By Anuradha Vashisht March 2004 Tea and coffee are health-negative, and addictive. Try giving then up with these substitutes Tea and coffee addiction is quite a universal phenomenon. To billions, life without their hot cuppa would be unimaginable. However, the leaf that launched a thousand estates is quite a nemesis for those who want to retain their peak of health. Health and tea/coffee can just not go along well. The interference of these beverages with our digestive enzymes is sufficient to trigger diabetes to nerves-weakening to cancer in the long run. They pollute our blood stream and weaken brain activity.The tannic acid found in tannin in tea and used in the tanning of leather tans our digestive track and impairs normal secretion of digestive juices. Similarly, the extremely harmful effects of caffeine in coffee are now firmly established. As a stimulant it makes the heart beat irregularly and also interferes with normal brain activity. Besides, it negatively affects fertility in women. However, despite being aware of the damaging effects of these beverages, people are unable to give them up due to habit. But this habit too can be given up if healthy alternatives are available.The following recipes are harmless substitutes to these beverages, and in some cases they are actually health promoting.The sweetening agent in all of them is unbleached jaggery powder or jaggery syrup. To make jaggery syrup, add ½ cup water to ½ kg of crushed jaggery. Bring it to boil. When bubbles form, remove from fire, strain and store in a glass jar. Use within 4 to 5 days. It is very strongly advised that sugar or sugar- and saccharine-based sweetening agents should not be used, since these are health-destroying.Most of these herbal beverages are well-known in Indian homes. Some of them I picked up from Acharya K Lakshmana Sarma’s magnum opus, Practical Nature Cure, others I improvised as I experimented along. The herbal coffee recipe I picked up on my recent trip to Kerala. Bringing all these together for the Life Positive readers—heart warming formulae to beat the winter chill as well as the summer heat. Jeera DrinkIngredients1 teaspoon jeera 1 cup waterJaggery powder to taste Preparation• Add a teaspoon of jeera (cumin) to a cup of boiling water.• Cover the pan and boil for about five minutes.• Strain and add jaggery powder. Orange Peel TeaThis drink has a very subtle aroma of orange which tickles the taste buds. Kids have special liking to it, when it turns out just the right flavour.Ingredients½ peel of an orange1 cup waterJaggery powder to taste Preparation• Cut the orange peel into pieces and keep aside.• Boil a cup of water in a pan. Add orange peel pieces and boil for a minute.• Remove from fire and leave the pan covered for a couple of minutes. • Strain and add jaggery powder. Sip it warm.For better flavour, use orange colour peel and not the greenish one. Also, over-boiling of the peels would give a bitter taste. So be careful. Bran TeaThis drink is highly invigorating and filling.Ingredients1 tablespoon wheat bran1 cup waterJaggery powder to taste Preparation• Add the bran to boiling water.• Cover the pan and remove from fire.• Sweeten with jaggery and drink it whole. No need to strain. Keep stirring as you sip.• A pinch of cardamom powder can be added to this drink. But that is optional. Dhania CoffeeRoast a cup of coriander seeds till deep brown, coarse grind and keep in a jar ready to make your dhania coffee anytime.Ingredients4 teaspoon roasted coriander seeds powder1 cup water1 cup milkJaggery powder/syrup to taste Preparation• Put coriander seed powder in a coffee filter and pour boiling water on it.• Add warm milk to the filtered decoction and sweeten with jaggery syrup.Herbal CoffeeRoast all the ingredients given below separately and then grind them together to a powder. Store this coffee powder in a glass jar. As you prepare the concoction a couple of times, add the coffee powder quantity as adjusted to your taste.IngredientsCoriander seed: 100 gmJeera seed: 20 gmMethi seed: 20 gmWheat seed: 20 gmDry ginger powder: 10-15 gmCardamom: 10-15 pcsPreparation• Add the desired quantity of coffee powder to a cup of boiling water. Simmer for a couple of minutes.• Strain and add jaggery powder.Tulsi TeaIngredients10-12 tulsi leaves1 cup waterJaggery powder to tastePreparation• Add tulsi leaves to water and let it come to boil.• Leave it covered for a couple of minutes.• Add jaggery powder, strain and sip it warm.For variation, crush a small piece of ginger and add with tulsi leaves. One can also use 1/4 teaspoon of dried and powdered tulsi leaves with the same effect. But when fresh leaves are available, they are the best. Mint TeaThis drink is made similarly as the tulsi tea, where mint leaves replace tulsi leaves. This too can be made along with ginger.
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