A sure sign you are in a Kundalini yogi’s household is the smell of cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom wafting from the kitchen as a pot of yogi tea boils. A staple in a yogi’s diet, the well-spiced tea has many healing properties and tastes delicious too.
When Yogi Bhajan was an officer in the Indian army, he gave his men Yogi Tea to keep them healthy. During a particularly bad outbreak of the flu, as entire platoons got sick, Yogi Bhajan had his men drink Yogi Tea instead of water. Not one man under his command got sick.
Following is the original recipe given by Yogi Bhajan:*
In a large pot, bring 2.8 litres (3 quarts) of water to a boil. Then add:
- 20 whole cloves
- 20 whole green cardamom pods (optional: gently crush them under a rolling pin or with a mortar and pestle to open them up)
- 20 whole black peppercorns
- 5 sticks of cinnamon
- Optional: a few slices of fresh ginger
Continue boiling for 15-20 minutes, and then add: ¼ tsp of a mild black tea (Golden Assam is recommended)
After another minute or two, add ½ pint of milk per pint of remaining liquid. The original recipe calls for cow's milk but any type of milk is fine – cow, goat, almond, soy, hemp, etc. There is no need to measure the milk, just eyeball it.
Optional: add honey or other sweetener to taste.
Each of the ingredients in Yogi Tea has healing properties. The black pepper is a blood purifier and aids in digestion. Cardamom is good for the colon and can help relieve depression. Cloves strengthen the immune and nervous systems. Cinnamon is antibacterial, loaded with antioxidants and is good for the bones. Ginger root is great for the nervous system and is energizing.
Increasingly, people are choosing to cut caffeine from their diets. A wise decision for a number of reasons, but the black tea in Yogi Tea helps the ingredients amalgamate. In other words, the black tea makes Yogi Tea more potent as a healing agent. A compromise: after the spices have cooked for 20 minutes, take a tea ball or bag and swirl it around the pot a few times.
Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your personal taste. Over time, my own recipe has evolved to include double the spices, twice the cooking time, and half the milk. Experiment!
*Yogi Bhajan’s Original Recipe appears in Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power by Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa (1996).