Taking a moment’s break to make yourself a hot, soothing cup of tea is a bit of an underrated relaxation technique. The chemistry of the tea is just another cherry on the top!
Tea has deep, ancient roots. Infusing leaves and flowers with hot water and sometimes milk is a centuries-old ritual. And yet its benefits have not ceased to exist.
In today’s article, we’ll discuss herbal teas specifically in the context of anxiety and stress. Let’s see how herbal tea helps reduce stress, and what are the best teas for anxiety? And then, we will look at the best types of herbal teas to cope with stress.
How Does Herbal Tea Help Reduce Stress?
Certain hormones or chemical compounds circulating in our bodies are associated with stress. That may seem like bad news. But it also tells us that we can relieve stress by tinkering with the level of these compounds in blood.
Calming tea, such as mint tea, is popular for its relaxing effects on the muscles of the body. This muscle relaxation can also help reduce anxiety, stress, and feelings of restlessness.
Some teas do that by increasing feel-good hormones in the body. Others directly interact with the receptors in the brain to slow down brain activity. This way, they calm your disturbing thoughts and anxiety.
Some do their job by helping you lose weight. However, since obesity predisposes you to increased stress levels, weight loss can be a great long-term investment.
Best Teas To Relieve Stress
Here we have the best five herbal teas that can help relieve stress in ways more than you can imagine:
1. Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon balm tea had to be the leader of this list, originating from Melissa officinalis, commonly known as the lemon balm. Lemon Balm is a herb with a lemon scent, used for its relaxing, calming properties for thousands of years.
A 2014 study supported the stress-relieving effects of lemon balm tea on humans. The magic compound that does it all for our lemon balm tea is rosmarinic acid. Rosmarinic acid has considerable neuroprotective effects that benefit your brain’s health and improve cognitive function and memory.
It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential that kills the free radicals in our body, causing oxidative stress. Lemon Balm tea modulates dopamine and serotonin receptors in your brain to help cope with depression and stress.
For herbal teas hence, lemon balm can be a go-to tea for anxiety and stress.
Matcha is the rich, green powder obtained from the famous tea plant Camellia Sinensis. But Matcha is different from regular tea in that it is shade-grown and contains larger quantities of caffeine and L-theanine.
Now caffeine may seem like a contrasting compound here, with its relation to the jitters and all. But the amino acid L-theanine makes it the safest to use.
L-theanine slows caffeine metabolism so that caffeine enters the blood slowly. Secondly, L-theanine enters the central nervous system and influences the action of various neurotransmitters. This is how it reduces stress and immediately relaxes your body.
L-theanine increases dopamine and serotonin levels. Both hormones improve mood and relieve stress and anxiety. This makes Matcha tea a perfect choice for those dealing with mood swings, stress, and anxiety problems. Its antioxidant potential is just another huge additional benefit.
3. Lavender Tea
Relaxation and soothing effects are two key characteristics of lavender tea. It has unarguable aromatherapeutic properties. In addition to that, Lavender tea directly influences our nervous system. By doing so, it decreases heart rate, adrenaline secretions, and breathing rhythm.
These effects help relieve anxiety since a disturbed heart rate is a major manifestation of stress and anxiety.
The biggest flex with lavender tea is that it does not cause sedation. It calms you down, relieves your stress without slowing your life. Besides, it is inexpensive, smells beautiful, and is a self-care symbol that makes you feel good about yourself.
Lavender herbal tea tames the feelings of restlessness and anxiety and helps cope with depression.
4. Green Tea
The list seemed incomplete till now, didn’t it?
Matcha tea and green tea have the same origin, Camellia sinensis. Green tea has a better caffeine profile than Matcha, which may or may not be beneficial for some.
If you are looking for a tea for stress and anxiety that improves focus and wakes you up as well, green tea is the way to go. In addition to the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits, green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine.
L-theanine in green tea improves mood by increasing the level of feel-good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. Green tea has the highest content of polyphenol flavonoids. These compounds belong to the catechins family that protect against cellular damage and aging.
