This spicy yoga tea is a recipe I started making after doing my yoga teacher training a few years ago. It’s delicious and ultra healthy, packed with good stuff like ginger, turmeric, and cardamom. The tea can help to reduce bloating and inflammation and tastes great, too.
I’m a yoga teacher. Or, I was, before we moved to Germany and I found out my German wasn’t good enough to teach here. I was offered a position at a local studio and completely bombed my audition class, which ended up with the studio owner leaving and me teaching in english for the last hour. It’s been tricky because yoga uses specialized language and I don’t know the right words in German. So I’m a yoga teacher without students – but I’ve been thinking about starting to make yoga videos and posting them. I feel like I had just found something I really loved to do (other than this, which doesn’t pay me) and then we moved and lost it again. Moving here was this big adventure but it has often been overwhelming and difficult, really just because of the language barrier. I’m happy to see this part of my family more and we do love it here, but I feel kind of useless, you know?
This type of ultra-healthy ginger spice tea has its roots in ayurveda, which is linked to the practice of yoga. You might see similar teas served at different studios, and almost all workshops worth their salt will offer a type of yoga tea. Personally, I think ayurvedic medicine is interesting, but some of it is just goofball nonsense. For example, my dosha is encouraged to eat plenty of ghee, but I have a dairy allergy. It’s comparable to pre-modern medicine in east Asia and Europe – and just like I’m not going to bleed my boyfriend if his stomach hurts, I wouldn’t practice the majority of ayurvedic medicine either. I think the best thing to take away from it is that you should eat foods that make you feel strong and healthy. Some people think of this as a detox tea but I see it as a healthy thing to have every day.
There are a pile of different combinations out there for yoga tea, and this is just my preference. The primary ingredients in this tea are fresh ginger and turmeric* with a blend of other spices, depending on how you want to make it. I’m providing a couple of options, and they have slightly different benefits. One tea is combined with lemon juice, and the other with apple juice. The lemon tea is great to drink in the morning right after you wake up, and it can help to clear your skin and calm your stomach. The apple tea is perfect if you prefer something slightly sweeter, or if you want to share it with children or picky adults, and it’s still great for an upset stomach. I’ve included a few tips at the end of this post for extra spice combos and the reasons certain things are included. This is a very simple recipe, the extra suggestions and notes are just there for your information.
I’ve also used this tea to make some naturally fermented ginger beer for good digestion. We loved it, and I’ll share the instructions soon.
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- 1 litre water
- 10 cm piece fresh ginger
- 4 cm piece fresh turmeric*
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cardamom pods outer shell removed
- 5 whole peppercorns
- After cooking: Juice of two lemons and 1 tablespoon raw honey or 1/2 cup apple juice
Add the water to a pot. Roughly chop the ginger and turmeric. Don't worry about peeling them if they're organic, but peel them if they're not. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom, and peppercorns. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.
Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and honey or the apple juice, depending on your preference. Serve hot. You can drink this continuously throughout the day, but one cup every day will help reduce bloating and inflammation.
The tea is best served hot but you can also drink it cold. It will keep on the stove without the additions (lemon or apple juice) for a couple of days. You can keep adding water to the same spices and repeat the process up to five times, as long as they stay covered with water in between cooking (only let it sit for a day without cooking, though). After about a week the spices lose their strength. The tea with lemon or apple juice will keep in the fridge for up to a week in a sealed container.
• To get the most benefits from turmeric, it should always be combined with pepper. All of the spices in this tea are great for reducing inflammation, but turmeric is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse.
• Both ginger and turmeric can help with inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis when used over time, but can also cause blood thinning, so discuss this with your doctor if you take blood thinners or if you're pregnant.
• Too much turmeric can upset your stomach, but the amount in this tea is unlikely to have that side effect. You should have a happier stomach thanks to the ginger, but if you do find that it bothers your stomach, don't drink it.
• You can alter the recipe to increase or decrease certain ingredients if you like it to have a more pronounced cinnamon flavour, for example. Other additions could be cloves, star anise, or fennel, but I don't like them so I don't include them.
* If you can't find fresh turmeric, you can either substitute a small amount of dried (1/4-1/2 teaspoon) or leave it out. Fresh turmeric is getting easier to find these days, though, and I can't recommend trying it highly enough.