Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 01:02 pm
Like most people nowadays, I tend to feel overwhelmed or anxious at times trying to balance everything life throws at me. Thankfully, I’ve realized that some simple solutions from nature can gently ease those tense or panicked feelings when they show up. I’ve found that slowly sipping tasty teas blended with calming herbs really helps smooth out my jittery nerves and crowded mind.
I’ve learned that popular botanicals like chamomile, passionflower, and lemon balm have natural compounds that interact with my brain’s receptors to relax both my body and my worrying thoughts. Even more medicinal plants from traditional cultures around the world can mellow me out in similar ways that science is working to understand. It’s been an interesting adventure finding the right tea ingredients that best fit my needs. By experimenting with different herbs, strengths, and combinations tailored for me, I’ve crafted some signature tea recipes that make me less reactive to daily stresses.
I pay close attention to how my mood and nerves respond after drinking a particular tea. Everyone has unique chemistry and reactions. The apigenin in chamomile may deeply relax my wife before bed but make me too groggy. The Rhodiola root that gives me sustained energy during work might overstimulate my friend. It takes some trial and error to stick to what works best for me. Now I’ve dialed in a few custom tea blends using holy basil, lemon balm, and lavender that make me feel resilient and focused all day without fail. Intentionally taking slow tea breaks is self-care that makes the chaos more manageable.
What is Tea for Anxiety?
Anxiety-relief teas contain botanical ingredients and compounds that interact with receptors in the brain to stabilize mood. Common calming components in anti-anxiety teas are L-theanine, ashwagandha, passionflower, valerian root, chamomile, and lemon balm, among others. When entering the bloodstream after drinking tea, these compounds elevate levels of “feel-good” neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin while lowering stress hormones. The polyphenols and antioxidants in many herbal teas also have anti-inflammatory effects, benefiting overall well-being. Slowly sipping these teas with intentional breathing two or three times a day eases the mind, body, and soul.
Benefits of Drinking Tea
Beyond alleviating emotional unease, drinking green tea, herbal tea, or black tea every day bestows a myriad of positive outcomes over the long run. Tea consumption provides hydration, bolsters immune defenses, aids digestion, and enhances cognition and memory while delivering healthy vitamins, minerals, and nutrients lacking in modern diets. The ritual of preparing and quietly enjoying a hot cup of aromatic tea is also a form of restorative medicine when incorporated into daily routines or times of turmoil. With all of the upsides and very few drawbacks, brewing the perfect cup is always wise.
11 Best Herbal Teas for Anxiety
- Green Tea
- Lemon Balm
- Holy Basil Tulsi Tea
- Valerian Root
- Licorice Root Tea
- Ginger Tea
- Kratom Tea
1. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla/Chamaemelum nobile)
A classic soothing tea long used for promoting sleep and relaxation. Apigenin flavonoids within chamomile interact with GABA receptors, exhibiting anti-anxiety and mild sedative effects to ease worries and restless thoughts before bed. The crisp apple-like flavor and aroma initiate calmness.
2. Green tea (Camellia sinensis)
Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that generates alpha waves in the brain associated with mindfulness and relaxed alertness. When L-theanine is combined with green tea’s natural caffeine, mood, focus, and energy lift without jitteriness. A powerful class of EGCG antioxidants called catechins also provides anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting benefits.
3. Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)
The pleasantly perfumed purple flowers yield essential oils rich in linalyl acetate and linalool, phytochemicals rapidly absorbed into the blood from lavender tea to alleviate nervous tension. Sipping lavender tea decreases excitability within nervous system pathways, leading to more balanced moods as the day unfolds.
4. Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Minty fresh peppermint tea adeptly aids digestion to improve discomfort, bloating, or nausea related to anxiety symptoms. The scent of menthol also helps clear airways and sinuses, which refreshes the mood, alongside rosmarinic acid’s anti-inflammatory effects that decrease stress-related inflammation. Sipping peppermint tea stimulates alert calmness.
5. Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
The purple passionflower-blooming vine produces relaxation-enhancing flavonoids that have been used medicinally for generations to treat nervousness and panic attacks. Drinking passiflora tea generates measurable boosts in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels, a calming neurotransmitter that quiets excessive brain activity. Passionflower’s apigenin constituent is also potently anxiolytic for easing the edge without drowsiness.
6. Holy Basil Tulsi Tea (Ocimum sanctum)
Sometimes called the “elixir of anti-stress agents”, holy basil tea made from the tulsi plant has adaptogenic properties that alleviate the body’s stress response, improve resilience, and uplift mood and focus. Tulsi balances key neurotransmitters and hormones that become disrupted by chronic stress. Daily tulsi tea consumption fills the body with a rich array of antioxidants for combating inflammation and normalizing biological processes.
7. Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis)
The herbal valerian tea brewed from the root yields volatile oils and iridoids that bind to GABA receptors similar to benzodiazepine pharmaceuticals. However, valerian achieves muscle relaxation, panic relief, and sedation without adverse side effects, making it very useful for situational and general anxiety. By relieving underlying stress-related muscle tension, valerian root tea taken at night restores restorative sleep patterns critical to well-being.
