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Spices and spiced tea concoctions for better digestion, absorption and a healthier gut

Updated: May 17, 2018


Brews made with aromatic super spices can perk up both body and spirits


For thousands of years, mind-body medicine has touted the science of food, revealing how herbs and spices can be carefully crafted to ease digestion and stabilize our overall physical health — as well as our emotional health, and consciousness.


Poor assimilation can affect the absorption of nutrients in our bodies and impact the metabolic process, building up toxins. Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center states, “Our gut plays a major role, not only in our gastrointestinal health, but in the health and well-being of the entire body.”


Sluggish digestion and poor gut health can wage dilemmas on sleep, energy levels, enthusiasm and our overall general health. Harvard Medical School publishes that, “The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut.” Whether it be clarity of thought, weight management, or emotional equanimity, our digestion and gut-health reign supreme.


How we eat, what we eat, and when we eat, are all important factors that affect our digestion. Fortunately, we can refer to ancient spice concoctions and recipes that support the absorption and assimilation of nutrients to assist healthy metabolism and optimal gut health.


Adding spices to your diet can relieve digestive disturbances, kindle your way back to better metabolism and boost a healthy gut instinct. Spices can be sautéed and added to your favorite cooked dishes, or included as a garnish for soups and raw meals. And one of the easiest ways to consume them, and one of the most delicious, is through natural tea concoctions.


Here are three tea recipes you can make to aid with digestion.


Cumin, Coriander and Fennel Tea

This Ayurvedic gentle tea enhances the digestive system, reduces bloating, and removes toxins from the gastrointestinal tract. Coriander aids in relieving abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea and constipation. Cumin eliminates natural toxins and promotes healthy absorption, and fennel reduces gas, inflammation and loss of appetite.


Boil 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds with 4 cups of water, strain, and enjoy. For best results, the seeds should be unroasted and whole. Fennel has been noted to increase the production of breastmilk and estrogenic activity. If you have any existing health conditions or are pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your doctor before taking fennel.


Chai

Fire-up your morning with an energizing, detoxifying and warming natural tea. A dash of cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and ginger can make a delectable chai that is a natural cleanser and mild laxative. Black pepper is considered a stimulant that can support digestion and has been used to increase absorption of nutrients. Cinnamon is a carminative that breaks down gas, relieves gastrointestinal discomfort, warms the intestines and calms the stomach. Ginger ignites the digestive fire and cardamom can help to reduce nausea, acidity and aid indigestion.


Crush 4 cardamom pods with a stick of cinnamon and a slice of ginger in a mortar, or blender. In a sauce pan, add the ingredients, plus 1/8 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper with 3 and a half cups of a milk of your choice. Bring to a boil, and then immediately take the heat down, steeping for about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of loose black tea and steep for 2 more minutes. Strain, stir and serve. Add honey to taste.


Star Anise

This licorice flavoured spice from China, is an incredible antioxidant, with anti-fungal properties to help alleviate candida and indigestion. Star anise tea is best taken after meals to ease bloating and relieve stomach discomfort.


Add 2 star anise seeds to each cup of water, boil and let steep for 15 minutes. Add honey to taste. For this tea, ensure that you are using Chinese Star Anise. There are other types of Anise from Japan and Europe that should not be used. Health Canada writes, “With respect to health products containing star anise, Health Canada is requesting evidence from the manufacturers of these products to show that the star anise ingredient is the correct variety (Chinese star anise) and that it does not pose a risk to health.” Always check the label to verify the origin of the Anise. If you are not sure of the origin, do not use.


Star Anise has estrogenic properties, so it is not recommended if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have ovarian cancer, breast cancer or uterine cancer. Please contact your doctor if you have a health condition before use.

©JAI YOGA & AYURVEDA 2018  

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