You may know that salt is crucial for fluid and electrolyte balance and aids vital functions, such as nerve conduction and muscle contraction. You may also know that tea has a lot of benefits for the body, like protecting your heart and lowering your chances of cancer. But have you heard of mixing the two together? Putting salt in tea is actually a great way to enhance its flavor and health benefits. Read on to learn more—recipe included!
Origins of Salt Tea
The tradition of mixing tea with salt dates back centuries. Tibetans even have sayings regarding the custom: "Loving each other just like tea and salt” and “Tea without salt is like languages without proverbs.” In Northern India, Kashmirs created the ever popular Noon Chai, a pink tea brewed from green tea leaves, baking soda, milk, salt and cardamom. Both types of teas are said to have originated as a type of electrolyte beverage to prevent dehydration at high altitudes in the Himalayas.
Benefits of Putting Salt in TeaBesides electrolyte replenishment, putting salt in tea also offers the following health benefits:
- Improves digestion and metabolism - Salt stimulates the production of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is necessary for the body to break down food. It may also relieve symptoms of indigestion or nausea.
- Improves respiratory and throat issues. Salt can alleviate a sore throat and loosen up mucus to improve airways.
- Improves skin - With better hydration and nourishment, overall skin can improve in health and appearance.
How to Make Salt Tea
There are many ways to prepare salt tea. You can simply add a pinch to your green or black tea, just before sipping. Or, you can make a milky, spicy chai with a pinch of salt. Regardless of the way you make it -- be sure to use high quality salt, like bamboo salt. Bamboo salt is free of toxins and rich in vital minerals, like K, P, Ca, Mg, Si, Fe, Cu, Ba, V, Mn, Zn, Ge, Mo, Se, Pt, S, Sr, B, Li. These minerals are essential for the production and activation of enzymes and biological activities. Bamboo salt is also highly alkalizing (purple bamboo salt has a pH of 11.5 as compared to a se salt's pH of 7.5), which will increase the alkalinity of the food or beverage you are consuming. Bamboo salt also has unique health benefits from its high antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. It's even been demonstrated to have anti-cancer properties.
Health Boosting Chai Tea with Salt
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 cups milk (or plant-based alternative)
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 4-6 green cardamom pods
- 3-4 clove buds
- 5-6 black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon CTC Assam black tea or a couple of strong black tea bags
- 1/4-1/2 tsp bamboo salt
- Maple syrup to taste
- Gently crush the cardamom pods and black peppercorns.
- In a small to medium-sized saucepan, add the spices to the water and bring to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tea and remove from heat.
- Cover and steep for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the milk and bring the entire mixture just to the edge of boiling. Careful not to let the milk boil over or you will likely end up with a big mess on your hands!
- Remove from heat and steep for another 3-4 minutes.
- Strain, sweeten to taste, add a pinch of salt, and enjoy!
Salt in tea may seem unusual, but we all know that just the right amount of salt enhances the flavor of food. In addition, when you use bamboo salt, you will reap the benefits of its mineral concentration and alkalinity. Next time you brew a cup of tea, try it with a pinch of salt!
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher.