Iced cerasee tea – reap the many health benefits from drinking a chilled version of this traditional Jamaican bitter beverage.
**disclaimer the information given in this post should not be used to compensate medical advice. This post also contains affiliate links please read my disclosure here
If you are from the Caribbean then you will probably know what this drink is and may know it by a different name. On the other hand, if you aren’t Caribbean then this herbal tea will confuse you. Hopefully by the end of the post those of you who aren’t from the Caribbean will become more familiar with cerasee. I’m going to show you how to make a iced cerasee tea. A chilled version of this traditional Caribbean beverage using tea bags (or leaves if you can get hold of it).
Like most Caribbean children cerasee played a crucial role in my life. In my household it was given to us to drink to “clean out our system” or “give us a “wash out” as my mother and grandmother would say. As an adult I still like to keep up with many traditions such as drinking a cup of cerasee tea for optimal health even if it’s just once in awhile.
What is cerasee
Cerasee (pronouced Sir-See) is a plant bearing orange and yellow bumpy fruit which grows in tropical climates – The Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the middle East. In the Caribbean it’s referred to by a few names depending on the Island including Corilla or Cersaille . Other parts of the world know it has karela, Bitter Gourd, Bitter Melon, Paria or Ampalaya just to name afew.
The fruit is green (turning yellow with age) rough with a bumpy texture that at best resembles a cucumber. In spite of it’s bitterness it is including in many international cuisines but in Jamaica the primary focus/use of cerasee is the stem, seeds and leaves for its medicinal properties.
Is cerasee tea good for you
Yes it is, while any people loathe the extremely bitter taste (trust me I do understand). Having drank it for the vast majority of my life I have grown used to it. I know any fellow island people who have also grown tolerant to the bitterness and benefit from its healing properties.
I would advise drinking a small amount of cerasee to begin with, maybe 1/2 a cup and work your way up to a cup. It does take some time especially if you hate anything that has a STRONG bitterness to it but the health benefits out weight the insipid taste.
The health benefits and uses of cerasee
This herbal powerhouse contains a protein called MAP30 which has antitumor and antiviral properties. Not only that there are an array of health benefits from drinking a cup of cerasee tea including;
- The leaves are rubbed and crushed to extract a liquid and used in a bath of water to treat – rashes, dermatitis, ulcers, eczema, itchy skin and chicken pox. You can also use this neat by rubbing the vine to extract the juice and using it that way.
- Bathing in cerasee is said to be good for autoimmune disease such as psoriasis, arthritis, gout, rheumatism other ailments such as sciatica overall pain can be alleviated too.
- Diabetes – studies have shown cerasee to improve glucose tolerance and lower blood sugar levels.
- Decrease menstrual cramps
- Urinary tract infections
- Abdominal pains
- Acne – it’s antibacterial properties are said to help manage flareups/inflammation
- Kidneys stones
- High cholesterol
Cerasee for detoxifying the body/weightloss
To me detoxifying the body is probably one of the must, if not important aspects of drinking cerasee tea. This herb is used as a tonic to purge the body of impurities by cleansing the body and blood.
You can detox and/or loose weight by drinking cerasee for 7-9 days then taking a break for 1-2 weeks. This is because cerasee can increase liver enzymes if too much is consumed over a short period of time.
Cerasee side effects
Although cerasee does have many amazing health properties and is a highly recommended plant. People of the following category should proceed with caution or avoid drinking at all costs.
- Pregnant/lactating women – cerasee is used a as an abortifacient therefore the aforementioned women should avoid at all costs.
- Can also cause vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps
- People with liver problems i.e hepatitis, cirrhosis should consult a doctor before consuming the tea
- Cerasee can intervene with medication, again seek medical advice prior to using
- Diabetics/hypoglycemic – due to it’s ability to lower blood sugar levels, it might cause an adverse response.
For safety purposes if you are afflicted by any ailments I can’t stress how important it is to seek medical attention before contemplating cerasee. I am not a doctor, rather I am just promoting the health benefits of drinking cerasee so this post should not be a substitute for medical treatment.
How to make iced cerasee tea
- Pour cold water into a large saucepan and bring to the boil (if using leaves or ginger, boil both together). (picture 1)
- Once boiled add the teabags and allow the teabags to steep in the water for 10-15 minutes. (picture 2)
- Once the tea has brewed (should be a dark tanned colour) discard the teabags/leaves/ginger by straining or using a slotted spoon (picture 3)
- Allow to cool before pouring into a jug and sweeten if needed (to take the edge off, not the bitterness completely) (picture 4)
- Pour into glasses and serve with ice
Frequently asked questions
Where can I buy cerasee tea
You can purchase Jamaican Cerasee Tea using this link here online or from any Asian/Afro-Caribbean grocery store
Is there a way to eliminate the bitter taste
You can try adding sweetener as suggested but the bitterness is soooooo potent that it cannot be omitted.
How many cups of cerasee can I drink a day
1-2 cups is enough to reap the health benefits.
Can I mix the cerasee with another tea
I wouldn’t advise this as it might be contradicted, just drink the cerasee by itself.
Notes and tips for making the best iced cerasee tea
- Make sure the water is boiled before adding the teabags
- Allow the tea to brew before removing the teabags. The longer the tea is left to brew the more bitter and stronger the taste will be.
- Sweetener will help to reduce the bitterness somewhat but it’s recommended to drink it in it’s neat form.
- For detoxing, drink the tea for no more then 9 days straight, make sure to take a 1-2 week break between consumption
- Cerasee is also spelt carassie it’s the same thing!
More Caribbean drinks you may like
Iced cerasee tea
Learn how to make Iced cerasee tea, chilled summer Caribbean beverage
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4
4 cerasee teabags (or a bunch of leaves if you can get hold of them)
8 cups of water (1 litre + 1/2 ltr)
a thumb sized amount of ginger (optional)
Low GI sweetener (coconut sugar, nectar, agave, raw maple syrup)(optional)
Pour cold water into a large saucepan and bring to the boil (if using leaves or ginger, boil both together).
Once boiled add the teabags and allow the teabags to steep in the water for 10-15 minutes.
Once the tea has brewed (should be a dark tanned colour) discard the teabags/leaves/ginger by straining or using a slotted spoon.
Allow to cool before pouring into a jug and sweeten if needed (to take the edge off, not the bitterness completely)
Pour into glasses and serve with ice
Make sure the water is boiled before adding the teabags
Allow the tea to brew before removing the teabags. The longer the tea is left to brew the more bitter and stronger the taste will be.
Sweetener will help to reduce the bitterness somewhat but it’s recommended to drink it in it’s neat form.
For detoxing, drink the tea for no more then 9 days straight, make sure to take a 1-2 week break between consumption
Cerasee is also spelt carassie it’s the same thing!