8. Licorice Root Tea (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Licorice root tea contains triterpenoid saponins and glycyrrhizic acid foaming agents that defend against adrenal fatigue and exacerbating anxiety by stabilizing daily cortisol fluctuations and recovering exhausted stress hormones after chronic overwhelm. The anti-inflammatory glycosides further prevent inflammation from fueling anxious states. Enjoy glycyrrhiza tea to reinforce adrenal resilience.
9. Ginger Tea
Warming ginger root tea enhances circulation, which oxygenates tissues and organs, lowering inflammation, a key trigger of anxiety and panic. Ginger’s concentrated gingerols dilate blood vessels, promoting self-soothing feelings. Volatile essential oils called shogaols ease indigestion and bloating from anxiety too.
10. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
The abundance of potent anethole phytonutrients within sweet fennel seeds imparts neuroprotective qualities that buffer against neuronal damage from chronic stress. When brewed as tea, fennel effectively curbs stress-induced digestive issues and brings on positive energy through anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that course through the bloodstream and brain.
11. Kratom Tea: Future of Homeopathic Teas
The leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree, indigenous to Southeast Asia, have been used for centuries in traditional cultures to boost energy and mood and relieve aches and pains. Now, kratom tea and the powdered leaf material are growing in popularity in the West as natural anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) alternatives to pharmaceuticals.
The unique alkaloids found in the kratom plant interact with neural receptors in nuanced ways that mitigate stress, panic, muscle tension, insomnia, and more when brewed in tea form. As research continues to elucidate the diverse health properties of this botanical, kratom tea blends represent an emerging player in calming teas.
Here’s a comparison table of some of the best herbal teas for anxiety:
|Calming, may improve sleep, anti-inflammatory
|Avoid if allergic to plants in the Asteraceae family
|Green tea leaves
|L-theanine for relaxation, antioxidants
|Contains caffeine, limit intake in the evening
|Relaxing may reduce stress and anxiety
|Avoid during pregnancy
|Calming may improve sleep, anti-inflammatory
|Ensure culinary-grade lavender; avoid in excess
|Lemon balm leaves
|Calming may aid sleep, mild sedative
|Avoid if allergic to plants in the mint family
|Holy Basil Tulsi Tea
|Holy basil (Tulsi) leaves
|Adaptogenic, stress-relieving, immune support
|Avoid during pregnancy; consult with a healthcare professional if taking medications
|Calming may improve mood and cognitive function
|Can cause drowsiness; avoid alcohol while using
|Soothing, may aid digestion and reduce tension
|Avoid if you have acid reflux or GERD
|Licorice Root Tea
|Adrenal support, anti-inflammatory
|Not recommended for those with high blood pressure
|Anti-inflammatory, digestive support
|Limit if you have a bleeding disorder or are on blood-thinning medications
|Mild euphoria, relaxation, pain relief
|Controversial; consult healthcare professional; potential for dependence
Note: Individual responses to these teas may vary. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have existing health conditions, are pregnant, or are taking medications.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time of day to drink anti-anxiety tea?
The time of day to drink relaxing teas depends partly on the ingredients and their effects. Sedating teas like chamomile, valerian, and passionflower are best to drink 60–90 minutes before bedtime. Alerting teas like green, peppermint, or ginger are optimal to drink in the morning and early afternoon. Holy basil and lavender fall somewhere in between.
How much tea should I drink daily for anxiety relief?
Most herbal teas for anxiety can be enjoyed 2-3 times per day as needed whenever feelings of stress, worry, or panic arise. Drinking 1-3 cups of a relaxing tea daily is reasonable for maintaining calm moods, provided caffeine sensitivity isn’t an issue. Pay attention to effects rather than amount.
How soon will you feel the anti-anxiety benefits of tea?
The compounds in teas like chamomile, holy basil, and valerian interact with receptors quickly, so effects should manifest within 30–60 minutes of finishing a cup. Teas are not as rapid-acting as supplements or medications, but sustained daily ingestion builds cumulative anti-anxiety effects. Discerning subtle benefits takes mindfulness.
Can I take anti-anxiety tea if I’m on psychiatric medications?
Before regularly consuming sedative-acting teas, discuss with your doctor how they may interact with any psychiatric medications you are currently taking, especially drugs for anxiety, insomnia, or depression. Most tea ingredients are reasonably safe, but assessing individual risks prevents problems.
With hectic modern lifestyles, feeling overwhelmed and anxious has become extremely pervasive, feeding an overreliance on psychiatric drugs. However, gentle, regular consumption of medicinal teas offers a healthier complementary approach to keeping stress and anxious distress at bay. The variety of tea herbs provides different mechanisms of action, from muscle relaxing to mood elevating to adrenal nourishing to inflammation calming. When skillfully blended, these botanicals form potent anxiolytic home remedies without concern for side effects. Drinking warm cups of chamomile, passionflower, holy basil, or other aromatic anti-anxiety teas replaces tensions with slower, mindful living, infusing peace even amid daily pressures. Let these natural teas soothe worries and calm panic.