai
- Oregon Chai Original Chai Tea Latte Powdered Mix
- Numi Organic Tea Golden Chai
- Wagh Bakri Instant Masala Chai Tea Unsweetened
- Nature’s Guru Instant Masala Spice Chai Tea Drink Mix
- Organic India Tulsi Red Chai Masala Herbal Tea
- Rishi Tea Masala Chai Herbal Tea
- Quik Tea All Natural Saffron Chai Latte Mix
- Chaayos Masala Tea