Chai Tea (Dairy-Free Option)

Nov 17 / Alberto Carbo
Hippocrates encouraged us to view food as our medicine, and his words have never rang as true as they do today. Contemporarily, we seemingly have more food choices available to us than ever before, however, this seems to have confused and overwhelmed many of us, and led us astray from our connection with the land that sustains us.

Whole foods are medicinal, nutritious, and free from preservatives and ingredients which are difficult for our body to process. Incorporating whole herbs into our culinary repertoire holistically supports our body’s ability to digest, assimilate, and eliminate. Furthermore, cooking with whole ingredients, encourages our connection and understanding of our internal and external environments, thereby facilitating our ability to support our health through our daily food choices.

Carminatives are the easiest medicinal herbs to incorporate into our cooking, and greatly beneficial, as they increase gastric secretions and encourage peristalsis. Some examples are cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, garlic, fennel, anise, cumin, black cumin, fenugreek, thyme, rosemary, sage, lavender, oregano, cayenne, basil, parsley, mustard, peppermint, ginger, and turmeric. There are endless ways of incorporating these plants into your culinary endeavors, and you can certainly find recipes from many ethnic backgrounds that include these wonderful herbs.

Check out the recent Herbs A to Z class to learn more about the Basic Principles of Ayurveda with Judy Lieblein.

Chai Tea

  • 12 cinnamon sticks
  • 7 nutmeg seeds (whole)
  • 1 heaping tbsp. whole allspice
  • 1 heaping tbsp. whole black pepper
  • ½ tbsp. whole cardamom pods
  • 1/3 cup crushed fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • Optional: anise, vanilla


  1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in 5L of water, then simmer on low for at least 20 minutes. The longer the decoction, the stronger the tea.
  2. Use a ladle to serve into your favorite mug.
  3. Add a splash of milk (optional). Coconut milk is my favorite for this recipe.
  4. Enjoy!

After several cups of tea, when the pot is half full, you can re-fill it with cold water, bring it to a boil, and then lower it to a simmer. You could repeat this a few times before the herbs lose their potency. Once cool, store in the fridge to maintain freshness. It will last 2-3 days in the fridge.

As always make sure to forage for plants away from roads and pollution as much as possible. Never overharvest any plant, as they are of course not only here for our enjoyment, but also here for the insects, bees, and birds. Have fun out there!
The information provided in this digital content is not medical advice, nor should it be taken or applied as a replacement for medical advice. Matthew Wood, the Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism, ETS Productions, and their employees, guests, and affiliates assume no liability for the application of the information discussed.