Tea, coffee and, of course, OJ. Those are the classic breakfast drinks. Tea and coffee, in particular, are our favorite way to wake up in the morning and get some energy!
But too much energy, too much pressure, and too much stress is a problem. Did you know that over 18% of the entire US adult population experiences anxiety? That’s over 40 million people.
So, can tea (our favorite energizing, caffeine-rich drink) be used to soothe anxiety?
Tea for Anxiety
Whether tea is good or bad for your anxiety depends on the tea, which is why we’ve come up with a list of our top 10 favorite anxiety-soothing teas below.
But there are other reasons why making a cup of tea is good for anxiety:
- A hot drink soothes nerves and relaxes muscles, particularly in your jaw and abdomen.
- It forces you to step away from your problems for a moment as you go to the kitchen.
- Going through the process of making tea keeps your hands busy and your mind focused on something else.
- Herbal teas release essential oils and aromas that can soothe you just by smelling the tea.
- Once you begin to associate making tea with taking a break and relaxing, it will naturally become an easy way to beat your anxiety. A process you can rely on. A process that’s familiar, friendly and reminds you of home.
Herbal teas, particularly those in tea bags, are an affordable way to treat your anxiety. You can drink them hot or cold and pack them in thermoses for when you leave the house – like a traveling comfort blanket.
You might even have some of the herbs to make tea growing in your own garden!
Is Caffeine Good for Anxiety?
Caffeine is a stimulant that gets your body and mind up and running. It makes you jumpy, pro-active and excited by triggering the fight or flight response. That’s not good for someone with anxiety! A strong dose of caffeine could trigger an anxiety or panic attack if you’re suffering from severe anxiety.
But when it comes to tea, caffeine isn’t the full picture. This is because tea contains an amino acid called l-theanine. This amino acid promotes feelings of alertness, but also calm. It blocks stress and anxiety from your brain.
So, tea is a balancing act for those suffering from anxiety. Too much caffeine and not enough l-theanine could result in jitters and further anxiety, while just enough l-theanine and less caffeine will keep you awake… but also calm and relaxed. L-theanine can take away the energy drop you feel when the caffeine wears off.
Herbal Teas for Anxiety
Herbal teas are great for anxiety. You get all the benefits of the warmth of a hot drink and the comfort of going through a familiar process, plus the medicinal benefits of the herbs themselves.
These teas are caffeine-free, so you don’t need to worry about caffeine-induced anxiety or struggling to sleep late at night. Some herbal teas, like chamomile and peppermint, are very popular and commonly available. You can pop into a Starbucks or food store and find them on the menu or shelf easily. If anxiety strikes when you’re away from home, herbal teas are an easy-to-find remedy.
10 Best Teas for Anxiety
These are the top 10 teas for anxiety. Each has its own distinct flavor and relaxation effect. It’s easy to find all of these herbs online on websites like Amazon, where you can buy packs of the dried herbs. If loose tea isn’t your style, simply search for tea blends that contain these herbs as key ingredients. Sleep-time teas are great for soothing anxiety as well as helping you get to sleep, so start with those.
Chamomile Tea for Anxiety
Chamomile not only relaxes your mind but also your muscles! It’s a great relaxant that’s caffeine-free and suitable for drinking when those late-night worries creep in. This tea reduces stress and anxiety while also making you feel relaxed and sleepy. It’s a popular tea type for those that have trouble sleeping or insomnia.
To make chamomile tea, brew 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers (or 1 tea bag) in boiling water for 5 minutes. The flavor is naturally sweet with notes of honey and hay; it goes very well with a drop of runny honey.
Green Tea for Anxiety
Green tea is an excellent source of l-theanine. This amino acid binds to receptors in your brain, blocking stress and anxiety hormones from being received. The result is a relaxed and alert state of mind. You won’t feel sleepy like you might after a chamomile tea.
Green tea is best if you need an anxiety-soother during the day, where the caffeine will wear off by bedtime. Brew 1 teaspoon of green tea in 80°C water for 2 to 3 minutes, adding honey, sugar or another sweetener to taste. Avoid matcha, as even though it’s green tea, it contains a high level of caffeine.
Peppermint Tea for Anxiety
Peppermint is a naturally sweet, refreshing tea that’s caffeine-free and ideal for anxiety. If things are getting too much, peppermint tea refreshes your mind and body during a break. Like chamomile, peppermint relaxes your muscles and reduces stress levels. It can also ease stomach cramps that are caused by anxiety and helps your mind focus better.
It’s one of the simplest herbal teas and one of the most widely available. Brew 1 teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves, 1 tea bag, or 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh peppermint leaves, for 5 minutes in boiling water.
Linden Tea for Anxiety
Just like chamomile and peppermint, linden tea (made from the linden flower) is sweet, soothing and a great remedy for anxiety. Linden tea has a sedative effect that relaxes both the mind and body. If you’re feeling stressed, just inhaling sweet aromatic linden flower tea steam can reduce your anxiety.
