People have been drinking tea for centuries. Not only is it hailed for being delicious, but it's also been used throughout history for its medicinal properties. For instance, tea has been used to decrease inflammation and boost heart health. But what else can tea do?
Studies have found that drinking tea can have a positive impact on a person's mental health. For example, it can help relieve symptoms of anxiety. Tea is no longer a drink reserved for fancy parties or the Queen of England. It's a cost-effective way to soothe your mental health symptoms. So, get ready to set your clocks for tea time.
Benefits of Drinking Tea
- Boosts to your immune system
- Decreased inflammation
- Increased antioxidants
- Reduced chances of developing heart disease
- Strengthened teeth due to high rates of fluoride
Types of Tea
Each tea is unique and has different health benefits associated with it. It can be helpful to understand the different kinds of tea to make sure you choose the one that provides the benefits that you are looking for. On store shelves you're likely to find traditional teas, herbal teas, and fruit teas.
- Traditional teas comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and includes green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and white tea. These teas usually contain caffeine.
- Herbal teas are created from dried herbs and may contain caffeine.
- Fruit teas are made from dried fruit and usually don't contain caffeine.
For example, if you feel stressed and want to calm down, you might choose ginger tea, which is usually considered an herbal tea. However, if you experience pain or inflammation, a traditional green tea might be a good choice.
Teas to Avoid
Not all teas are created equal. There are also certain types of tea that may not deliver the health benefits that you are looking for and may even contain ingredients that you want to avoid. For example, a chai tea latte from your favorite coffee shop might be loaded with unwanted added sugar. Other teas, such as boba tea and bottled sweetened teas are also likely to be high in added sugar. Some commercial weight loss teas contain stimulants. And some consumers prefer to avoid tea bags that are made with bleach or dyes.
Calming Teas for Anxiety
You might be wondering what tea is good for anxiety. The answer is that it depends. When someone experiences anxiety, they often experience excessive worry and stress surrounding daily activities. Luckily, there are teas known to create a sense of calm to help ease these feelings.
Rooibos is made from a blend of herbs and spices. Because herbal teas usually have no caffeine, they are often regarded as calming. Rooibos stems from the plant family Fabaceae. Its name translates to "red bush," a nod to the tea's bold red color.
Rooibos tea contains high levels of levels of polyphenols which are rich in antioxidants. Polyphenols possess anti-inflammatory properties, may help protect you from neurodegenerative disease, and are associated with better heart health. One study found that people experience rooibos's properties at an optimal level when the tea is steeped for a ten-minute period.
Peppermint tea is an herbal tea that is made from the dried leaves of peppermint plants. However, to achieve the minty flavor, peppermint oils may also be added to black or white teas. If your peppermint tea isn't herbal-based, then it is likely caffeinated.
Peppermint is rich in plant nutrients and antioxidants. In addition, research has found it to have positive impacts on the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is responsible for most of the body's functions and is what allows people to walk and breathe. When the CNS is relaxed, the body feels calm.
One comprehensive systematic review from Nutrients Journal found that many clinical trials show mild results in the effectiveness of ginger in reducing symptoms of anxiety. This means that more research needs to be done to prove that the effects are significant. However, if you find ginger soothing, then make yourself a cup.
Hibiscus is an herbal tea that has more of a sour taste. The tea is often made from a specific kind of hibiscus plant known as Hibiscus sabdariffa. The flower itself looks similar to the tropical ones people wear in their hair and that are used to make leis.
Research has shown that hibiscus can reduce blood pressure and hypertension. In addition, it is known for having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. People often experience high blood pressure as a result of stress. And, since anxiety increases a person's stress levels, it means that they are more likely to develop a rise in blood pressure. If you hope to reduce your blood pressure, hibiscus might be your perfect cup of tea.
Oolong tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant so it is a traditional tea. It's partially oxidized, which means that it has been exposed to air during the drying process. This is what gives it its darker color.
Studies have found it to be high in L-theanine, an amino acid that reduces anxiety. It's also high in polyphenols, which are linked to lowering inflammation. In addition, research has found that it can increase metabolism and help stimulate weight loss.
Teas to Help You Sleep
Anxiety has been known to cause sleep problems for individuals. Do you constantly toss and turn at night? Or find yourself not able to rest due to anxious thoughts? If so, then an anxiety tea with sleep-inducing properties may be just what you need.
This may be a tea that you're already familiar with. Maybe you've even made yourself a cup before bed or when you've had a cold. Chamomile is typically made from the dried leaves of the German chamomile plant. The buds and blossoms of the plant look similar to daisies.
People have used lavender to calm nerves and get a good night's rest for a long time. In fact, you might have even seen it added to bath soaks and body lotions. To make lavender tea, the buds of the plant Lavandula angustifolia are picked and dried.
