With the chill of autumn and winter comes compromised immunity, digestion, energy, and mood. There are many simple shifts we can make to help our bodies adjust & thrive in the colder season:
cook food well, and eat it warm
add warming spices to food
avoid cold food and drinks, especially dairy
dress warmly, paying particular attention to feet, ankles, calves, abdomen, and neck
use dry body brushing, oil massage, or salt scrubs to stimulate circulation + move lymph
One of my favorite herbal preparations for this season is herbal chai. Chai tea stimulates and activates the digestion (think of all of the heavy, rich foods we eat in the fall and winter) while at the same time supporting the gut and eliminatory channels of the body. Chai also warms the body, making it a delicious and helpful potion to reach for throughout the fall and winter. There's wisdom in the old wives' tale "catch a chill and you'll catch a cold."
Making Your Own Herbal Chai Blend
Below, I've compiled my favorite herbs to use in chai formulations. Because the classic chai spices are so rich, aromatic, and tasty, they serve as a great base to 'sneak' other herbs into! I love making a chai specific for pain and inflammation, a chai to build immunity, a chai for menstrual cramps...
I always start with 1 part of each of the classic chai spices, and choose up to 5 other herbs to add in, also using 1 part for each herb.
roasted dandelion or chicory root
Herbs for Mental Clarity
Herbs for the Reproductive System
white peony root
Herbs for Pain & Inflammation
white willow bark
Adaptogenic Herbs to Help Stress Response
holy basil (tulsi)
lycii berry (goji)
Herbs for Immunity
How to Brew Chai Tea
your own custom chai blend
fine mesh strainer
optional: milk, to taste (cow's, goat, or nut/grain milk of choice)
optional: sweetener, to taste (favorites: honey, maple syrup, herbal syrup, or molasses)
Add 2 - 3 Tablespoons of your chai blend to a medium saucepan.
Optional (for blends with mostly classic chai herbs) - dry roast spices on medium heat until fragrant, stirring constantly
Add water and bring to a boil
Simmer for at least 20 minutes
Strain through a fine mesh strainer
Add milk, ghee/coconut oil and sweetener, to taste. Drink warm.
note: Lately, I've been preparing a bulk 'chai concentrate' for the week, for mornings when I'm feeling rushed. I use the same recipe, simmering the herbs for a bit longer, and strain & refrigerate before adding in the milk. In the morning, I'll warm up the concentrate before adding milk and sweetener. A chai concentrate will last at least a week in the fridge!
Happy chai brewing,
Dear reader: This blog is intended for sharing general health information that I feel confident and safe using in my home and everyday wellness routine. The information presented here is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any illnesses or diseases, and should not be used in place of medical advice. Please use caution, wisdom, and respect when adding anything new into your own wellness routines, and consult with your trusted medical practitioner - especially if you are taking pharmaceutical medications.