It seems counterintuitive but the moments when you feel like you don’t have a few minutes to spare to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea are precisely the moments when you really need to take a break. Take a few minutes out of your busy day, take deep breaths, quietly sip your tea, and feel your heart rate slow and your muscles relax.
While the very act of sitting down for tea time can be enough to calm frazzled nerves and put you in a better mood, you can increase the relaxation factor by sipping on some teas for stress. Black tea may have a higher caffeine content, which may worsen symptoms of anxiety, so consider choosing an herbal tea instead.
Chamomile has long been the go-to tea for relaxation and the science behind it is encouraging: A 2016 study found that long-term chamomile use reduces symptoms of generalized anxiety disorders.
Lavender is another popular choice for calming down and it’s backed by science: A study found that lavender oil aromatherapy lowered blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature, and also lulled d brain waves to a more relaxes state. Another study found that it improved sleep quality.
There are a number of other teas that can calm you down and give you a relaxed mind. Some to try:
Passionflower. This plant was used by Native Americans to treat various ailments. While it’s been used for ages in folk medicine, modern medicine is only now catching up. A trial published in Phytotherapy Research showed a link between herbal tea with purple passionflower and improved quality of sleep. Another study in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia found that dental patients who were given passionflower prior to surgery reported less anxiety.
Matcha. This Japanese tea is a more concentrated version of green tea. While green tea is made by steeping tea leaves in water and then discarding the leaves, matcha is made by grinding young, shade-grown tea leaves into a bright green powder. This is then mixed with water to give matcha its distinctive vibrant color.
Much of matcha’s purported powers may come from its antioxidant content. Long used in Japan to prevent obesity and treat skin issues, among other ailments, matcha hasn’t been studied extensively but available research is promising. One study conducted at the Kumamoto University in Japan showed that mice that were given matcha demonstrated reduced anxiety. This may be because of mechanisms related to the activation of dopamine and serotonin receptors; the two neurotransmitters are closely linked to mood and happiness.
Tulsi tea. Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is a close cousin of the garden-variety basil used to make pesto. As a tea, tulsi has a somewhat bitter, spicy flavor.
It has long been used by Ayurvedic practitioners to treat everything from respiratory problems like asthma to eye disorders, skin diseases, and diabetes, among many other health issues. The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine states that tulsi has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties, and that it can help improve mood, reduce anxiety, and help people feel more social. (Note: If you suspect that you may be suffering from depression, it’s best to seek the help of a professional so you can get the appropriate treatment.)
Blueberry tea. Blueberries have achieved superfood status due to their high antioxidant and nutrient content, which comes in a low-calorie package. (Gram for gram, blueberries have less sugar than other berries.) The fruit’s Vitamin C content as well as its flavonoids have been linked with many health benefits, including reducing anxiety.
Blueberry tea is made of the leaves of the blueberry plant, which also contain all the healthy goodness of the fruit that it bears.
Turmeric tea. Turmeric is an Indian spice that contains curcumin, which gives curry its yellow color. It has been linked to a number of health benefits, including improving skin and oral health, lowering blood pressure, and even lowering the risk of cancer.
Research has also linked it to a lower risk of depression. In a study of 40 people, participants took tests to measure memory, cognition, mood, and depression. At the end of the test, those who were given curcumin showed improved memory function and depression scores.
Visit Healthy Options for a range of calming teas.