The Medical Chest: Winter Tonic / Kashaya Tea

By Eleni Tsikrikas

The goal of the medicine chest is to introduce you to the wonderful world of herbs and their many uses. Herbs have traditionally been used as foods, supplements and to cure ailments. Their use can help support your health from a very basic level, just as foods do.

Winter recipe to keep you heathy this winter.

Winter Tonic / Kashaya Tea

A sweet and spicy herbal drink form South India prepared using aromatic spices based in Ayurveda.

Health Benefits

Kashaya can cure nagging colds, chest colds, loss of appetite, clear sinuses, and nausea. Its a wonderful substitute for caffeinated loaded drinks and it aids in weight loss.
  • Part 1 Making Kashaya Powder
  • 1 cup coriander seeds
  • 1/3 cup cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup fennel seeds
  • 1-2 TBS black peppercorns
  • 1-2 tsp dry ginger ( optional)

Dry roast the herbs separately on a low flame till the heady aroma of the spices fills your home. Spread the roasted spices on a wide plate and let them cool to room temperature. Grind al the spices along with the ginger root to a fine powder and store in an air tight jar.

Part 2. Making Kashaya Drink

  • 1 heaped tsp Kashaya powder
  • 1/4 cup milk( add more or less based on your preference) I use coconut milk
  • 1 cup water1/2-1TBS Jaggery/molasses/coconut sugar. Adjust for taste
  • 1/2 tsp cinamon, a pinch of cardamom or turmeric powder( optional)

Take 1 cup water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Once water has come to a boil, mix a heaped tsp of kashaya powder and sweetener to taste. Let it boil for 1 minute and mix in 1/4 cup milk along with cardamom, cinnamon/turmeric powder if using. Switch off flame and let rest for one minute for the flavors to infuse. Strain it through a fine sieve and drink whilst hot.

adapted from my Herbalist teachers notes. KP Singh Khalsa- Natural Healing Specialist

Herb Profiles:

Coriander – Improves digestion, Rich in antioxidants, Normalizes blood sugar and cholesterol, fights infection. Use in combination with Fennel and cumin will strengthen digestion without aggravating pitta
Safety profile: if have allergic reaction to cilantro then avoid coriander

Cumin – Great warming spice for all types, gas reducing, rich in flavonoidse, excellent source of iron and minerals,Stimulates and strengthens digestion, Regulates blood sugar helps to normalize cholesterol, demonstrated cancer fighting potential, prevents bone loss, kills bad bacteria (traditionally used to preserve food)
Safety profile: excellent safety profile

Fennel – Strengthens Digestion, reduces intestinal gas and cramping making it an effective pain reliever, reduces inflammation, kills toxins, powerful antioxidant, cancer fighter
Safety rating: excellent safety profile

Cinnamon – Great warming spice for irregular agni, Increases circulation, reduces intestinal spasms and gas,  lowers cholesterol and blood sugar, reduces inflammation, anti microbial
Safety Profile: safe in doses of 1 tsp daily

Cardamom – Cardamon is a relative of Ginger and Turmeric. It increases digestion, particularly heavy, hard to digest food, warming anti mucous herb, pain relieving, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory. Sprinkled in coffee will reduce acidity and mucous from milk
Safety Profile: No herb drug

Turmeric – Blood purifier, liver restorative, antimicrobial and anti bacterial, antioxidant,  anti inflammatory, anti cancer, Its nourishing to the heart. Helps with blood circulation and stops the formation of new plaque.Reduces existing plaque in the arteries.It protects the liver by increase bile flow. It normalizes cholesterol and has been used in the treatment of diabetes. It strengthens digestion & helps to restore intestinal flora.


Meet your facilitator: Eleni Tsikrikas

Eleni discovered YOGA as a means for reducing stress in 1995 while practicing law in Sydney, Australia. Smitten, Eleni completed the Sydney Yoga Centre’s teacher training course. In 2000, Eleni quit the legal profession to teach Yoga full time. In 2004 Eleni moved to Los Angeles and began intensive study with Robert Birnberg a senior student in the T. Krichnamacharya lineage. The major focus of her studies is the “Yoga Sutras of Pantajali” the guidebook dedicated to creating a satvic mind.

Eleni is a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist, CAS, a Pancha Karma Specialist PKS. She runs a private ayurvedic practice and teaches “Ayurvedic Skills for Living” courses in Silverlake and Sydney. She is a faculty member of The Yoga Institute in Sydney and at California College of Ayurveda, where she teaches and mentors students. She continues to pursue her passion for herbs, studying with renowned herbalist KP Khalsa. Eleni has completed the educational component leading to qualifications as a Western Herbalist. She is presently working on the accreditation process for the American Herbalist Guild.

Eleni passionately believes food is medicine and is looking forward to sharing her passion at The Yoga Institute with a monthly Ayuveda Workshop.

Monthly Ayurveda Workshop info and booking

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