We all know that tea is inherently healthy, full of antioxidants, minerals and enzymes. In our Monthly Tea Box, we like to highlight the health benefits of different teas and herbs. This month, we've taken it a step further and featured a functional wellness tea - a chai blended with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices.
Let's back up a bit... what's a functional tea? A functional tea is a blend of herbs and spices with or without the camellia sinensis (tea) plant, that has has been formulated in a specific way to help with a specific function of the body.
This summer, I fell in love with a functional chai as an iced latte. Aptly named "Anti-inflammatory Chai", I had to share it this with our monthly tea subscribers. Just the taste of it alone had me polishing off a whole bag in no time. It came with instructions to steep the tea for 15 minutes or more, to extract more of the health benefits. This is true for all teas (usually herbal) that you’re drinking therapeutically. Of course, with that long steep, you’re also extracting more of the amazing natural flavours of the herbs.
Why bother with anti-Inflammatory herbs? Many studies have shown that chronic inflammation can be the root cause of several diseases - cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and irritable bowel disease. It has also been shown that low levels of inflammation can increase longevity and cognitive function. In addition to adding anti-inflammatory herbs to your daily routine, choose anti-inflammatory foods or an anti-inflammatory diet (easily found through a quick google search) exercise regularly and spend less time sitting. Try to get up a move around every hour at a minimum.
We suggest using 1-2 tsp of the tea and steeping for 10-15 minutes. We love the idea of having this as an iced latte. Adding a fat like coconut oil or ghee can increase the anti-inflammatory benefits. To get extra health benefits, you can drink 2-6 cups of this tea a day for 3 weeks. It’s recommended with any herb or herbal remedy, to take a day off during the week and also to take a week break after every 3 weeks. So, enjoy this 6 days a week for 3 weeks, take a week break and repeat!
NIUKA Tea is the creator of this amazing blend. They are one of our featured tea blenders in our Curated Collection for the Monthly Tea Box. NIUKA founder, Alexander Friend, explains the flavour as nutty roast with floral sweetness and spice and a rich and malty base of organic Assam black tea.
The organic ingredients in this: Assam black tea, Roasted Dandelion root, Cardamom (hulled seeds), Eleuthero root, Licorice root, Wild Yam root, Roasted Oolong Twig, Cracked Black Pepper, Cinnamon bark, Ginger root, Meadowsweet blossom, Star Anise, Turmeric root (caffeinated)
Alexander shared with us the health benefits of the herbs in the Anti-inflammatory Chai and how it was formulated. This tea “is formulated to benefit the over all balance and healthy functioning of your body's vital systems including adrenal, sexual/reproductive, digestive, respiratory, circulatory, immune and cognitive. Anti-inflammatory Chai is full of powerful anti-inflammatory herbs; some famous as the Turmeric/Black pepper combination, as well as less well known power-house herbs like the adaptogenic Wild Yam root (Dioscorea villosa), whose combination with Licorice is touted by master herbalist David Hoffman as some of the strongest anti-inflammatory herbs out there. That same combination of Wild Yam and Licorice are also noted for their anti-spasmodic properties, aiding women's menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms.”
If you’re minimizing caffeine, but still want the same great benefits of this blend, we also featured the Anti-Inflammatory Chai without the black tea. This was in our Low-Caff Monthly Box.
Organic ingredients: Roasted Dandelion root, Cardamom (hulled seed), Eleuthero root, Licorice root, Wild Yam root, Roasted Camellia twig, Black Pepper (cracked), Cinnamon Bark, Ginger root, Meadowsweet blossom, Star Anise (powdered pod and seed), Turmeric (powdered). (trace caffeine)*
*the trace caffeine comes from the roasted oolong twigs in the formula. Grown at an elevation of 500 meters in the Nantou area mountains of Taiwan, this is some of the finest twig tea to be found in the world. Whereas leaf teas have about 60% of the caffeine content as coffee, twig teas have no more than 5 or 10%. (from Niuka’s website)
The flavour of the caffeine-free version is a bit different. It’s still rich and robust with the nutty roasted flavour. We found this version to be more spicy and more turmeric forward.
Based out of California’s Sierra foothills region, but inspired by global traditions, NIUKA Tea creates original tea formulas using organic and sustainably sourced ingredients, combining standout flavors with powerful health benefits. Their teas are designed to help regulate stress, detoxify the body and maintain that ever-shifting sweet spot of relaxed vitality and inspired focus.
NIUKA is dedicated to the craft and purveyance of adaptogenic tea formulas that help us reconnect to our bodies, to our minds, to our environment... and to each other.
They believe that tea is not only a healing medicine - it is a shared experience and solitary rite - a ceremony that encourages both community and self-reflection; acceptance and adaptation. It is the holistic combination of these experiences that NIUKA facilitates, through the offering of fine teas and special events.
NIUKA Tea founder Alexander Friend was raised with a love of the wilderness and deep value for holistic wellness. “Throughout childhood,” Friend remembers, “there were always candles, books, music and tea. My grandmother would blend spearmint with peppermint, or chamomile and fennel, when I was sick.”
“The flavors, effects and rituals of tea are as diverse as there are plants and human cultures on this planet. It’s so indelibly human; this ancient practice of infusing water with fruits of the earth.”
“Ultimately, I fell in love with the way tea provides a sense of place, where we can come to ourselves and our surroundings in a way that empowers us to settle, connect and just be real.”
“The most rewarding aspect of this career path,” Friend explains, “is the role we get to play in strengthening the social fabric, sharing cups of tea with thousands of people across the land. Elaborate ceremonies, casual get-togethers, on the go, in the workplace, or in the solitude of your own sanctuary - NIUKA tea adapts to your style, your flavor, your needs.”