What Is the Best Tea to Drink for Anxiety?
Are you interested in finding the best tea for anxiety? Drinking tea to feel calm and relaxed is is an easy and affordable option. Whether you like the convenience of pre-packaged tea bags or enjoy the process of steeping loose leaf tea, there is something for everyone.
Although teas are not the same as supplements, they can still interact with the 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.
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
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.
1. Chamomile Tea
Bigelow Cozy Chamomile Herbal Tea Bags
Chamomile tea (Matricaria chamomilla/Chamaemelum nobile) is a popular and effective choice for relaxation and anxiety reduction. It’s my favorite, aside from green tea! Up here in Canada, I enjoy a cup of chamomile tea from Tim Horton’s, but chamomile tea prepared at home can be just as delicious and satisfying. More than once, I’ve sipped a chamomile tea to try and steady my nerves.
That being said, not everyone enjoys the flavor of chamomile tea. I’d describe it as having a floral flavor, but not in the same way as lavender. To me, it is very subtle and soothing.
If you’re curious about why chamomile is so relaxing, there is evidence that when you drink chamomile tea, it binds to receptors in your brain (known as GABA receptors) that help to calm you down. Xanax works the same way, albeit on a much smaller scale.
If I had to pick just one tea for anxiety, chamomile would be it.
2. Green Tea
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) is another good choice for anxiety reduction. It has a slightly bitter taste but is often paired with other flavors (e.g., peach, pomegranate) that can make it taste sweeter if that’s your preference.
In the summertime, I enjoy making iced green tea using a tumbler like this that I purchased from David’s Tea at the Eaton’s Centre in Toronto. This works especially well if you choose a green tea blend.
Why does green tea help anxiety? This type of tea contains a compound called L-theanine, which has anti-anxiety effects. Green tea also has caffeine, but it’s in a much milder form than you would find in black tea, for example.
3. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea (Mentha piperita)
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Research evidence has shown that peppermint () 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.
4. Valerian Root Tea
Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night Valerian Root Relaxation 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.
5. Kava Tea
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.
6. Passionflower Tea
Buddha Teas Organic Passion Flower Tea
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)
7. Lemon Balm Tea
Traditional Medicinals Organic 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.
8. Rose Tea
The Tao of Tea, Rose Petal Black Tea
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.
9. Lavender Tea
Buddha Teas Organic Lavender Tea
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.
10. Ashwagandha Tea
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 tea, you are likely to notice reduced anxiety.
Plus, it’s also filled with antioxidants, making it a healthy choice.
11. Black Tea
Bigelow English Teatime Black Tea Bags
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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Turmeric Tea
Traditional Medicinals Organic Turmeric
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.
15. Fennel Tea
Traditional Medicinals Organic Fennel Tea
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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Paul Pool says
This is a great overview! I know Chamomile tea already and love it, will definitely try some of the other teas you recommended! Thank you and keep up the awesome work!
Arlin Cuncic, M.A. says
Thank you, I’m glad it was helpful!