Legend has it that the origin of chai dates back more than 5,000 years when a king in what is now India ordered a healing spiced beverage be created for use in Ayurveda, a traditional medicinal practice in which herbs and spices are used for healing. The heat from the ginger and black pepper was believed to stimulate digestion; the antiseptic properties in cloves were thought to help relieve pain; cardamom was used as a mood elevator; cinnamon supported circulation and respiratory function, and star anise was known to freshen the breath. As the healing beverage spread across India a wide variety of spices were used to prepare the drink, depending on the region of the continent or even the neighborhood where the beverage was being made. Believe it or not, original versions of “masala chai”, or “spiced tea”, contained no actual Camellia sinensis tea leaves. Milk and sugar were also later additions to the famous drink. The addition of black tea leaves, milk, and sugar was popularized thousands of years later (in the mid-1800s) when the Camellia sinensis assamica tea plant variety was discovered in India and cultivated by the British, who ruled the continent at the time and had an insatiable desire for strong black tea with milk and sugar. How can it help our skin? The spices in chai help stimulate circulation which boosts blood flow to the skin and gives you a healthy glow. The mix of cinnamon and pepper can help protect your skin The clove harnesses the antibacterial properties and can rid the hands of germs, which is great for cold and flu season. Clove and nutmeg oils can help seal the outer layer of your hair and prevent frizz. Ginger root is perfect for post-workout as it helps soothe achy muscles. If you want these benefits you can get them in our Pumpkin Chai collection of products. If you would like a fun DIY project try this recipe from Garden Therapy. Chai Spice Lip Balm Recipe Ingredients Makes 12 tubes or metal tins. 4 tbsp castor oil 4 tsp beeswax pellets 1 tsp carnauba wax 4 drops vanilla absolute essential oil 2 drops cinnamon leaf essential oil 1 drops clove essential oil 1 drops ginger essential oil Optional ¼ tsp cocoa powder Make it! Melt the oil and waxes in a double boiler. Remove from heat, add essential oils, and blend well. If you want your lip balm to have a little color to it, add the optional cocoa powder at the same time as the essential oils (without the cocoa it will be a natural creamy color). Keep stirring as you pour the lip balm into tubes as the cocoa will settle quickly. Leave untouched to set. A Note About Safety and Essential Oils in Homemade Skincare All homemade recipes should be spot tested on your body before use. While the ingredients are “natural” and come from plants, plants are powerful. Some people could have adverse reactions to one or more of the ingredients in any homemade recipe. This recipe contains a few essential oils that are warming to skin. These “hot” oils are more prone to cause a reaction in some people. They should be diluted and never applied directly to the skin. Test a small amount of the completed recipe on the inside of your elbow and wait for 24 hours to see if any redness or rashes appear. Read more about using essential oils safely here .