Tea Time with Marisa Toriggino

Healthful, tasty and easy to make:

Tea, Anyone?

I love to drink tea and learned from my former mother in law in Gujarat, India how to make the best Chai.  The best advice she gave me was to use the freshest ingredients and to crush all of the herbs thoroughly before putting them into the pot of water.  Try and get some good black tea from an Indian grocery store (there is one in the Fillmore Center).

I make this during our Prenatal Teacher Training program (starting June 7th) and all of Yoga Garden smells like (the best of) India!

I am including the pregnancy tea recipe here, which is good for everyone-including men!


Yogi Tea (without caffeine from black tea) or Indian Chai (with black tea) 

Yogi tea comprises a specific combination of spices, milk and black tea.  Health-promoting, delicious, soothing and a great coffee substitute.

Yogi tea is easy to make from scratch.  I like to make a big potful (without adding milk), store it in the refrigerator.  To make a cup of tea, just fill your cup three-fourths with tea, and add warm milk.

The spices have the following healthful properties:  Black pepper: blood purifier; Cardamom: digestive aid; Cloves: nervous system and generates heat in the body;  Cinnamon: bones; Ginger root: for colds, flu, physical weakness, digestion, increased potency.  The milk helps in easy assimilation of the spices and coats the stomach lining to avoid irritation there.  A pinch of black tea gives just a touch of “pick up”.

2 quarts water

15 whole cloves
20 green cardamom pods
20 black peppercorns
3 sticks cinnamon
8 slices ginger root
1/2 tsp black tea  (optional)
3 cups milk
Honey or other sweetener to taste

Bring water to boil in 3-4 quart pot.  Add cloves and boil for 1 minute.  Add cardamom pods (to better release flavor, crush or split pods), peppercorns, cinnamon sticks and ginger root.  Cover and boil gently for 20-30 minutes.  Add black tea (optional).

At this point, you can let the tea cool, strain it, and refrigerate.  Or, add the milk, return to boil and immediately remove from heat.  Add sweetener to taste.

Pregnancy Tea

2 cups of tea per day;

In 1 quart of boiled water, steep 1 cup of herbs:

2 parts red raspberry leaf
1 part nettles
1 part alfalfa
1 part red clover

Steep at least 4 hours, strain and drink, starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Some brief notes about the benefits of the herbs above: Red Raspberry tones the muscles of the pelvic region and reproductive organs; Nettles contain iron; Alfalfa aids in the relief of many common discomforts of pregnancy, such as, heartburn, constipation and anemia; Clover purifies the blood which helps strengthen the overall health of a woman.