What do tea and health have in common? Well, if there is one thing that binds Indians, it is a cup of tea. We love so many types but also use them for healthy outcomes.
They can be a cutting tea – so strong that only half a cup is enough. Such as masala tea that has a bit of spice, a bit of herbs and a lot of comfort or milk tea that is all milk and a lot of malai, or cream. Or they can be a more delicate tea, that is infused with the aromas of fruits, flowers, spices and chocolate.
As a true Indian, I slurp on 6-8 cups of tea every day. I decided I wanted to incorporate that into working on my New Year Health resolution of getting healthy, by growing some in my totally organic balcony garden. I want to share my top 5 homemade tea infusions, but first, here’s some interesting information on tea.
- Tea is said to have been accidentally discovered by Chinese Emperor Chen Nung, when a wild tea leaf fell into boiling water.
- Darjeeling tea, from the hills of India, is known as the champagne of teas for its rich aromas and sheer exclusivity of cultivation.
- In Kashmir, Sheer Chai is consumed. It is a salty chai made with some sodium bicarbonate and added cream.
- Hot tea is perfect for hot Indian weather as it reduces body temperature. It perfectly compliments Indian food and snacks like samosas, namkeens, mathis, and laddoos.
- Tepidophobia is the fear of a badly made tea. Both my mom and mother-in-law suffer from this anxiety.
- Tasseography is the art of fortune-telling by reading patterns in tea leaves and coffee.
Top 5 Homemade Tea Infusions:
Mint and Lemon Tea: This is a refreshing tea with the freshness of mint and tang of lemon. The menthol in mint has a cooling effect on the body and lemon rind adds a delicious fragrance and flavour. It aids digestion and is great for a good night sleep. It makes for the last cup of tea for me, mostly while I am sitting and writing a new blog post.
How to prepare: Add 6-8 freshly plucked mint leaves in a cup of boiling water. After a minute or so add grated lemon rind, without pith. Brew for another 1-2 minutes and pour a remedy of good digestive health.
Lemongrass and Ginger Tea: Lemongrass is one of our family favourite flavours. My twins love my clear lemongrass and chicken soup. I love to add lemongrass to water boil it with a few slices of ginger and I’m sipping on pure heaven. Ginger is good for digestion, accelerates metabolism and even reduces inflammation.
How to prepare: Use the lower, fresh, juicy part of lemongrass. Bring to boil, a cup of water in a saucepan. Add a tsp of sliced ginger and a few strips of lemongrass. Let these simmer together for 4-5 minutes. Add tea leaves or just enjoy the tea without it.
Cardamom and Black Pepper with Brown Sugar Tea: Black pepper is great to soothe an irritated throat and cardamom packs in a healthy flavour and smoothness. Brown sugar made with sugarcane is high on iron. Every mother should kickstart her day with this.
How to prepare: In a saucepan boil 2 pods of cardamom and a cup of water. Add 4-5 whole peppers or a pinch of pepper powder and let it stand for a minute. Pour it into your favourite cup and add brown sugar to taste.
Chrysanthemum Tea: The Chinese have been using this flower, its leaves, and even stems, for medicinal properties for years. It relaxes the nerves and reduces blood pressure. And after running around my twins all day, I totally deserve it.
How to prepare: Dry freshly plucked chrysanthemum flowers for a couple of days. To brew the perfect cup, add 1/4 tsp of black tea leaves to a cup of boiling water. Add 3-4 dried flowers and leave it to stand for 2-3 minutes. Enjoy a lightly flavoured cup of good health.
Saffron and Cinnamon Tea: The golden spice Saffron is a wonder. Add the woody cinnamon and you have a detoxifying concoction that soothes and rejuvenates the senses with its sweet taste.
How to prepare: Add 1-2 sticks of cinnamon to a cup of water and bring it to a boil. Add 2-3 strands of saffron and let it simmer for a minute. I enjoy this big, fat, Indian meals.
My twins also love to sip on simple spice homemade tea infusions every now and then. These include cinnamon water, cumin and fennel drink, or tulsi tea. So sometimes we bring our own special concoctions to the table and enjoy our board games together. What about you? What is your favorite tea or tea infusion? Have you made your own homemade tea infusions?
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