In cafes throughout much of the world, “chai” has become synonymous with masala chai, a kind of sweet and spicy Indian tea often served in the form of a latte. Despite its dark past, masala (or “spice”) chai has become a symbol of hospitality, the perfect complement to a hearty chapati meal, the focal point of a much-needed break from a busy work day, and even a pick-me-up on a long train journey.
Chai has been consumed for centuries in India and Nepal to promote good health and mental well-being. And because it’s so damn delicious. However, as we learn more about this incredible blend of tea and aromatic spices, we also learn more about its specific health benefits. Chai comes in a variety of flavours, but it’s basically black tea with added spices. Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, and cardamom are among the most popular spices. After that, milk and a sweetener are frequently added. As a result, the benefits of chai are determined by the consistency of the blend and the types of spices used.
Cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices. It has been mentioned in the bible and at one point was considered more precious than gold. Cinnamon contains manganese, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, and zinc and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat colds, nausea, diarrhea and menstrual cramps. Evidence from modern studies suggests cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar and offset sugar cravings, making it a helpful aid for those with type 2 diabetes. Other studies also highlight its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties.