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The Financial Express

Spicy cuppa that may keep you warm during winter


Photo courtesy: Radia Islam Photo courtesy: Radia Islam

Staying stuck at home for months amid the countrywide lockdown, many people, including those having a nine-to-five job schedule, have lost the rhythm of life, especially getting up early in the morning and taking a brisk walk.

Moreover, they are afraid to get up early and catch seasonal ailments during this winter. But a cup of tea every morning can make a difference, as studies show that tea has medicinal properties that work against winter ailments and boost one’s energy too.

While tea has its own properties that have made its drinking useful for us, spicing it up may provide an added attraction for anybody in terms of taste and health benefits.

For example, taking tea by mixing with it some spices helps one fight many diseases. One such spice is clove, which has antiseptic and antiviral properties. It contains a lot of antioxidants which play an important role in boosting the immune system.

The properties in clove help reduce sore throat, cold-cough, or headache. They also help in controlling the level of blood sugar in the body, according to a study published in the journal Natural Medicine.

The benefits of green tea are well known, but most people do not enjoy having it because of its taste.  In that case, if a cup of green tea is made by mixing with it a piece of crushed clove and a teaspoon of honey, it will get a nice aroma and taste. It is also very beneficial for health.

According to an article written by Dr Mawlana Lokman Hekim, president of Shahparan Sahitya Forum, ginger contains about 50 types of anti-oxidants. If taken with tea, it helps cure cold, cough and cold fever. It also relieves joint pain, arthritis pain, headache (migraine), and sore throat.

Ginger contains a chemical called Gingerol, which acts like aspirin to help prevent heart attacks, heart blocks, maintain a good mood, and reduce hypertension. To get medicinal benefits from ginger, at least 15 grams of raw ginger should be chewed daily. However, consuming one piece of ginger can be enjoyable everyday, if it is mixed with tea, the article adds.

The use of ginger in tea is quite ancient and well known. There is another ingredient, black cumin, which enhances the taste and aroma of tea. Black cumin has been popular for its medicinal properties since ancient times. 

Consuming black cumin oil and honey mixed in hot water increases one’s disease resistance. Black cumin also plays a key role in controlling blood pressure, relieving headaches, reducing weight, controlling diabetes, improving memory and controlling asthma problems.

Bay leaves are fragrant spices whose raw leaves are green and dried leaves are brown. Although used as a spice, it has medicinal properties too. Rich in Vitamin E and C, this spice contains folic acid and various minerals. In a study, it is found that consuming 1 to 3 grams of bay leaves for 30 consecutive days lowers blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

The ingredients in bay leaves control insulin levels at a significant rate. It’s effective in relieving any type of headache. Bay leaves contain phytonutrients, which relieve inflammation. Bay leaves contain an ingredient called Linalul that helps to reduce anxiety, stay calm, and relieve frustration. Tea, mixed with bay leaves, gives us a refreshing feeling.

Cinnamon, obtained from the inner bark of its tree, is popular as a spice in this sub-continent. It contains many surprising medicinal ingredients. It is pain-relieving. To reduce the pain of arthritis, taking a cup of tea mixed with two teaspoons of honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon powder every morning and evening for a week may show a significant result.

It helps a lot too, if one, while having cold and a sore throat, drinks milk a few times after a bit heat, mixing with it a teaspoon of honey and one-fourth of a teaspoon of cinnamon powder.

Vanilla cinnamon tea can also be part of a snack. To make it, boiling a few pieces of cinnamon, milk and tea together is the first step. After boiling it properly, one needs to add to it only a few drops of vanilla essence and sugar.  Entertaining guests with vanilla- and cinnamon-flavoured tea can be great this winter.

Stalls that sell spicy tea draw in a good number of customers all the year round, particularly during the winter season, when people tend to take tea more than any season for an added reason - keeping warm.

Farid Mia, a tea stall owner in Sylhet, says the tea in his shop is quite popular than others in the area. He sells spicy tea too, saying that a pinch of black cumin and a little ginger in a cup of tea gives his tea a wonderful taste and aroma.

This author is currently studying English literature at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. She can be reached at [email protected]

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