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Five herbal teas and infusions to beat hunger and fatigue in late Ramadan Open in fullscreen

Diana Alghoul

Five herbal teas and infusions to beat hunger and fatigue in late Ramadan

Tea can be very healing [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 May, 2020

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Tea is healthy, relaxing, versatile and incredibly delicious. Here are five infusions to make to nourish your mind and body this Ramadan.
Ramadan is nearing its end but with the coronavirus lockdown still in place and temperatures rising, many are clamouring for relief.

With some Muslims around the world fasting for up to 20 hours this year, it's important to make sure everything that enter our bodies is healthy and hydrating.

This is sometimes difficult when many after iftar like to drink milky karak tea, sugary drinks, or highly caffinated tea that could dehydrate them even more.

Read also: Top three plant milks to veganise your karak this Arab Veganuary

But there are healthy alternatives that boost your immunity and can prevent dehydration and fatigue.

Here are five herbal teas to make this Ramadan (and beyond, once you discover the potential of herbal infusions).

1. Sage tea

This is a must have in my Palestinian kitchen. I associate sage with childhood memories of being told to drink sage by my parents and grandmother every time I got sick -- especially when I had a stomach ache.

In Palestinian culture, sage is the ultimate super-herb. Studies show that sage is packed with anti-oxidants, optimises digestive health, treats heartburn and has a range of other benifits. 
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I even add a few pieces of dried sage to my tea for flavour.

Preparation:

1 mug of boiling water
1 teaspoon of dried sage

Mix the two in an infuser, a French press, or inside a tea pot and let infuse for at least five minutes.

2. White tea

We all know green tea is healthy, but white tea is even healthier. It's less processed, and contains a higher concentration of antioxidants

White tea is also the perfect alternative for those who dislike the strong taste of green tea. It's naturally sweeter and it's light enough to allow other herbs, spices and fruity infusions to take centre stage when mixed with other ingredients.

White tea should be infused for at least three minutes. Use the same ratio as you would in usual teas with a similar taste, but healthier.

3. Cardamom infusions

Most people know cardamom as a spice added to rice and curries, but what many people don't know about it is tht it's used for tea in Palestine.

Traditionally, cardamom tea is made with black tea leaves, but to make it healthier, cardamom can be used with white tea.

Cardamom based teas are simple. Rip open the pod and let it either boil, or sit and infuse. You can mix with other spices such as cinnamon, dried orange, cloves, star anise, vanilla and ginger. If they smell good together, they most likely taste good together.

Feel free to simmer it with plant milk for a milky treat.

Bonus tip: If you have a headache, chew on some cardamom seeds for a natural remedy.

4. Mulled apple juice

Mulled apple juice was never a part of my childhood, but it has been a huge part of my cosy night-ins ever since I tried it as a non-alcoholic alternative to mulled wine at a Christmas market in Prague.

Juice has a bad reputation for being too sugary, but when freshly squeezed, it's actually very healthy because the lack of fibres from the juicing process allow the nutrients from the fruit to be absorbed.

I'd never recommend buying off-the-shelf apple juice, but if the apple juice is store bought, make sure it's fresh, not made from concentrate and doesn't have added sugar.

There are many spices that go with mulled apple juice, but the most common are star anise, cinnamon, ginger, orange peel and cloves.

Use whatever you have available, but try to limit to two to three spices to make sure they don't clash and that the apple juice remains the star of the drink.

Here's one recipe to start you off:

1 cup of apple juice
1/2tsp of cinnamon powder (or one stick)
1 star anise pieces
1 whole clove

Combine everything to a pot and let simmer for 10 minutes for all the flavours to incorporate. If too spicy, add more apple juice and if it's not spicy enough, add what you feel is missing.

5. Turmeric and cinnamon

A tea we make at least once a week in the Alghoul household. Both turmeric and cinnamon do wonders for your health, especially immunity. You can have this with water or plant milk as a golden latte.

One little known fact about turmeric is for the body to absorb it the most, it needs to be mixed with a tiny amount of black pepper. I do this all the time and I have never tasted the black pepper in my drink.

Method:

Mix 1/2 a teaspoon of each, along with a tiny bit of black peper with a cup of either milk or water.

Let the mixture let simmer for around 5 minutes. Taste it to make sure the flavour is to your liking and once you're ready, sieve the tea so it's smooth and free from granulates.

Remember, when it comes to making tea, there's no right or wrong. Use ingredients you already know combine well and cater the strength to what you already know you like.


Diana Alghoul is a journalist at The New Arab.

Follow her on Twitter: @SuperKnafeh and Instagram: @flowerknafeh

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