Spice of Life
Since time immemorial, spices have been used in a myriad of ways to add taste and flavour to food and beverages. Historically, spice played a large role in trade between nations, influencing trade routes and bringing people from foreign cultures together.
Spices are still bringing people together today, and increasingly so, over a steaming hot cup of Chai, or Spiced Tea. Chai is fast becoming a household word, with people everywhere enjoying the taste and health benefits of having a little spice in your life, every day. There are many combinations of spices used, from the many regions around the world where chai is traditionally used, from the Middle East to Madagascar, Africa to India…
Chai Tea produces thirteen beverages that contain the six exotic spices: cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, star anise and nutmeg. This traditional Indian Masala Chai is seductive, full of flavour and good for you too.
CINNAMON is an excellent remedy for indigestion, diarrhea, nausea and flatulence. It is a general stimulant warming the body and toning the nervous system. Cinnamon is particularly useful to quell morning sickness in early pregnancy and is also said to be effective in stopping bleeding from the uterus.
Cinnamon has two full pages in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia specifying that it be used as an infusion for: Flatulent dyspepsia, Anorexia, Intestinal colic, Infantile diarrhea, common cold, influenza.
GINGER is one of the best stimulants that we have in domestic medicine. It is safe to use, warming and comforting to the digestion, and helps a sluggish circulation.
Easing flatulence and preventing nausea, its antispasmodic qualities make it useful for treating colic, cramps and period pain. Hot ginger tea may be taken to relieve colds and flu and to cleanse the system by increasing perspiration.
STAR ANISE is so named from the stellate form of its fruit. It is often chewed in small quantities after each meal to promote digestion and sweeten the breath. The fruit is used in the East as a remedy for colic and rheumatism, and in China for seasoning dishes, especially sweets.
The Japanese plant the tree in their temples and on tombs; and use the pounded bark as incense.
CLOVES are the most stimulating of all the aromatic spices. They are cordial, warming and strengthening, soothing the nerves as well as stimulating them. They are also, like all spices, powerfully antiseptic.
Cloves may be used to allay nausea, vomiting and flatulence and to stimulate the digestive system. It is a powerful local antiseptic and mild anesthetic.
NUTMEG is a calmative helpful for vomiting, flatulence and to aid digestion. It can also be used for severe diarrhea. In small doses nutmeg is a tonic.
Nutmeg tea taken at night is a mild soporific, inducing sleep in the wakeful and was also given for a languid digestion.
CARDAMOM seeds were chewed by the ancient Egyptians to whiten their teeth.
An infusion of cardamom seeds drunk half an hour before meals stimulates the appetite and helps prevent flatulence.
YERBA MATÈ is a stimulating drink that eliminates fatigue, stimulating mental and physical activity. It has a beneficial effect on nerves and muscles; it also enhances intellectual work.
Researchers from the Pasteur Institute and the Paris scientific society concluded that Matè contains practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.
BLACK TEA is a mild stimulant, used for centuries. Tea supplies us with quercetin, an anti-oxidant that may lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.
GREEN TEA tastes delicious, acts as an antiviral agent, contains fluoride, is an anti-inflammatory, helping maintain a healthy, active metabolism and circulatory system. Green tea is steamed immediately after harvesting to stop the fermentation process, then rolled & dried, so it contains the largest quantity of the most effective antioxidants.
DANDELION is a very powerful diuretic, stimulating the kidney function. High in potassium, Dandelion makes an ideally balanced diuretic that may be used safely. As a cholagogue it may be used in inflammation and congestion of liver and gall bladder.
As a part of a wider treatment for muscular rheumatism it can be most effective.
Sources: I .British Herbal Pharmacopoeia 1983 by British Herbal Medicine Association. 2.Herbal Delights by Mrs C.F.Leyel, Fellow of the Royal Institute 3.The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman.