The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 might have brought this medicinal drink into fresh limelight, but almost every Indian home is familiar with the kadha. Daily consumption of this ayurvedic herbal decoction was recommended by the Indian Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) as one of the key methods to boost your immune system. But much before, many of our ancestors have passed down this recipe to us as part of their traditional knowledge of natural remedies.
Ayurveda, naturopathy and alternative medicine experts have touted the immense benefits this drink can impart for decades now. While the benefits of this drink are not backed by western medicine yet, the potential of all the individual ingredients that go into it has been acknowledged by modern science. Working on your immunity is a lifelong process, and if you’re looking for a natural way to do it, then including kadha in your everyday routine would be a great start.
Benefits of drinking kadha
The reason why kadha is considered to be such a potent immune booster is because of its many components. A kadha is made with dry ingredients that cannot be juiced, hence these ingredients are added to water and boiled to extract the nutrients within. According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, herbal teas like the kadha are a rich source of natural bioactive compounds or antioxidants like carotenoids, phenolic acids, flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins, terpenoids, polyacetylenes, coumarins and many others.
Improving the antioxidant status of the body is a well-known way to reduce the risk of all types of diseases, because all of these antioxidants improve the antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antithrombotic and vasodilatory actions of the immune system. Not only does drinking kadha keep seasonal and chronic diseases at bay, but it also improves the quality of your skin and works as a natural anti-ageing agent.
How to make kadha
Given the benefits of drinking kadha every day, you might want to learn how to make it. It takes about 10 minutes, tops, if you have all the ingredients. Now, this is where it does get a bit tricky because there are many variations of the kadha recipe which experts believe to be equally beneficial.
The recipe recommended by the AYUSH ministry, for example, includes tulsi (Indian basil), cinnamon, black pepper, dry ginger and raisins. The one given by popular Patanjali Ayurved founder, Ramdev, includes mulethi (liquorice) and giloy (heart-leaved moonseed) along with tulsi, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and black pepper. Some even recommend the addition of cardamom pods to this recipe.
No matter which recipe you choose to pick up, remember that the decoction must be boiled for at least 10 minutes or until it reduces by at least half. So, if you want a cup of kadha, start with two or two-and-a-half cups of water. It’s also important to remember that adding sugar to sweeten kadha is a big no-no. Use honey or jaggery instead. Ensure that you make a fresh batch of kadha every day with clean or fresh herbs and spices to get the best results.
For more information, read our article on How to boost immunity: AYUSH ministry advice.
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