Most of the herbs in our kitchen cabinets, such as basil, fennel, and ginger, not only taste delicious, they also promote healthy digestion in one form or another. I like to make up a powdered blend of digestive herbs that is basically a version of chai without the tea but with cacao. It not only improves digestion, helps balance sugar levels, improves circulation, and is anti-inflammatory, it also is anti-aging because it is chock full of antioxidants. Those are a lot of benefits for just a half teaspoon at a time, twice per day in smoothies and coffee! It could also be sprinkled on granola, added to oatmeal, fruit, or yogurt. You can add turmeric to this mix, or really any other powdered herb that you would like, and in fact all the ingredients are subject to personal tastes and can be reduced or eliminated if desired. As with all things herbal, this recipe is to be used as a rough guideline, not something that needs to be followed exactly, though you certainly can if you want to. The cacao has a bit of caffeine in it and is not a traditional component of chai, but I add it because I like the depth it gives the flavor profile, plus it is full of antioxidants. If you are mostly looking for an evening, after dinner tummy tonic, then leave the cacao out.
My blend is equal parts cinnamon, ginger, and cacao powder, then half the amount of cardamom, then about 1/2 again (1/4 cup) of ground cloves and nutmeg combined, with a few turns of a black pepper grinder added at the end.
So here’s an example mix:
1 cup cinnamon powder
1 cup ginger powder
1 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup cardamom powder
1/8 cup cloves powder
1/8 cup nutmeg powder
A bit of fresh ground black pepper to taste
I use it in morning smoothies and in my after lunch coffee. If my stomach needs a bit of digestive help after dinner, I tend to eat a small handful of fennel seeds and if that doesn’t help, drink an herbal infusion of whatever I have on hand that is caffeine free and has digestive benefits. Of course taking bitters 10-15 minutes before a meal helps start the digestive process off on the right track, and taking a probiotic can ease tummy woes as well. This blends smells amazing and is tasty enough for gift-giving. Please share with anyone who might need a little digestive support during the holidays.