Herbal Teas for the Winter Season

When winter is in full swing, the drop in temperature, low humidity in the air, and more time spent indoors with drying high heat from the furnace or heater, start to show effects on our bodies both inside and out. The body starts to feels dry and dehydrated, and we know it's time to start adding in extra hydration to our routines. To remain hydrated, we need to follow a seasonal routine, known as Ritucharya in Ayurveda. Based on our Ayurvedic Body Constitution, age and location, following a customized seasonal routine is beneficial in maintaining the balance in the body.

Ritucharya during winter includes, but is not limited to, hydrating inside and out with lots of warm fluids. We all know that sipping on warm water throughout the day is a great way to hydrate, but can get monotonous and boring sometimes, and might call for some change in flavor. Herbal teas are a great option to keep our bodies warm and hydrated during the winter. Herbal teas are not teas in the real sense, but are Kashaya / decoctions and infusions of herbs and spices. Decoctions are prepared by mixing herbs and spices in water and boiling down the water to a concentrated liquid. Infusions are letting the herbs and spices steep in hot water for 15 to 30 minutes.

The below herbal tea recipes are a few of the ways in which you can not only add flavor to the regular water but also ingest the beneficial sattva / essence of the herbs and spices. Each herb and spice has its own unique quality which aids in healing the body. The herbs used are various parts of plants such as roots, stem, leaves, flowers, fruit and seed. They can be used fresh or in dried form when the fresh herbs are not available. The dried herbs are also milder in potency than the fresh herbs. You can check out how I dry my own herbs HERE. Some of the great herbs to use as herbal teas in winter are Rosemary, Peppermint, Ginger, Turmeric, Black Pepper, Tulsi/Holy Basil, Ashwagandha, Lemon Balm, Lemongrass, Cinnamon, Cloves, Rooibos.

Please note: This post is not medically qualified. This post is written by an Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner. If you have even the slightest doubt about any of these herbal teas and/or their ingredients, please consult with your doctor about them before using them. Please read the disclaimer for more information.

Kapha reducing herbal tea:

This tea is soothing as well as invigorating. The herbs used in this tea are Ginger - reduces phlegm, improves digestion; Turmeric - anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant; Black Pepper - reduces phlegm; Tulsi/Holy Basil - improves immunity, nervine; Lemon - boosts immunity, reduces phlegm; Honey - soothes the throat, reduces phlegm, fights germs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon Ginger, fresh grated or dry powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric, dry powder or 1/2 inch fresh sliced

  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon Tulsi/Holy Basil leaves, dried crushed or 5 fresh leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 1/4 lemon

  • Honey to taste

Method:

  • In a pot, add Ginger, Turmeric, Black pepper, Tulsi. Add the water and bring to a boil.

  • Simmer for 15 minutes.

  • Strain to a cup. Squeeze the lemon juice. Add honey to taste and mix well.

Calming Tulsi-Ashwagandha herbal tea:

This herbal tea is great for de-stressing and relaxing for a good night's rest. Quality sleep time is essential for a healthy body and mind. It also boosts immunity. Drinking this tea before bedtime, along with cow's milk (if not lactose intolerant), aids in good sleep. If dairy is not an option, cow's milk can be substituted with almond milk or coconut milk. Milk can also be skipped and water can be used instead.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon Tulsi, dried crushed or 5 fresh Tulsi leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon Ashwagandha powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon rock sugar or jaggery or honey

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (optional), warmed

Method:

  • In a pot, add the Tulsi, Ashwagandha and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.

  • Strain into a cup.

  • Add warm milk of choice (optional) and sweetener of choice.

  • Stir and enjoy.

Spicy Rooibos Chai Tea:

This is a great substitute for the Indian spiced Chai Tea. The Rooibos in this tea gives it the color similar to black tea, but without the caffeine. Rooibos is also a great anti-oxidant. Spices added to the Rooibos infusion gives it the flavor of Indian spiced Chai. The warming spices also add to the benefit of having a warm cup of tea during winter. It goes well with snacks on the side for a cold evening. Soy milk is a great substitute for dairy in this recipe to achieve the right consistency.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon loose leaf Rooibos

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry Ginger powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon Cardamom, ground

  • 1/4 teaspoon Cloves, ground

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1/4 cup milk of choice

  • 1 teaspoon sweetener (Jaggery/rock sugar/coconut sugar/honey)

Method:

  • In a pot, add the Rooibos, Ginger powder, Cardamom powder, Cloves and water.

  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.

  • Add in the milk of choice and let it come to a boil. Make sure it doesn't boil over and spill. Turn off the flame and remove the pot from the stove so that it doesn't boil over.

  • Strain into a cup and add the sweetener of choice.

  • Enjoy it warm.