Herbal Tea for Anxiety
Are you interested in trying tea for anxiety? Drinking tea to feel calm and relaxed is not pseudoscience! Many teas are made from herbs that promote relaxation.
Although teas are not the same as supplements, they can still interact with medications that you take. If you are taking any medication, particularly something for your mental health, it’s best to ask your doctor before choosing a specific tea with medicinal qualities.
Tea as an Anxiety Strategy
Drinking tea regularly can help you…
- reduce your baseline level of anxiety
- reduce insomnia at night (and prevent you from staying up all night worrying)
- give you a social outlet if you choose to drink tea with others
- give you a calming routine for times of stress
- provide you with healthy antioxidants to improve your immune system
What Teas Are Good for Anxiety?
Not every tea will be right for every person. So in this post, I am including a complete list of teas that you might find helpful. It could take some trial and error to find the one that’s right for you.
I know in my case, I enjoy green tea in the morning and herbal tea at night. In the summer, I like to drink iced green tea with fruit infusions.
If you are stuck on which of the following teas to try, I recommend starting with Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer that is caffeine-free and contains a blend of chamomile, lemon grass, peppermint, and other ingredients.
Chamomile Tea for Anxiety
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla/Chamaemelum nobile) is popular as a relaxing tea for a reason.
There is research evidence that chamomile tea binds to the GABA receptors in your brain.
GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, or a chemical in your brain that is involved in communication between nerve cells and that helps to keep you calm.
In this way, chamomile tea has an effect similar to Xanax (though much more mild), because it is targeting the same nervous system receptors.
- Traditional Medicinals Organic Chamomile with Lavender Herbal Tea
- Bigelow Cozy Chamomile Herbal Tea
- The Republic of Tea Chamomile Lemon Herbal Tea
Another tea that helps to increase GABA in the brain is green tea (Camellia sinensis).
Green tea is high in a compound called L-theanine, which has anti-anxiety effects, and also may help to raise your dopamine and brain alpha waves.
If you’re looking for a tea that you can drink on a daily basis and experience positive benefits in terms of your anxiety, green tea is an easy choice.
- The Republic of Tea Serenity SuperGreen Tea
- Tulsi Green Tea, Stress Relieving & Empowering
- Kirkland Ito En Matcha Blend Japanese Green Tea
Research evidence has shown that peppermint (Mentha piperita) tea is known to help boost mood, so if you’re struggling with depression in addition to social anxiety, peppermint tea could be a good option.
How does this tea have an uplifting effect?
It is believed that menthol and rosmarinic acid, which are properties of peppermint tea, may be responsible for its mood-boosting effects.
- Celestial Seasonings Peppermint Herbal Tea
- Heather’s Tummy Teas Organic Peppermint Tea for IBS
- 365 Everyday Value Organic Peppermint Tea
Valerian Root Tea
If you have trouble falling asleep at night due to anxiety, valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) tea might be a good option.
There is research evidence showing that valerian root acts as both a sedative and hypnotic, and has beneficial effects if you are living with mild or moderate insomnia.
What’s more, valerian root may help to reduce stress and tension because it has a muscle relaxant effect.
Whether you struggle to fall asleep at night or find yourself tense and tight sitting at your desk during the day, valerian root could be a good option.
- Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night Valerian Root Relaxation Tea
- Sleep Tea with Natural Valerian Root, Herbal Chamomile & Lemon Balm
Kava (Piper methysticum) tea is another tea that has been shown to target the GABA receptors in the brain, which can help to reduce anxiety.
There is some history of extended use of Kava leading to liver damage and liver failure, so it’s important to speak to your doctor if you plan to use Kava tea or supplements over an extended period of time.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) tea is “kava-lite.” It’s not nearly as strong as kava and fewer studies have confirmed its benefits, but many people swear that Passionflower has provided them with the same relaxation effects as kava without the same risk of side effects.
Because passionflower’s “dosing” isn’t quite as well known, it’s unclear whether store-bought teas provide enough of the flavonoids that make passionflower effective. Research has only focused on “drops” of passionflower extract, usually around 30 drops three times a day. In tea, the amount of flavonoids compared to a “drop” is much less clear. It’s best to start small and work your way up, seeing if there is any effect along the way.
(Watch the video below for tips on making an anti-anxiety tea)
Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) tea has been shown to lead to decreased anxiety and reduced stress.
You can find lemon balm on its own or combined with other herbs such as chamomile and valerian root, particularly when used as a sleep aid.
- Traditional Medicinals Organic Lemon Balm Tea
- Sleep Tea with Natural Valerian Root, Herbal Chamomile & Lemon Balm
Rose (Rosa spp.) tea is another good option if you are looking to reduce anxiety.
Rose tea has been shown to directly affect benzodiazepine receptors, similar to the action of medications like Xanax.
It’s believed that the flavonoids found in rose tea are responsible for its hypnotic effects and promotion of deep sleep and reduced insomnia, by targeting the stress hormone cortisol.
Rose tea is a good option if you have trouble with sleep and also feel anxious.
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) is a popular herb for reducing anxiety and stress, and lavender tea is no exception.
One study showed that the scent of lavender increased REM sleep and slow-wave sleep.
Lavender is also thought to increase dopamine (which creates feelings of happiness) and decrease cortisol (which causes you to feel stressed).
This means that lavender tea is the perfect choice if you are looking to get a better night’s sleep, have a more positive outlook on life, and reduce your stress.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is known to reduce anxiety, so it’s no surprise that ashwagandha tea has the same benefits.
Whether you take ashwagandha as a supplement or drink it as a tea, you are likely to notice reduced anxiety.
Plus, it’s also filled with antioxidants, making it a healthy choice.
Black tea is known to lower cortisol levels which can help to reduce your stress and anxiety.
If you drink black tea that combines other herbs such as peppermint, chamomile, and lemongrass (as does the Good Earth brand below), you’ll be getting a double dose of relaxation with every sip.
- Bigelow Traditional and Flavored Black Tea (Lemon Lift)
- Tazo Awake English Breakfast Black Tea
- Good Earth Herbal & Black Tea, Sweet & Spicy
Golden Root (Rhodiola) Tea
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) is known for its anti-anxiety effects in an energizing way.
This tea won’t calm you down.
Rather, it will boost your mood and energy by regulating hormones and promoting the production of serotonin in your brain.
This is the perfect tea to try mid-afternoon if you tend to feel like you need a nap, or first thing in the morning if you have trouble getting going.
Hormones have more of an effect on anxiety than most people realize, and a tea that can balance them out is worthwhile, particularly for women living with pre-menstrual symptoms.
Tulsi (Holy Basil) Tea
Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) or Tulsi tea has been used to promote overall well being and mood enhancement; there’s some evidence that it can help reduce symptoms of generalized anxiety.
It might be a good option to try if you have low mood in addition to your anxiety.
You’ve probably heard of the health benefits of turmeric (Curcuma longa) tea, but did you also know that it can have anti-anxiety or mood improving effects?
Turmeric tea is a good choice if you are looking for a new tea to try to reduce your anxiety.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) tea might be a good option for you if you live with irritable bowel syndrome in addition to anxiety.
One study also showed that fennel tea led to reductions in anxiety and depression symptoms, so I’ve rounded out the list by including it here.
Is there a particular tea that helps you to feel relaxed and more at ease?
Feel free to share your favorites in the comments so that others can find the best tea for them.
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