The origins of masala chai, or just “chai” for short, can be traced back some 5,000 years. Masala Chai can be literally translated as “mixed-spice tea”—therefore, saying “chai tea” is somewhat redundant. In the United States many coffee houses feature a version known as chai latte to indicate that milk is mixed in with the beverage. Traditional masala chai is often brewed directly in the milk.
Indian-inspired chai combines black tea, spices, such as black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom and other robust ingredients such as ginger. There are no set ingredients for masala chai, and many recipes are handed down from generation to generation. The savory ingredients not only give it a wonderful aromatic complexity but also make it the highly anti-inflammatory. Dr. Hébert himself enjoys at least one fresh cup a day.
What makes masala chai so good for you? Primarily, it is the benefit derived from the traditional ingredients, which, as mentioned, often include ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, and cardamom, among other things. Individually, each one of these is highly anti-inflammatory. Add them together, and you have the makings of an anti-inflammatory superfood!
One of the largest benefits to regularly drinking masala chai is that it can reduce or eliminate the need for many anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen. For anyone who suffers from arthritis or other types of joint pain, drinking masala chai on a regular basis can bring amazing results and comfort. It’s delicious, good for you, and a great way to help lower your overall DII!