Rooibos Masala Chai

As I sit here writing this, sipping my tea, it is a grey, rainy day in Barcelona. If there’s one natural remedy I swear by, then it would have to be fresh ginger. It keeps the winter bugs away, is great for digestion and adds a bit of internal heat to the body when the weather starts getting a bit more chilly. I love drinking spicy Indian masala chai, but as I’m not a coffee drinker, I’ve found that if I have it at night, I’m wide awake, because of the black tea that’s in there. As an alternative, I’ve started making my own South African inspired version of a masala tea, using fresh ginger and Rooibos tea. It’s super simple to make and really versatile as you can drink it on it’s own or add a bit of soya milk and honey, if you want something a bit more filling.

Simply grate some fresh organic ginger root into a medium pot of water, and then add two heaped teaspoons of loose Rooibos tea. The amount of ginger and Rooibos is up to you and will also depend on how big the pot is. I like mine really spicy, so I add a lot of ginger. If you only have Rooibos teabags, tear them open and pour the loose tea into the pot. Bring to a boil, strain and enjoy!

Ginger is thought to have originated in India. It is now of course used widely throughout the world, as an ingredient in both food and medicine. Listed below are just some of ginger’s amazing super-powers and benefits.

  1. improves digestion and promotes a healthy digestive tract
  2. helps minimise nausea
  3. improves circulation
  4. due to its anti-inflammatory properties it can help relieve painful arthritis
  5. a natural remedy for the prevention and treatment of colds, flu and allergies
  6. relieves heartburn
  7. pain relief in cases of migraines and menstrual cramps

Summer Hibiscus Tea

Although we have been having unusually cool weather for July in Barcelona, I predict that things will change next month and that the heat will be on. A great alternative to drinking water during the summer, is to chill your favourite tea or herbal infusion and drink that instead. One of my favourite herbal teas to drink cold is Hibiscus tea, which I first discovered through my dear Mexican friend, Chio. Bring a big pot of water to the boil. Turn off the heat and then add the Hibiscus petals to the water and leave to steep for 15 or 20 minutes. You don’t need a huge amount of petals, but the water should turn an amazing ruby-red colour. If you would like to sweeten it slightly, you can add honey or stevia at this point and then pour it into pitchers or bottles through a sieve. When it has cooled, store it inside the fridge and enjoy! It has a lovely fruity taste.

Aside from Mexico, it is also popular in many other countries around the world and has the following super-powers which people experience from drinking 1 – 3 cups daily:

  1. reduces high blood pressure
  2. lowers high cholesterol levels
  3. is rich in Vitamin C and helps to prevent and fight infections
  4. is a mild diuretic, which helps expel toxins from the body and decreases bloating
  5. has antioxidants which provide cardiovascular benefits
  6. helps with weight-loss by affecting the way the body absorbs carbohydrates and fats
  7. keeps the body’s bladder function healthy and prevents constipation
  8. helps alleviate mild depression

As always, there are side-effects, and people who suffer from high blood pressure, need to consult their doctor, before commencing with the tea as part of their treatment. Women who are pregnant, breast-feeding or on hormone replacement therapy should not drink Hibiscus tea, as it affects the hormone function of the body. Also be sure to drink the tea of the red Hibiscus flower, as there are many varieties and not all of them have been studied.