Chai is a spiced tea from India that is both delicious and healing. Although it is traditionally made using black tea, it can be equally as tasty using a caffeine-free herbal tea base. Tulsi is an amazing option for this purpose, with its delightfully sweet and spicy flavor, its warming nature and its long list of health benefits.
This enticing chai recipe can be a wonderful herbal addition for your daily routine as tulsi, turmeric, ginger and black pepper are all effective for sparking the digestive fire, flushing away toxins, getting the blood flowing, calming a busy mind (aka Vata) and ridding excessive Kapha (e.g. heaviness, congestion, lethargy, depression, dullness) from the system. These Ayurvedic staples are often used to prevent and alleviate allergies, reduce inflammation and increase the immune system as well. Due to the warming nature of this recipe, it is highly beneficial for both Vata and Kapha types alike; however, Pitta types may become a bit overheated with this recipe and they should follow the recommended Pitta variations listed below the recipe.
Health Benefits of Tulsi Turmeric Chai
- Increases the digestion and metabolism
- Promotes warmth in the system
- Increases healthy circulation
- Reduces inflammation
- Removes cough and congestion (a non-dairy milk should be used for this)
- Alleviate allergies (a non-dairy milk should be used for this)
- Boosts the immunity
- Opens the heart energy
- Reduces depression and lethargy
- Stimulates a foggy, dull mind
- Doshic effect: Vata ↓, Pitta ↑*, Kapha ↓*
- Serving: 4, 8 oz cups
- Time: about 15-20 minutes minutes
- Gluten Free, Vegetarian (can be made vegan)
*See the optional Pitta and Kapha variations listed below the recipe to make this recipe more suitable for these body types.
- Medium sauce pan
- Ginger grater (optional but recommended)
- Measuring cup and spoons
- 2 cups milk or milk substitute – see doshic variations below for the best milk options per dosha
- 3 cups filtered water
- 4 Tbsp tulsi leaf (buy organic tulsi in bulk here)
- 2” cube of freshly grated ginger, substitute with 1-2 tsp ginger powder if needed
- 1 tsp turmeric powder (or freshly grated turmeric root – best!)
- 3-4 cinnamon sticks
- 15-20 whole black peppercorns
- 1 tsp cardamom seeds
- 8-10 whole cloves
1. Heat the milk and water in a medium sauce pan until it reaches just below a boiling point.
2. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add in the tulsi leaf, grated ginger, turmeric, black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds and cloves. Stir well.
3. Cook covered on a low simmer for 15-20 minutes*, stirring every 5 minutes. Leave a small crack in the lid to allow a small amount of water to evaporate.
*A longer steep can be utilized if preferred, although more water should be added as needed. The final yield should be about 4, 8 oz cups.
4. After the desired steep time is complete, strain out the herbs and spices.
5. Pour the strained chai into separate mugs and allow the beverage to cool a bit. Once the tea is at a drinkable temperature (ideally under 108 degrees) add 1-2 tsp of honey to each mug.
6. Sip and enjoy this tea as a morning or mid-day pick-me-up, or as a soothing treat before bed (it is great for both!).
Optional Doshic Variations
This recipe is very beneficial for pacifying Vata dosha. The best milk options for Vata will be whole, organic cow milk or a homemade almond milk. If available the fresh ginger will be a better choice for Vata than the dry ginger.
Overall this recipe is considered heating due to the warming nature of most of the ingredients. However, the dairy will cool the recipe down and therefore if Pitta is in balance and it is not summertime, Pitta types should be able to enjoy this healing beverage without disruption. A few changes that should be made would be to reduce the cinnamon to 2 sticks and the black peppercorns to 10 (or use 15 Pippali fruits instead!). The fresh ginger should be favored over the dry and the honey can be replaced with maple syrup. The best milk options for Pitta will be whole, organic cow milk, a homemade almond milk or homemade coconut milk.
This recipe is overall Kapha reducing due to the warm, spicy nature of the beverage. However, cow dairy can increase Kapha and therefore it will be best to avoid using cow milk. Instead Kapha it is very important for Kapha to use goat’s milk, homemade almond milk, homemade hemp milk or a homemade pumpkin seed milk. If this is still too heavy or congestive for your Kapha, please replace one cup of the milk with one cup of water (one cup milk, four cups water total). Dry ginger will be more beneficial than the fresh (although both will be suitable) and all the spices can be increased as desired to make an even spicier, Kapha-reducing chai.