Who isn’t dealing with stress and anxiety? This is of course a rhetorical question. Partially due to advancements in technology, life seems to get busier every day. Sometimes the best way to deal with it all is to keep calm and drink tea (instead of carrying on). Tea has been used as medicine for ages. Its benefits range from cold relief and weight loss to protecting brain health and possibly preventing certain types of cancer. And last but not least, the best teas for stress help you relax.
Stress is a killer: It can lead to high blood pressure, increasing cardiovascular morbidity and coronary heart disease risk. This makes taking time out of your day for self-care — like a cup of relaxing tea — a literal lifesaver. “Many people get so caught up in day-to-day responsibilities that they don’t prioritize time to take care of themselves, however, placing importance on activities that encourage relaxation can make you better equipped physically, mentally and emotionally to face life’s daily stressors,” says Fred Helou, CEO of wellness company Vagaro.
Tea drinkers are less stressed than coffee drinkers. They tend to have more energy throughout the day, are more health-conscious, and less anxious, according to a survey: While coffee drinkers tend to feel the midday slump, 41 percent of those who favor tea claim they are typically brimming with that P.M. drive. And only 25 percent of tea drinkers report being weighed down by feelings of anxiety or stress, whereas for coffee drinkers, it’s 38 percent (two in five). Twenty-three percent of all respondents also named tea as their beverage of choice to unwind.
One way tea helps you feel calm is by lowering your blood pressure. A Californian study discovered that tea contains compounds that help blood vessels relax, keeping your blood pressure in check. To help you relax, StudyFinds reviewed health expert recommendations on ten websites to find the top-five best teas for stress. If you have any to add, please let us know in the comments. (Please always consult with a doctor if you are taking any medications or are pregnant or nursing before trying any teas.) Did we miss one? Let us know your recommendations in the comments below!
The List: Best Tea for Stress, According to Experts
1. Chamomile AND Lavender Tea
You don’t even have to choose between these fantastic herbs — just combine them! Verywell Health recommends Traditional Medicine’s Organic Chamomile and Lavender tea: This “tea tops our list for its blend of calming ingredients and quality production practices. It’s a blend of chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm, three herbs known to have calming effects. Chamomile and lavender may also support better sleep, so sipping this tea could be a nice addition to your bedtime routine.”
Healthline backs these statements up: “One 2016 study found that long-term use of chamomile extract significantly reduced moderate to severe symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).” As for lavender, “researchers in one 2010 study found that silexan, an oral lavender capsule preparation, was as effective as [sedative] lorazepam in adults with GAD.”
All experts we consulted highly recommended both herbs for relaxation. “Chamomile is well-known for its relaxing properties, and makes a soothing, aromatic cup of tea perfect for any time of day,” writes Artful Tea. “Lavender is another herb that has been shown to relieve stress and promote relaxation, making it a soothing addition to many of our teas and herbal infusions.”
2. Lemon Balm Tea
This tea seems to do it all, according to the experts. “Researchers in a 2018 study found that a lemon balm supplement reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, and insomnia in people with a heart condition,” writes Healthline.
“A popular calming herb, lemon balm tea is another great wellness tea option for relieving stress and anxiety. With a soothing lemon scent, lemon balm tea contains rosmarinic acid, which helps to activate GABA [(gamma-aminobutyric acid)] receptors in the brain. Plus, lemon balm has shown to be helpful in improving concentration levels by boosting memory and brain power. Similar to its use in aromatherapy, lemon balm taken as a tea also helps to reduce tension and relaxes muscles, relieving headaches and muscle cramps while soothing the digestive system,” adds Sipsby.
PsychCentral claims that this tea is the “best to help you relax.” “Lemon balm has been used since the 16th century for its mild sedative effect and pleasant lemony aroma. Even its name is calming. The word ‘balm’ means soothing or restorative.”
3. Peppermint Tea
This refreshing tea has calming properties as well! While “peppermint tea may also be helpful if you’re feeling fatigued, research suggests that the aroma may reduce feelings of frustration, anxiety, and fatigue,” writes Healthline.
“When it comes to relieving stress and anxiety, peppermint tea is a go-to for many people for good reason,” writes The Honest Consumer. “The menthol present in the herb produces a cooling effect that creates a pleasant diversion from pain or other irritations. A clinical study reported that inhalation of peppermint essence significantly reduced the level of anxiety in heart attack patients.”
CNET is partial to Tazo’s peppermint tea: “Tazo’s Refresh Mint tea is an infusion of peppermint, spearmint and a little tarragon. Mint is a natural anxiety and stress aid. A pilot study on peppermint […], in particular, suggests mint tea also enhances memory and improves sleep quality.”
4. Green Tea
This one’s a surprising pick since green tea contains caffeine. However, “green tea [also] contains an amino acid known as l-theanine,” which “helps to slow the absorption of caffeine and induces a natural calming effect. Studies show l-theanine may also have a natural anti-anxiety effect on the nervous system,” per Sencha Tea Bar.
Verywell Mind seconds this statement: “While it’s best known for its antioxidant properties, green tea can actually support relaxation as well. This is because it contains a compound known as L-theanine, which has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.” They add a word of advice though: “If you’re going to drink green tea for relaxation, we recommend choosing a decaffeinated version.”
Greatist cites two studies to support this advice: “In a small study, 20 students were given green tea with lower caffeine. Stress symptoms were lower in the test group and their stress response was suppressed compared to the placebo group. In another small study of 20 middle-aged adults, stress markers were lower in the group who drank reduced-caffeine tea compared to regular green tea. Also the low-caffeine green tea group had better sleep quality and less fatigue.”
Seven out of ten experts recommend passionflower to relax. On its origin: “native people of the Americas used it as an herbal remedy, and Spanish explorers in the 16th century took the plant to Europe. It has been cultivated there and is widely used for its calming properties,” says PsychCentral.
These properties make passionflower an ideal nighttime tea: “Passionflower is a powerful yet natural sleep aid,” writes CNET. “Recent studies suggest that it has the potential to treat sleep disorders that are often associated with anxiety, such as insomnia.”
The Honest Consumer explains the plant’s effects in detail: “Studies suggest that passionflower increases the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA slows down your brain by blocking specific GABA receptors and signals in your central nervous system. This results in relaxation, enhanced mood and better sleep.”
You might also be interested in:
- Artful Tea
- Verywell Mind
- Sencha Tea Bar
- Sips by
- Afternoon Tea Reads
- The Honest Consumer
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.