Yesterday I packed away all of my winter clothes and took the insulating plastic off of my windows, heralding in the warm spring weather. Now with today’s hail and snow, I really wish my sweaters weren’t so under wraps! Lucky for me there are many delicious herbs to keep me warm and keep my immune system strong during this time of transition. Chai tea is one of my favorite warming herbal preparations. So, on this chilly spring day I am glad to snuggle up with some warm chai tea and a good book and enjoy the flowers through the window. I call this recipe "Super" Chai because it focuses on adaptogens - herbal superheroes.
Astragalus membranaceus – a perennial member of the pea family, astragalus is native to China and often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. As an adaptogen, astragalus helps the body to be more resilient in coping with internal and external stressors from mental and emotional stress to the cold and flu season. Astragalus is supremely suited for boosting the immunity and helps to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, mononucleosis, pneumonia, and a myriad of other infections. Astragalus improves digestion and aids the lungs. Energetically, astragalus improves the body’s defenses, or “wei qi” while reducing excessive sweating. Susun Weed says that astragalus is one of the best herbs for preventing contraction of Lyme disease. Astragalus also protects the liver and kidneys, and is specifically helpful in preventing immune-suppression caused by chemotherapy. It also has tumor-inhibiting activity and high levels of anti-oxidants.