Zen Mode 6 MIN READ 95 VIEWS December 27, 2022

Tea for Anxiety: Is This a Good Idea?

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Tea for Anxiety

Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world and this is not without reason. Tea lovers across the globe testify to its flavourful taste and relaxing benefits. Sitting with friends or family and sipping on a cup of hot tea is the most preferred tea-drinking concept – it’s called ritualised relaxation. Read through to know how tea for anxiety works and what are the best stress relief tea experts vouch for. 

How Does Tea for Anxiety Work?

The compounds present in tea are responsible for its unique taste and amazing benefits. Here’s how tea helps with anxiety:

  • L-theanine – Up to 3% of the dry weight of brewed green tea is L-theanine, an amino acid. It is one of the important compounds found in tea and helps balance mood. 
  • Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) – 42% of the dry weight of brewed green tea accounts for Epigallocatechin gallate, an antioxidant that makes the brain feel calmer and more attentive.
  • Caffeine – Up to 5% of the dry weight of green tea is caffeine, a natural stimulant that is known to improve mood, alertness, and cognitive functioning. As teas with higher concentration of caffeine can contribute to anxiety, caffeine-free teas can help reduce anxiety. 

Scientific research shows that the compounds found in tea directly act on the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, the mechanism that controls the body’s stress response system. This reduces the levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormones. Furthermore, L-theanine triggers the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid), which helps reduce anxiety and stress levels.

Other Benefits of Tea

Besides tapering off stress and anxiety levels, a tea-drinking routine helps correct many underlying medical conditions. These are:

  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce insomnia symptoms
  • Soothe an upset stomach
  • Clear off digestive troubles
  • Improve menstrual cramps
  • Helps recover from nausea and motion sickness
  • Ease symptoms of morning sickness
  • Improve blood pressure levels

Best Teas for Stress and Depression

The type of tea you choose and the way it is brewed will decide its stress-alleviating properties. The best tea for stress and depression are:

1. Green Tea

Green tea is the most popular tea type. Being a herbal tea, it is loaded with antioxidants that confer numerous health benefits. Research suggests that green tea is the best tea for stress and depression. The tea packs high amounts of epicatechin, a flavonoid that protects the brain from oxidative damage. This helps neutralise stress levels and protects the brain from age-related memory decline. With the highest amounts of L-theanine, the amino acid fights anxiety attacks. 2-3 cups of green tea a day helps improve stress levels, reduce fatigue, promote better sleep, and aid weight loss.

2. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea, made from dried chamomile flowers, is one of the most preferred tea flavours. The flowers of Chamomile resemble the daisy flower and are touted for their stress-soothing properties. The tea is naturally caffeine free, which acts as an advantage against mounting stress levels. Chamomile tea packs high amounts of an antioxidant called Apigenin. It is believed that Apigenin targets serotonin and melatonin, the neurological receptors in the brain to decrease stress and induce sleepiness. The tea’s muscle-relaxing properties help soothe headaches associated with stress and anxiety. 

3. Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea can be enjoyed both hot and cold. Prepared using the common herb commonly used as a seasoning, peppermint tea offers more than a great aroma and rich taste. Research suggests that compounds responsible for the enticing aroma of peppermint tea also help reduce feelings of frustration, anxiety, and fatigue. The compounds have natural antispasmodic and sedative properties that help the mind and body relax. To top it up, peppermint tea is also good for correcting digestive troubles.   

4. Rosehip Tea

Rosehip is an accessory fruit of a species of the rose plant. Ranging from bright red, and orange to occasionally purple, the fruit contains high amounts of polyphenols and anthocyanins that have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Rosehip plants also possess natural analgesic properties that help relieve pain. It is loaded with vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights stress levels. The plant is naturally caffeine-free, making rosehip tea a calming tea for anxiety.

5. Valerian Root Tea

The roots of the valerian plant have long been used as a herbal remedy to treat insomnia and sleep disorders. Commonly referred to as ‘nature’s valium’ because of its high sedative compounds, valerian root tea helps regulate GABA levels in the brain. This helps support nerve impulses which bring down stress levels. Research suggests that valerian root tea also helps improve focus and induces clear thinking. It helps keep serotonin and norepinephrine levels balanced which helps manage long-term stress levels. 

6. Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon balm tea is a popular wellness tea option. The herb contains compounds that help relieve stress and lower anxiety levels. The calming lemon scent and the rosmarinic acid, both help activate the GABA receptors in the brain. The lemon balm helps improve concentration levels by stimulating memory and brain power. The rich aroma of the lemon balm helps ease muscle tension, reduce muscle cramps and provides relief from headaches.

7. Lavender Tea

While the lavender scent is amazingly popular in aromatherapy, it also makes the best tea for anxiety. The compounds present in lavender, a small aromatic purple flower, have great calming benefits. Lavender tea made from the dried buds of the lavender plant is a great tea for anxiety. Sipping a cup of hot lavender tea helps relax muscles, calm nerves, relieve stress, ease headache and muscle pain, and soothe tension. Naturally rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, it helps ease muscle stiffness, a key indicator of stress.

8. Passionflower Tea

Passionflower is a beautiful wildflower. Its leaves are used to roll out a mild-flavoured tea, called passionflower tea. Passionflower is a known remedy for anxiety as it helps maintain GABA levels. A great source of phytochemicals and alkaloids, the compounds work to help reduce stress chemicals in the body, making it feel relaxed and calm. A perfectly brewed cup of passionflower tea also helps reduce inflammation, improve sleep quality and ease digestive issues.

9. Ashwagandha Tea

Ashwagandha is a popular Ayurvedic herb. The evergreen shrub has great medicinal value and is widely used to calm the brain, reduce inflammation/swelling, lower blood pressure, and improve the immune system response. Ashwagandha plant is known to possess high adaptogenic properties. This helps maintain normal endocrinological balance and helps reduce stress and anxiety.

10. Tulsi Tea

Tulsi is one of the most coveted plants in the world. It is often referred to as ‘the incomparable one, ‘elixir of life’ and ‘queen of the herbs’. The plant enjoys this status because of its powerful health-healing benefits. Tulsi tea prepared using fresh tulsi leaves helps uplift both physical and mental health. A hot cup of tulsi tea is a great mood lifter. It reduces stress and anxiety instantly. Tulsi basil extract also helps reduce the symptoms of GAD. It is also helpful in easing stomach troubles, cough and arthritis pain.

11. Ginger Tea

Ginger is one of the most commonly used spices. Its scintillating taste and rich aroma make it a perfect flavouring agent. But its health benefits extend beyond that. Ginger packs 14 unique antioxidants and bioactive compounds that help combat stress, improve cognitive function and ease muscle soreness. The antioxidants help neutralise oxidative stress and related damage. Ginger extracts in tea affect serotonin levels in the brain, making it the perfect tea for anxiety.

12. Fennel Tea

Fennel, or saunf as it is popularly known in Hindi, is a herb with yellow flowers. The elongated, dried, green seeds of the plant are commonly used in Indian cooking. Adding fennel seeds to tea while brewing confers a rich, enticing aroma. The compounds in fennel seeds help relax the muscles, helping reduce stress and anxiety. Drinking fennel tea is also a great home remedy for reducing depression among women experiencing menopause symptoms.

13. Cinnamon Tea

Easiest to prepare and the most flavourful, cinnamon tea is the most-loved version of tea. Brewing a cinnamon stick in water for about 15 minutes before completing the tea-making process is all it needs to enjoy a cup of cinnamon tea. Avid tea lovers vouch for its stress-relieving properties. The compounds in cinnamon calm the nervous system and help reduce stress. It also helps reduce anxiety and pain caused due to menstrual cramps.

Conclusion

Tea is a popular beverage consumed across the world. After the simple steps of preparing a cup of tea to sitting back and enjoying the rich scent and flavourful taste; each sip promises pleasure. Furthermore, the compounds present in tea act on the section of the brain that relaxes muscles and reduces stress. But tea with high caffeine content like black tea can contribute to anxiety. On the other hand, there is a section of tea types that help you ease down and feel more relaxed and calm. As each tea type has a unique flavour and aroma, the best tea for anxiety will be the one that scintillates your taste buds and nurtures your body and mind completely.

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