5. Peppermint Tea
Steeping peppermint leaves in hot water releases aromatherapeutic essential oils. Peppermint essential oil has antiviral and anti-microbial properties. It also strengthens the immune system and protects against cancer.
The most magical peppermint tea benefit is its muscle relaxing, calming, and pain-relieving potential. Peppermint leaves-infused tea is equally magical for anxiety, restlessness, disturbing thoughts that induce stress.
Best Teas to Relieve Anxiety
The best teas to relieve anxiety will be those which have sedating effects. Let’s see which herbal calm teas contain chemical compounds with the ability to slow down your nervous system and calm you down.
1. Rose Teas
We know the rose plant or Rosa damascena for its ornamental properties. But nature has packed this rose plant with immense therapeutic benefits. This age-old, resilient plant species had its first therapeutic application in the traditional Chinese diet regimen.
Rose tea contains antioxidant vitamins C and E and the phytonutrients that fight against the oxidative stress in our body. Traditionally, the Greeks and Buddhists monks used rose tea for muscle cramps for its spasmolytic potential.
Drinking dried rose flower petals in tea has become a self-care symbol. Apart from its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, rose water aromatherapy has anxiolytic potential. With that said, even the process of making rose tea for yourself and breathing through all those aromas is highly beneficial against those stress!
2. Chamomile Tea
When looking for stress-relieving teas, the name “Chamomile” pops up a lot. And that’s not surprising given its popularity. Research says that over 1 million cups of chamomile tea are consumed every day!
Chamomile is a flower that belongs to the daisy family. For centuries, people have been using chamomile to cure anxiety and stress. That’s why it is also known as “The Queen of Calm.”
But what is it in this flower which makes it so effective for reducing stress? Chamomile contains a large amount of flavonoid called apigenin. And this apigenin contributes a great deal to memory repair and stress relief. Some studies even say that it has antidepressant effects too.
3. Valerian Tea
Valeriana officinalis is a herb with golden benefits in its roots and stems. Dating back to ancient Rome and Greece, Valeriana-infused tea has immense sleep aid and relaxing benefits due to its GABA activity.
Valerian tea has compounds that increase GABA and serotonin levels in our body; both compounds modulate sleep and relaxation.
One study found that when a group of people consumed valerian tea 1 hour before bedtime, not only did their sleep quality improve but their anxiety symptoms as well.
Unlike the herbal teas we mentioned for scented flowers and aromatherapy, valerian root gives a strong odour to the valerian tea. But given the research and medicinal benefits against stress and anxiety, valerian tea is worth a chance.
4. Kava Tea
Kava or Piper methysticum is known as the best ritual tea to treat anxious people. It works by the most effective mechanism of GABA receptor modulation and increasing GABA blood levels. GABA acts in the CNS to relax body muscles and slow down brain activity.
Because of the recent research and its anxiolytic effects, experts recommend kava tea more than ever for generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). Soon after consuming kava tea, most people report feeling less fatigued, less irritable, and calmer overall.
Since Kava tea has the least side effects and caffeine content, it has special applications in treating teenage anxiety.
5. Passionflower Tea
Native to South America and the southeastern United States, passionflower is well-known for its ability to fight stress and anxiety. It has been a long time since people first started to use passionflower as a sedative to help in sleep. But research has found that it is also an effective agent when dealing with insomnia, anxiety, pain, and more.
Passionflower helps increase the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels in the brain. Gamma-aminobutyric acid is a naturally occurring substance that lowers the activity in the nervous system. This results in restful sleep, a feeling of calmness, and an enhanced mood.
Are All Teas Calming?
Yes, and no. While all teas have the potential to be calming, some contain active ingredients like caffeine which can be troublesome.
So, here we have the best compilation of herbal teas for anxiety and stress. Irrespective of the mechanism, your favourite anxiety tea is also your general health keeper. These plant-infused teas also have immense protective potential against obesity, oxidative stress, and inflammatory conditions.