Chai can be prepared with black tea, green tea and other types of tea. Depending on the kind of tea used and its mode of preparation, the benefits to one's health will vary. It was believed that green tea had more beneficial effects than black tea because of the oxidation process the latter had to undergo to become black tea. However, recent studies suggest that the newly formed compounds of oxidation are as beneficial as the anti-oxidants in green tea. Thus, black tea also has important anti-oxidant qualities. Such anti-oxidant qualities have been shown to prevent different kinds of cancer.
Tannins are a class of polyphenol compounds found in tea. They are said to enhance the beneficial effects of caffeine. These compounds cause caffeine to be absorbed more slowly thereby giving it several beneficial metabolic properties, along with inducing a calm, alert and focused mental state. Chai as does other varieties of tea contains Theanine, a stress and anxiety reliever that comes without the tranquilizing effects commonly found in other calming agents. It also helps lower high blood pressure and it appears to be beneficial for cancer patients. Chai has a beneficial effect on the body's immunological system, preventing individuals from getting the flu.
A number of spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, nutmeg, Chinese star anise, ginger and fennel have been used in the preparation of chai. These spices are noted for their health benefits. For instance, cinnamon has been used in the treatment of diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. It also has antioxidant properties, and seems to potentiate the insulin effect. Research has shown its effects in lowering triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels. Chinese star anise has long been known for its carminative, stomachic, stimulant, and diuretic medicinal properties. Ginger is used to treat and prevent motion sickness. It is also believed to increase appetite and to reduce stomach acidity as well to benefit circulation. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Black pepper has natural antibiotic properties that aid digestion. It also has antibacterial properties than can help relieve cough and colds. It is also believed to help fight cancer, in weight loss, to treat skin conditions, as a natural anti-inflammatory. Black pepper is also a powerful antioxidant.