I remember many years ago when chai lattes became all the rage. I loved the idea of chai because of all the beautiful spices but have always stayed away from it for two reasons; it usually contains caffeine which I avoid and I lived in the tropics for over a decade and never felt like drinking hot drinks. Because I have been uninterested in hot drinks for so many years I completely missed the fact that there are now many brands that offer caffeine-free chai that does not use any black tea at all. Now that I have moved to a colder climate I have really been enjoying getting into hot drinks and I absolutely love making lattes that use different herbs and powders that have therapeutic benefits.
I love this Chai Latte blend from DHOW nature foods
What sets this particular chai apart is that it does not contain any black tea or caffeine and has the more unusual addition of lemongrass which has many health benefits especially for women at that time of the month. Of course, you can always add some black tea to this blend. There are some benefits to consuming black tea however for the most part, due to the caffeine component of black tea it does raise cortisol and adrenalin (stress) in the body which is often the main root cause behind a lot of women’s hormonal imbalances. For someone like me who has a history of anxiety and low hormones as a consequence, I stay away from caffeine.
Let’s have a look at all the spices in the DHOW chai latte blend and discuss the benefits for women’s hormones.
Ginger: Ginger can significantly reduce menstrual/period pain. Ginger has been found in multiple studies to be as effective as many pain-relieving drugs including various NSAIDs. Ginger not only helps with pain relief but also helps to address underlying inflammation which can help address some of the root causes of inflammation contributing to period pain. Ginger is also shown to lighten menstrual flow, especially when taken consistently over a period of 3 months.
Lemongrass: there is not a tonne of research on lemongrass and how it affects women’s hormones specifically however traditionally it has been used as an aid with menstrual cramps, PMS and hot flashes. The essential oils found in lemongrass can act as a muscle relaxant which can help alleviate some of the period pain caused by muscle tension. Furthermore, lemongrass is a known diuretic, it can help the body get rid of excess water retention which is a common PMS symptom. It has been shown to have similar diuretic effects as green tea in rats however without the liver toxicity or caffeine.
Cardamon: Cardamon is a powerful anti-inflammatory spice. Cardamon is loaded with antioxidants which help to fight inflammation in the body as inflammation can be a leading cause of hormonal imbalance, cardamon can be a useful addition to the diet that may help counteract some of the inflammatory effects caused by high sugar and high-fat diets. Cardamon has shown to have specific abilities in assisting liver function, which is important as the liver is the main site of hormone detoxification.
Clove: Clove has many of the same properties as cardamon. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. There is some recent talk about “clove water” being beneficial for women’s fertility by improving ovulation. At this stage we have no research to confirm this although we do know that clove is beneficial for men in boosting testosterone and improving sperm quality in male mice, this is likely due to the high antioxidant content of cloves. Antioxidants assist with improving both sperm and egg quality.
Cinnamon: High blood sugar is a huge underlying cause of many hormonal imbalances, particularly PCOS. It is also beneficial for women in perimenopause as women naturally become more insulin resistant with age. There are studies showing that cinnamon has the ability to reduce fasting blood sugar levels as well as potentially reduce haemoglobin A1c which is a marker of long term blood sugar control. This means that regularly adding cinnamon to the diet and meals may help to improve blood glucose control over time and potentially reduce the risk of developing diabetes as well as help to regulate the menstrual cycle and calm the nervous system. Cinnamon can also reduce the carbohydrate/glucose load of individual meals. Adding cinnamon to meals has been shown to decrease the blood sugar spike after meals.
Overall chai when consumed regularly can help lower inflammation in the body, can help balance blood sugar as well as help reduce both period pain and heavy flow. It can also help with water retention and bloating. Due to the anti-inflammatory and high antioxidant content of all the chai spices, it may help improve fertility also.