Miracle of herbal teas

By Devaki Parthasarthy

People always complain about bloated stomachs, restless sleep after a late night dinner served in catered parties, especially when rich Indian curries are served,   which are now plenty as one gets invited to all those weddings, anniversaries as life is abuzz with dinners, disco and drinks.

Every one comes dressed in dazzling saris, shalwar suits, shining with fresh make-up but as the night wears off heavy dose of catered food laced with drinks and a shake to our favorite disco music takes a toll on us all.

Soon as one reaches home it is a time of great discomfort which follows due to the excesses on our body as one looses sleep spending time tossing and turning in bed not being able to go to sleep.

We Indians are a great advocate of teas ”“ still we don’t take a look in our spice cupboard which can help give us easy relief is such situations.

Here are some recipes for herbal teas ”“ tea leaves mixed with right herbs, spices, flowers can help cure many ailments starting with upset bloated stomach, annoying seasonal cough, cold and sniffles. There are age old ways of having tea that only tastes good as well as helps heal some of the persistent modern day maladies. Only one has to reach the spice jars and believe in their healing, rejuvenating, detoxing and quick acting properties available to us in our homes.

After Dinner Tea

The philosophy is that all bitter herbs like mints, rocket, chickory, lettuce are eaten before meals to bring on the digestive juices and make us feel hungry. But after eating a hearty meal all those digestive juices must be stopped like turning a tap off which was turned on. For this our age old habit of eating cardamoms, aniseed which are considered astringent in action as they help stop the over production of these digestive juices as well as stomach acids when taken post meal.   So after a late night rich meal which causes over-acidity and over production of digestive juices due to the rich food at parties causing our digestive system to overproduce ,   astringent spices like cardamom, ajwain, aniseed help stop the overproduction and give a relief to our stomach.

An infusion of cardamom, aniseed and ajwain can help the bloated stomach tremendously and ease the discomfort felt after a heavy meal. This tea is a miracle but that does not give one a certificate to overeat or eat any junk one may like. Do take precaution and not overstuff the stomach with unnecessary rich foods.

Direction: Boil water add a pinch of ajwain, ani seed, cardamom and a pich of black salt. Leave for a minute or so and sip slowly before going to sleep.

Lemon Tea

Lemon is nature’s antiseptic. Lemon can have a cleansing effect to the body by removing toxins, aid in healthy digestion and is extremely beneficial for cold and flu cases and it also stimulates the immune system.

How to make: Boil one cup of water, add tea leaves (I heap teaspoon), strain, ass 2 tsp of honey and sip.

Tulsi (Indian holy basil) Tea

Tulsi or Holy Basil is mentioned in the Charak Samhita, the central teaching guide of ancient Ayurvedic medicine. Known for its strong aroma and astringent taste, tulsi is famous as an ”˜elxir of life’. Health benefits attributed to tulsi are many that include its stress-busting, cholesterol and blood pressure lowering properties. It also helps treat digestive and gastro-intestinal problems and aids the functioning of liver. As an antioxidant tulsi fights free radicals that wreak havoc in the cells. It is tried and tested recipe to soothe and comfort cold and fever. No wonder Indian women always prayed and looked after their tulsi plant daily in the middle of their courtyard.

Directions: Prepare an infusion using some fresh or dried leaves of tulsi, pinch of ground cloves, a dash of powdered cinnamon and a cup of boiling water.

Adrak (ginger tea)

Since olden times ginger is something we used to help settle upset stomachs. Chinese have relied on ginger as a medicine for over 2,500 years. Ginger relieves nausea, combats motion sickness, inflammation, helps digestive processes, limits flatulence and minimizes symptoms of common cold, allergies and other respiratory conditions.

Directions: To make a cup of tea use thin slices of ginger. Bring water to boil and add ginger. Simmer for 10 minutes and pour or strain and sip when warm. You can sweeten it with honey or jaggery and a slice of lemon.

Pudina (mint) tea

Mint is used popularly in traditional medicine to cure many diseases such as headache, digestive disorders and loss of hunger. One can relieve oneself from stomach ache by chewing mint leaves and flowers. Studies show that drinking 2 glasses of mint tea daily can help in decrease hair growth in women.

Directions: Take some fresh mint sprigs, a bag of green tea, sugar, jaggery or honey and hot water. Pour hot water in a tea kettle and add some mint leaves, a bag of green tea and honey. Let the mint infuse for a few minutes and the mint tea is ready to be sipped.

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