We all search for calm amidst the storms of life. One excellent method for relaxation is to find a ritual you enjoy and that includes natural compounds that can help reduce stress and tension.
Preparing and sipping a cup of herbal tea serves two purposes. The tea itself can have a natural calming effect, and the soothing routine of preparing the drink is both distracting and soothing.
Some herbal teas are more likely to help reduce anxiety than others. Let’s take a look at five great choices.
Chamomile tea is perhaps the most well-known herbal tea. Used around the world for centuries to soothe and heal, chamomile is synonymous with the healing powers of tea.
Chamomile tea is made from dried chamomile flowers. Chamomile contains a flavonoid called apigenin. This compound is an antioxidant that helps the body reduce inflammation that can result from stress and it’s also been studied as a sleep aid and anxiety reducer.
Chamomile tea isn’t a good choice for everyone. It may exacerbate pollen allergies, and some people are allergic to chamomile itself. It also has the potential to be harmful to babies in the same way as honey.
One of the best things about peppermint tea is that it tastes great! It also smells wonderful. Peppermint tea contains the muscle relaxant menthol. Tight muscles are a physical manifestation of stress and anxiety and relieving the symptom can help us feel calmer.
Peppermint tea can also help you sleep. Relaxed muscles and reduced tension, combined with good sleep hygiene, can help promote a good night’s sleep. Getting adequate sleep is a powerful method of relieving anxiety and coping with stress.
Peppermint tea is not for everyone. In particular, it can exacerbate the symptoms of GERD. There is no consensus on the safety of peppermint tea for pregnant women (this is true of all herbal products) so be sure to check with your doctor if you’re pregnant or nursing.
Lemon Balm Tea
The lemon balm plant is part of the mint family and lemon balm tea is filled with antioxidants. The plant has a mild lemony scent and the tea has a mild citrusy flavor. Lemon balm tea originated in the Mediterranean and has been used as an herbal medicine for centuries.
At least one study showed a distinct reduction in anxiety and insomnia in a test group using lemon balm. Lemon balm has something called a relaxing nervine, which means it has a calming effect on the nervous system.
Lemon balm also promotes the production of neurotransmitters that help your body handle stress. Lemon balm tea can be calming, help you sleep, and reduce anxiety.
Lemon balm can interact with some medications, including sedatives, so be sure to talk to your doctor about the safety of lemon balm tea for your anxiety.
The first thing to know about green tea is that it has some caffeine. While that’s usually something to avoid when we want to relax, green tea might be an exception.
Green tea is packed full of antioxidants. Anxiety can increase free radicals and oxidative stress, so your body needs those antioxidants to maintain a balance.
Green tea also contains the amino acid L–theanine, which increases dopamine production and stimulates neurotransmitters that help calm the mind and body.
If you're very sensitive to the effects of caffeine, you might want to choose an herbal tea instead.
Lavender is a very common aromatherapy essential oil, a popular fragrance, and a centuries-old herbal medication. And you can make it into herbal tea!
Lavender tea has the aroma so many people love and it, like lemon balm, is considered a nervine, promoting relaxation and sometimes sleepiness. Lavender tends to have a less sedative effect than other nervines but can calm a frazzled nervous system.
Lavender can interact with some medications, so check with your doctor. Also, lavender’s distinctive aroma is not for everyone. If you don’t love the scent, try a different tea.
Brewing the Perfect Cup of Soothing Tea
In the U.S., making tea is often a matter of microwaving some water and tossing in a teabag. But if you’re going to make herbal or green tea to help you relax, try to make the process as calming as the product.
Start with fresh water that tastes good. A filtering pitcher might be a good investment. Then follow these simple steps.
- Boil water in a kettle. You can use a microwave if you must, but the process of putting on the kettle and waiting for the water to heat can be meditative.
- As your water heats, warm your mug by rinsing it with warm water several times.
- Use a minimum of 1 teaspoon of tea per cup of water. If you’re using loose tea put it in a tea ball or strainer, if your tea happens to come in a bag, lucky you!
- Pour heated (but not still boiling) water over your tea and cover with a small plate or top.
- Steep for about 5 minutes. Check your tea package. Some teas may require more time.
- Add-ins. Now is the time to add a little honey or lemon, or some additional stress relievers. At Proerba we have Stress Functional Support (strawberry lemonade flavor) and Sleep Functional Support (lavender vanilla flavor) drops that you can put in your tea for extra flavor and extra calming.
- Enjoy your tea in a comfortable place. Soothing music, reading, or journaling are relaxing activities to pair with a cup of herbal tea to get the most out of its calming properties.
Tea is not going to extinguish your anxiety completely, but it can be a soothing part of your repertoire of calming activities for your mind and body. It is also very hydrating and often contains antioxidants that help keep your body healthy. Tea is the most popular drink in the world for a reason!