I’m cutting back on caffeine and stimulants this Winter to really rest and restore. Caffeine and specifically coffee has numerous health benefits. But when consumed in excess (points finger to self), it can promote sympathetic dominance and affect cortisol and other adrenal hormones. Like all substances that affect our physiology, it’s best to keep our habits in check and cut back every now and then.
So I’ve ditched coffee for now and rekindling my love for tea recipes. My favorite is chais. If you’ve only had store bought or prepared chais, this recipe will change your mind about chai teas. When brewed for a long period of time, these warming spices infuse beautifully and give you a natural energy boost. And Reishi is a medicinal mushroom that supports systemic immunity, as well as adrenal function and cortisol regulation.
Green tea has potent antioxidant fractions due to its polyphenol content (EGCG) and supports Th2-mediated immunity. Reishi supports the Th1 arm, so the two together are a terrific match for supporting deep immune function.
Reishi-Green Tea Chai
- 1 quart water
- 2-3 Reishi mushroom slices (harvest your own or get through an organic source like Moutain Rose Herbs)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- sliver of nutmeg
- 3 allspice berries
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 star anise
- 3-4 peppercorns (red, white or black)
- 3-4 cardamom pods
- 1T organic Green tea (added at the last 5 minutes)
Decoct the Reishi along with the spices for 30 minutes. The longer it decocts, the stronger it will get. Turn off the heat and add the Green tea. (You can also substitute black tea, puerh, lapsang souchong, white tea, or yerba maté.) Let it steep for 5 minutes, then strain. Add sweetener or milk/milk substitute to taste. This will make 2-3 cups. If you have some leftover, I suggest straining it and storing in the refrigerator–the tea will become very bitter if left to steep.
If you want to increase your intake of healthy fats, you can include a little coconut oil, ghee, or grass fed butter.
You can also add your favorite herbs to this base recipe. Ashwaganda or Eleuthro root made wonderful additions, as does Astragalus, Hawthorn berries, Burdock, or Marshmallow root. Good mushroom substitutes include Turkey Tails, Chaga, and Maitake. Be creative!