Historically, tea in India was viewed as a herbal medicine, rather than as a beverage for taste. Some chai spice blends still in current use are derived from Ayurvedic medical texts. Popular spices include anise, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, peppercorn and ginger. Traditional preparation actually calls for the spices, milk and leaves to be simmered over sustained heat, rather than steeped in preheated water. In India, chai is served in little clay cups from chai carts. After enjoying your tea, the cups are shattered on the ground and allowed to compost – an earth-friendly alternative to paper or plastic cups.