The quintessential masala chai, packed with spices and nutrients, used to be one of things to remedy a cold, or provide solace to a sick person. But now, India’s tea market is witnessing an increasing number and variety of immunity booster teas.
“Teas and herbs have always been widely used for several centuries owing to their natural immunity-building properties, but it is only after the pandemic struck that people started giving renewed importance to these,” says Nutritionist Diksha Sharma, adding that not just people but tea brands too have realised that adding superfoods to normal tea helps make it a healthy beverage which can help fight infection.
“The past couple of years have seen a massive shift to Immunity- Boosting Teas, more so in the post-Covid world. There have been tailwinds especially for high quality, natural, organic wellness teas,” says Bala Sarda, Founder & CEO, Vahdam India.
The brand has launched a range of immunity boosting, certified organic green teas and turmeric teas and lattes that blended the goodness of high-quality teas with pure and natural super foods such as turmeric, ashwagandha , moringa, giloy, etc., that have immense health benefits.
“Tea has been an integral part of our culture, and a favourite amongst millions of Indians,” says Karan Shah, Director, Society Tea, adding,
“Lately, due to the increased emphasis on the consumption of healthy and immunity boosting beverages, the brand launched Cleanse: Green Tea Detox Kahwa Premix.”
It contains turmeric, ginger, asafoetida, cardamom, black pepper, clove, cinnamon, green tea extract, and other ingredients, all of which are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.
“There is a change in the mind set which is causing a change on the product choices being made, and I am convinced it is going to outlast the pandemic and break long time purchase habits,” adds Sarda.
Another brand Teabox has created two new chai blends inspired by the age-old traditions of Ayurveda — Rajasik and Rasayana, which make these teas ‘nutritional blends’.
“Rajasik has the much needed pick-me-up quality to help with a lazy morning. The bonus is the shot of immunity it provides to keep you powered throughout the day with black pepper, ginger, tulsi, and clove. Rasayana is crafted for unwinding after a long day. The blend is exceedingly soothing and helps calm the nerves or any lingering anxiety or stress. The presence of cinnamon and Indian ginseng contributes to making your evening chai a cup of bliss,” informs Kausshal Dugarr, Founder and CEO, Teabox. Dietician Vidhi Chawla, Owner, Fisico Diet Clinic, says that in summers drinking immunity-boosting detoxifying iced teas is a good idea.
“You can make these on your own. Drinking these regularly boosts metabolism. These teas act as a diuretic, aid in weight loss, and support digestion,” observes Chawla, adding that Covid patients can also have these teas, but without the ice (at room temperature).
Regular drinking eases stomach bloating, headaches, fatigue and headaches. “People who have sleep issues due to stress and lockdown should have chamomile tea, lavender tea, peppermint or ashwagandha tea as these also aid in sleeping,” says Dietitian & Nutritionist Shweta Gupta, Founder, New Beginnings.
Five detox tea recipes by Vidhi Chawla
Pomegranate hibiscus iced tea
Take a pitcher, and add two hibiscus tea bags and two cups of hot water. Set it aside for five minutes. Remove the tea bags and add honey and half cup pomegranate juice. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
Turmeric basil detox iced tea
Place tea leaves, turmeric, and basil in a teapot and add boiled water to it. Keep it aside for five minutes. Season with lemon juice and honey to taste. Allow it to cool, and add ice cubes.
Honey lemon iced tea
In a saucepan, heat water and add ginger just before it begins to boil. When the water has reached a rolling boil, add tea leaves, lemon juice, and honey. Strain the water and set it aside to cool. Add a
few ice cubes before sipping it.
Orange and anise iced tea
Remove the peel from the orange and set it aside. Teabag, cinnamon, star anise, and orange peels can all be combined in a bottle. Pour in a little boiling water and steep. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for about an hour before removing the teabag and serving over ice. Pour in the orange juice and garnish with fresh mint.
Blueberry, lemon and ginger iced tea
Combine water, tea, blueberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, and ginger in a saucepan. Raise the temperature to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the blueberries are soft, smash them with a potato masher. Reduce to a low heat setting and cook for 30 minutes. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to combine all of the flavours. When the mixture has cooled, strain it into a pitcher and place it in the
refrigerator. Serve chilled with blueberries, orange slices, and mint as a garnish.