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IVAN CHAI: The Prized Tea of Ancient Russia

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Have you heard of this Russian tea? Some of the curious history and claimed health benefits surrounding this fascinating beverage may surprise you!

NOTE: There is a limited amount of detailed information regarding the history of Ivan Chai. The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advise or treatment.

Ivan Chai has a smooth, sweet, floral flavour with delicious depth; and although it is considered a black tea, it contains no harmful caffeine, uric acid, oxalic acid, taurine or purine as is common in black, green and white teas. This ancient beverage is teeming with amino acids, micro and macro nutrients, is rich in minerals, vitamins, flavonoids and antioxidants, and has been revered and enjoyed through Russian history for its luscious flavour, impressive immune boosting and detoxifying properties, and gentle soothing and healing abilities.


There are numerous legends surrounding the history of Ivan Chai. Here is a taste of what we have found.

Before the 20th century Ivan Chai was the daily drink of choice for all Russians, and despite its lack of attention here in the West, it is still cherished and liberally consumed in modern Russia. This ancient tea has deep roots dating back to the 12th or 13th century and some say that the Chinese and Indians actually took the technology of processing teas as well as the name “chai” from the Russians.

Ivan Chai was popular up until the beginning of the 20th century when it was ousted from the European market and replaced by Chinese and Indian teas. In fact, up until 1916, Russia was the largest supplier of tea in the world and in the 19th century Ivan Chai was the second most exported Russian item - even above linen and furs!

Some claimed that Ivan Chai was able to cure up to 90% of diseases and it was believed among the Russian peasants that drinking Ivan Chai would improve ones ability to handle physically demanding activities. In the early 1900's, Peter Badmayev, a Tibetan doctor residing in Russia, devoted most of his scientific work to uncovering the secret healing powers of Ivan Chai and wealthy folk came from all over the world to receive his treatments at his clinic near Koporye. His health and vitality is said to have been so strong that he fathered a child when he was over a hundred years old.

Russians say that Hitler was so afraid of doctor Badmayev's tea and the possible super-powers it might give to the Russian Red Army that he set out to destroy the research centre in the village of Koporye where experiments using Ivan Chai were being carried out. Doctor Badmayev was captured and tortured as a means to reveal his knowledge of longevity, but he never revealed his secrets and died shortly thereafter at 110 years of age due to the stress and abuse he had been put through in captivity.


Ivan Chai is collected during summer from the Fireweed plant (Chamaenerion angustifolium) and undergoes a very special type of fermentation called Oxidation. It is this method of Oxidation that makes Ivan Chai so incredibly healthy and tasty. Oxidation unlocks nutrients, expands the vitamin content, and releases new characteristics and qualities that would not be available through regular drying or souring.


Russian are still very convinced of the incredible health and healing properties of their beloved tea.

This is what Nikitin Albert Nikolayevich, an Academic, Professor, Doctor of Technical Science, laureate of the State Prize, wrote about Ivan Chai*: " Our study of fireweed revealed that, depending on the area, the tea contains 69 to 71 useful micro elements. This is 2/3 of the best part of the periodic table. And most importantly, it is an unsurpassed antiseptic. It is just stunning, there are no analogues in the natural world. Along with the antiseptic properties, it has the property of cleansing the body of toxins. This happens when the cell cannot cope with its functions. When using the tea the entire body is getting cleaned; after 2 weeks of regular use, you will feel the body beginning to blossom, fullness passes, and lightness appears. After taking 2 cups of tea, the hangover syndrome is removed. The tea contains about 17-18 amino acids that are very needed by everyone. That's why it is very important to drink fireweed today".

“Due to its soothing, anti-inflammatory, astringent (contraction of skin and tissues), enveloping, diaphoretic (inducing perspiration), emollient (gentle, soothing and softening) actions, Ivan Chai has become the basis for many remedies against a wide variety of diseases.”

  • Strengthens the immune system

  • Powerful antioxidant

  • Extremely anti-inflammatory, helping to relieve pain. Has the highest anti-inflammatory index among commonly known plants

  • Stabilizes blood pressure

  • Helps cleanse and detox the body

  • Aids digestion, gastroduodenitis and the healing of ulcers

  • Treats prostate adenoma and prostatitis

  • Relieves headaches

  • Soothes and calms stress and tension

  • Helps bring balance to the body

  • Improves mother’s milk and enhances lactation

  • Helps fight insomnia

  • Alkalizes the blood

  • Fights cancer cells

  • Helps with anemia

  • Fights infections and allergies

  • Helps with infertility in both men and women

  • Clears respiratory system

  • May aid in stoping smoking and in the treatment of alcohol addiction

  • Supports kidneys and urinary tract

  • Helps to increase strength and endurance

  • Soothes skin diseases such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, acne, furunculosis

  • Helps relieve menopause and menstral irregularities

  • Increases the absorption of nutrients and contains about 70 macro nutrients and vitamins. Trace minerals including copper, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, sodium, lithium, titanium, and molybdenum. Also includes 16 amino acids, and flavonoids.

  • Vitamins A, B, PP and C - Over 6x the vitamin C of lemons (Anything that has undergone fermentation will have its vitamin C content raised at least 20%.)

The Ivan Chai we craft here in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains is wild harvested in small batches, collected completely by hand from Northern Alberta's Boreal Forests. After carefully sorting and wilting the leaves, they are gently rolled by hand in the traditional fashion and left to oxidize for about 2 days. After the careful oxidation is complete, the tea is sun dried and lightly roasted in the oven to create that smooth floral depth that Russia has cherished for millennia.

Another unique and advantageous characteristic of Ivan Chai is that it can be successfully

re-steeped 3 times - and even up to five times - with excellent flavour and nutrition. This makes one of our bags of Ivan Chai yield a minimum of 57 cups of tea!

We drink our Ivan Chai year-round either hot, cold, creamed or iced, and we love sharing it with our friends and guests. Whether or not you're a tea drinker, give Ivan Chai a try and see if you are not both calmed by it and delighted with its lovely flavour.

Join the growing list of happy, healthier customers and order your Ivan Chai today.


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