According to research, one study found that drinking lavender tea could successfully lower rates of anxiety and depression. Although most research has focussed on lavender essential oils, science shows that lavender itself has curative and therapeutic properties.
Teas to Reduce Inflammation
People with anxiety have higher rates of stress due to the constant feeling of worry. Studies have found that stress increases inflammation in the body, causing joint pain and discomfort. Because people with anxiety experience high levels of stress, they also often experience high levels of inflammation. This is why anti-inflammatory teas are particularly helpful for people with anxiety.
Green tea may be another familiar name to you. It has been used in everything from lattes to facemasks. When it is prepared, its leaves are steamed and fried in pans, then allowed to dry.
In addition to reducing inflammation, it has also been used to relieve digestive symptoms and headaches. It is considered to be mildly caffeinated, and typically has less caffeine than a cup of coffee.
People often believe that matcha and green tea are the same things. However, there are some differences. Matcha is a type of Japanese green tea that is ground into a fine powder and looks nothing like traditional tea leaves. It has risen in popularity in western cultures in recent years. If you've been to a coffee shop lately, you've most likely seen some kind of matcha latte on their menu.
Because the full tea leaves are ground together, matcha acts as a stronger or more condensed version of green tea. In addition, it has the same antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In taste and texture, matcha is stronger and thicker than green tea.
Black tea is also made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. However, its leaves are prepared through the process of drying and fermentation. This is what allows them to turn 'black' as the name suggests.
Black tea is renowned for its high levels of flavonoids. Flavinoids, a chemical found in plants, combat inflammation and support healthy immune function. Just like Oolong tea, it also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can create a sense of calm.
How to Brew Tea for Anxiety
If your extent of tea knowledge is primarily composed of flashbacks to the Mad Hatter, don't worry. You can still enjoy a cup or throw yourself a tea party. There are some things you may want to know about the different kinds of tea and how to prepare them.
The longer you steep your tea, the stronger the flavor. Some teas have different recommended steep times and different caffeine levels. For caffeine level comparison, one cup of coffee (about 8 oz.) has about 95 mg. of caffeine.
Teas come in a wide variety of flavors. You can experiment with adding sugar, honey, or milk to get the flavor you like most.
|Type of Tea||Serving Size||Steep Time||Caffeine levels||Taste||Use|
|Black||Black tea||2 oz. per every 8 oz. of water||3-5 mins.||47 mg.||Smoky, earthy, nutty||Reduces inflammation|
|Chamomile||Herbal||2 oz. per every 8 oz. of water||5 mins.+||0 mg.||Light, floral, sweet||Improves sleep|
|Ginger||Herbal||2 oz. per every 8 oz. of water||5 mins.+||0 mg.||Earthy, grassy, floral||Promotes calmness|
|Green||Green||2 oz. per every 8 oz. of water||1-2 mins.||28 mg.||Grassy, nutty, natural||Reduces inflammation|
|Hibiscus||Herbal||2 oz. per every 8 oz. of water||5 mins.+||0 mg.||Sour, tart, bitter||Promotes calmness|
|Lavender||Herbal||2 oz. per every 8 oz. of water||10 mins.||0 mg.||Floral, sweet, fruity||Improves sleep|
|Oolong||Oolong||2 oz. per every 8 oz. of water||2-3 mins.||37-55 mg.||Floral, fruity, rich||Promotes calmness|
|Peppermint||Herbal||2 oz. per every 8 oz. of water||5 mins.+||0 mg.||Minty, light, cool||Promotes calmness|
|Rooibos||Herbal||2 oz. per every 8 oz. of water||10 mins.||0 mg.||Natural, sweet, nutty||Promotes calmness|
Potential Side Effects
Talk to your healthcare provider before you start to use tea to relieve symptoms of anxiety. Different types of tea may have varied side effects. For example, some may cause dizziness or blood thinning. A medical professional will be able to help you determine which tea is best for you. Some topics you may want to ask about are:
- Allergic reactions
- Best day/nighttime teas for you
- Caffeine intake
- How many cups you should drink a day
- Potential interference with any medications
Should You Start Drinking Tea for Stress and Anxiety?
Although for years tea has been regarded for its medicinal properties, it is still important to put these benefits into perspective. Many studies investigating the healing properties of tea have yielded inconsistent results. Researchers call for more studies to be done in order to demonstrate that the effects are significant. While many teas are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, more research needs to be conducted.
But there are so many types of tea and many different ways and reasons to enjoy it. This variety allows you to choose what you need when you need it. If you're feeling restless, steep some chamomile. If you need energy and want to fight inflammation, make a cup of black tea. No matter what you're feeling, there's probably a tea that can help.