Chai Walli teas have been created by Uppma and follow strong Ayurvedic principals, taught to her by her Grandfather who was an Ayurvedic doctor in India. However, there are a number of similarities between Ayurvedic practices and those of other Natural Medicine disciplines. Here we sat down with Melbourne Naturopath, Tara Brooks, to understand a bit more about the benefits of our blends, from a naturopathy point of view. We hope you find it as fascinating as we did!
Chai Walli: Hi Tara! Tell us, what was the path that led you to naturopathy?
Tara Brooks: I was raised vegetarian, so from an early age I was conscious of what I was putting in to my body. From this grew a connection to food as medicine and using nature as a way to support and heal the mind and body.
CW: When do you bring tea into your day, and when do you recommend it for your clients?
TB: Tea for me is a way to support your body in its natural processes. I will often have tea after a meal to aid digestion, in the afternoon to energise myself or in the evening to relax. I think the power of herbal tea has been forgotten - just simply sitting for 10 minutes with a cup of tea allows you to relax and gain mindfulness in our otherwise busy days.
CW: We’re super excited to get a new perspective on our teas, and to know a bit more about the benefits of our much loved chai blends from a naturopathy point of view. Here is a breakdown of the herbal ingredients in our signature 11 Spice Chai - we’d love to know your thoughts on a few of them…
Aniseed, cardamom, carom seeds, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, ginger, mace, rooibos, rose petals, star anise.
TB: I love the inclusion of aniseed, fennel and ginger as they aid in stimulating digestion, calming the stomach, reducing bloating and have anti-inflammatory qualities. In the fast pace society we now live in, stress plays havoc on our digestion, so everyone can benefit from these soothing herbs.
CW: Turmeric! We’re crazy about Turmeric! Are you crazy about Turmeric? Why should others be crazy about Turmeric?
TB: I am crazy about turmeric and everyone should be, I don’t think there is a human out there that wouldn’t benefit from more turmeric in their diet. Turmeric is not only a potent anti-inflammatory it is also an antioxidant, thus helping reduce cardiovascular issues as well as being protective against cancer and reducing our aches and pains. To top it off turmeric is great for the liver which also helps to aid digestion.
CW: We have created a trio of Ayurvedic herbal blends, based on properties from Ayurvedic teachings. The bonus is that these blends are DELICIOUS! We’re pretty excited to know your thoughts on the specific ingredients we’ve included…as if we could love this trio any more!
Skin Glow: Burdock root, gota kola, hibiscus, lotus leaves, rose petals.
TB: I love that the skin glow mix includes Burdock. Burdock is a blood cleanser and helps to remove toxins, which often come out through the skin and through the blood. I always put burdock in a mix to treat acne. Gota Kola is a great addition to this mix as amongst other things, it is also a blood cleanser and a diuretic, thus helping to cleanse the skin, by removing waste via the kidneys. I love the flavours of this tea thanks to the hibiscus and rose petals.
Digestion: Chamomile, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds.
TB: What a great mix, I love to tell my clients, that the herbs and spices we use in everyday cooking are always ones that will aid in digestion, both breaking down food as well as soothing an upset stomach and this mix has it all. Chamomile is a must for bloating and gas, and fennel helps to calm the gut and just make things taste great!
Relax & Unwind: Ashwagandha, brahmi, lavender, nutmeg, tulsi, rosehip.
TB: It’s not often that I see Ashwagandha in a tea mix and I love that you have included it. Ashwagandha is great for calming the nervous system in the short term, but also helps us adapt to stress when consumed on a regular basis and will help us calm down before bed. I would be recommending this mix for those that live a fast pace lifestyle, every night before bed. The lavender is a great inclusion for those feeling anxious or who have trouble getting to sleep at night.
CW: What are your all time favourite herbs and why?
TB: I love Ashwagandha, this would be a herb that I add to almost all of my clients mixes. Almost everyone today is facing some form of stress whether it be from work, home, financial or physical stress from exercise. Stress affects the body in numerous ways from poor digestion to sore muscles and erratic sleep. Ashwaganda will help with all these symptoms and is just a nice earthy herb too.
I think Siberian Ginseng is another favourite of mine. I give it to my clients that are feeling exhausted. It helps the body to be able to create more energy, without being draining. It is an adaptogen, so again helps to reduce the bodies reactions to stress and helps to modulate the immune system, thus reducing the amount of colds and flues we experience. It is definitely in my top 5 of herbs.
CW: If you could give one piece of advice to our Chai Crusaders for living their best lives - what would it be?
TB: Create a routine around eating (and tea!). Start with 3 deep breaths, to help relax your digestive system, follow this with smelling your food, to stimulate your digestive enzymes and always remember to chew your food! This will reduce the amount of digestive issues you experience and give you the best chance to uptake nutrients from your food. As I mentioned earlier, also find time to take 5-10 minutes in your day to relax - and a great pot of tea is the perfect aid to do just that!
CW: And lastly, what are the favourite elements of your chosen career?
I love listening to people’s stories and getting an understanding of what they need to heal, whether it be through diet, lifestyle, herbs or supplements. I especially love helping and educating those that are unable to come in to a clinic for a consult. I have an online naturopathy business that works via skype or phone calls, thus making naturopathy accessible to those who live remotely, are physically unable to get to a clinic, young parents that don’t have the time or those that are on the road full time. Everyone’s health is important and I love being able to help those who normally couldn’t access it.
Tara Brooks is a qualified naturopath with her own business, Walking Nature's Path, focussing on offering naturopathy consults via Skype and online. She has a Bachelor of Health Science/Naturopathy (B.H.SC Naturopathy) and lives in Melbourne, though just recently made the decision to never spend another winter in chilly Melbourne - lucky woman!
We love supporting other female small business owners and loved gaining a new perspective on our teas through this interview with Tara. You can find out more about Tara and her business Walking Nature's Path, here.