To brew a cup of linden tea, use 1 teaspoon of dried linden flowers. Steep them in boiling water for 5 minutes, then strain and serve with honey to taste. It’s the essential oils in linden flowers that have the relaxing effect, so adding them to your bath can help relax you even further.
Lemon Balm Tea for Anxiety
It’s been scientifically proven that lemon balm reduces anxiety in both animals and humans. It has a sedative type effect like chamomile and linden flower, so you may feel a little sleepy after drinking this tea. It reduces stress and agitation, promoting feelings of drowsiness and contentment.
Lemon balm has a grassy, bright lemon and mint flavor. It’s fresh like an herb rather than fresh like lemon juice. It’s sweeter, less tart and not at all sour – a more relaxing version of lemon tea!
Brew 1 teaspoon of dried lemon balm in boiling water for 5 minutes. You can find many lemon balm herbal blends from brands like Pukka.
Lavender Tea for Anxiety
Lavender is well known for its calming effect on people who have trouble with depression, insomnia and anxiety. The aroma is often infused into pillows, soaps and bubble bath mixtures to relax you after a long day.
To make lavender tea, use the flowers and buds which have a sweet, floral flavor. The stalks can also be made into tea, but it will taste more woody and herby like rosemary. The flowers are where the anxiety-relieving essential oils are. Brew 2 teaspoons of fresh flowers for 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water. Add sugar or honey to taste.
Tulsi Tea for Anxiety
Tulsi tea is made from tulsi leaves, also known as holy basil. It’s a tea that originated in India but is slowly becoming more popular in the Western world. This tea has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as stress-reducing and anti-anxiety properties. It’s a great tea if you’re feeling under the weather as well as under a lot of stress!
It has a fresh bitter flavor, like lemon, but with a spicy edge like the flavor of cloves. Brew 1 to 2 teaspoons of tulsi leaves for 10 minutes. It goes well with a slice of ginger and other popular masala chai spices.
Valerian Root Tea for Anxiety
Valerian root is more often an ingredient in dietary supplements than herbal teas, but it’s still an effective anxiety reducer. It soothes your nerves and can help ease away insomnia, so try valerian root tea the next time you’re struggling to catch some zzz’s thanks to anxiety. There’s also evidence that it can improve the quality of your sleep, so you can wake up feeling refreshed and rested.
It has a strong flavor that you may need to sweeten with honey to become more palatable. Brew 1 teaspoon of dried valerian root in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes.
Rose Tea for Anxiety
Roses have a calming, pleasant aromatic smell that translates into a delicious tea! Rose tea can soothe anxiety and stress. Some people believe that it can also ease depression and insomnia, but that’s not as well documented. For anxiety, rose tea could be the trick.
Rose is quite a pungent aroma – some people really love the smell. For others, rose aromas are just a reminder of bleach and household cleaners, as rose is a very popular aroma used to mask their chemical scents. It comes down to personal taste.
Brew 1 cup of rose petals in approximately 600ml of water (halve for a smaller teacup rather than a mug) for 5 minutes.
Passionflower Tea for Anxiety
Like lemon balm and chamomile, passionflower tea is a remedy passed down through history to soothe stress, nerves, and anxiety. It can also treat hysteria, panic attacks, and seizures, although you should always seek medical help before trying to treat those symptoms with home remedies.
Passionflower tea has a mild grassy flavor that works well with chamomile. It can have a freshness similar to lemon balm. It’s much easier to find passionflower tea bags from various brands, rather than loose petals. Brew 1 passionflower tea bag in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.
What Teas to Avoid for Anxiety
We’ve covered teas that are excellent for soothing anxiety, but what should you avoid to prevent making your anxiety worse?
- High-caffeine teas – caffeine can make everything worse. L-theanine will balance that, but it’s best to stick to low caffeine teas. Avoid teas made from the buds of the tea plant, black teas, matcha, and pu-er, as these all have high levels of caffeine.
- Coffee – depending on the type, it can have more caffeine than tea per drinkable cup… without the l-theanine.
- Sugary teas – fruit tisanes and flavored teas with candied nuts, fruits, and even chocolate are a bad idea. Sugar can make your anxiety worse, especially when it wears off. If you must add honey to your tea, use 1 teaspoon per cup maximum. That means lay off the biscuits too!
Other activities you should avoid to beat your anxiety are sitting around all day, drinking alcohol and staying up late at night. Breaking those habits and getting exercise is not an easy task when you have depression and anxiety resting on your shoulders – it makes even the simplest of tasks seem like missions.
So, take it step by step. Make a simple cup of tea, it barely takes 5 minutes. Once you’ve sipped it slowly, who knows, maybe you’ll have the calmness, focus, clarity, and motivation to do something else to beat your anxiety!
Tea for Anxiety, Panic Attacks, and Worries
Going through the motions of making an herbal tea is a great way to combat anxiety. It distracts your mind and keeps your hands busy until you can sip the anxiety-soothing tea itself. You can also combine the tea making process with other anxiety-busting techniques. Name 5 things you can see while the kettle boils, for example. Make sure you avoid caffeine and keep it herbal for a relaxed evening and a stress-free night’s sleep.