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Herbal teas have been used for centuries, both for their health benefits and for pleasure. Some people claim that certain herbal teas have properties that can help reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns.
It’s important to remember that what works for one person may not work for you. Finding the right herbal tea or herbal tea blend can take time.
Although herbal teas are technically different from supplementary capsules, oils, tinctures, and other medications you might use to manage anxiety, interactions are still possible. Always talk with a doctor or other healthcare professional before adding herbal tea to your routine.
Some herbal teas may help take the edge off occasional stress and anxiety, while others may be better used as a routine complementary therapy for an underlying condition.
Other potential benefits of drinking various herbal teas can include:
- improving sleep and insomnia conditions
- soothing upset stomach and digestive issues
- improving menstrual cramps
- improving nausea and morning sickness
- improving blood pressure levels
Read on to learn which teas may help soothe and support your overall sense of well-being.
This classic garden plant can be used for more than just seasoning. Some research suggests that the aroma may reduce feelings of frustration, anxiety, and fatigue.
Separate research finds that inhaling the scent of peppermint oil may help soothe anxiety in people who were hospitalized for heart attack and childbirth.
- Best used for: Peppermint tea is helpful for combating stress-inducing feelings such as anxiety. Peppermint tea may also be helpful if you’re feeling fatigued.
This daisy-like flower is synonymous with calm, making it among the most well-known stress-soothing teas.
- Best used for: Along with the relaxing and sedative properties of chamomile, it can also be used to help with upset stomach as well as easing pain and inflammation.
Lavender is widely known for its mood-stabilizing and sedative effects. But did you know that it might be as effective as some medications at relieving anxiety?
Researchers in one
- Best used for: Lavender can be beneficial for lowering anxiety and helping heal skin care conditions like acne and burns as well as aches and pains in the body.
Valerian root is commonly used as an herbal remedy for insomnia and other sleep disorders. It may help relieve anxiety-related sleeplessness, but
- Best used for: Valerian may help improve insomnia and other health issues such as headaches and heart palpitations.
Gotu kola is used as a traditional medicine and tonic in many Asian cultures. It’s often used to ease feelings of fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
One 2012 study on mice found that gotu kola extract may be an effective treatment for acute and chronic anxiety. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects.
- Best used for: Gotu kola may help relieve anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, and might even help ease symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
A mint relative with a lemony fragrance, lemon balm is a widely used treatment for sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression. It
Researchers in a 2018 study found that a lemon balm supplement reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, and insomnia in people with a heart condition called angina.
- Best used for: Lemon balm is used to help combat insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
Researchers in one
- Best used for: Passionflower may help improve insomnia and anxiety, and has been linked to improving other health issues such as stomach problems.
Green tea is high in L-theanine, an amino acid that might reduce anxiety.
One 2017 study found that students who drank green tea experienced consistently lower levels of stress than students in the placebo group.
Green tea is also known to help improve focus, since the combined L-theanine and caffeine in the drink help with this, according to a
- Best used for: Green tea may help lower anxiety and stress in people who regularly drink it.
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb said to help combat stress and fatigue.
A 2014 review of studies also concluded that Ashwagandha extract helped alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety, but more research is needed to confirm these effects.
- Best used for: Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that may help manage anxiety. It’s also known for having anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, and antioxidant properties.
Also called tulsi, holy basil is related to European and Thai basils.
Research on its effects on anxiety or stress are limited. One
- Best used for: Holy basil may be used for both physical and mental benefits, including anxiety, stomach pain, cough, and arthritis pain. However, studies on how effective holy basil is are limited.
Fennel is a tall herb that sprouts yellow flowers. It’s native to the Mediterranean.
Fennel tea has traditionally been used to calm anxiety.
Although more research is needed, one
- Best used for: Fennel is best used for digestive problems, which are common anxiety symptoms. It may also help relieve menstrual irregularities and coughing, and can be used as a diuretic.
You can taste bitter hops in certain beverages, but hops are nothing to be bitter about.
A 2017 study found that taking a hops supplement can reduce mild symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
And when combined with valerian, hops supplements may also improve sleep quality.
- Best used for: Hops is best used for treating some mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and stress, and it can also be used for sleep.
A popular herbal ingredient in colds and flu teas, licorice root has also become a widespread sweetener and candy.
People also take licorice to reduce stress and fatigue, but research is limited.
One 2011 study on mice suggests that licorice extract may reduce stress.
Researchers in a
- Best used for: Though research is very limited, licorice may be helpful for reducing stress and anxiety.
Although catnip is a stimulant for cats, it can be used to create a soothing drink for humans.
Catnip has been traditionally used to relieve anxiety. It contains compounds similar to those found in valerian, but it’s unclear whether they offer the same benefits.
- Best used for: Catnip
contains nepetalactone, which is similar to the valepotriates found in valerian. These compounds may help ease anxiety and help with sleeping troubles as well.
St. John’s wort is one of the most studied herbal remedies for depression. It may also help with symptoms of anxiety.
The herb may interact with certain medications or result in other adverse side effects, so talk with a doctor or pharmacist before use.
- Best used for: St. John’s wort may help reduce stress and stress-inducing hormones. It may also help relieve symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Traditional Medicinals Cup of Calm
This tea uses chamomile, catnip, lavender, and passionflower herbs to offer a host of sleep-enhancing and stress-relieving benefits.
Chamomile and lavender are better known for helping anxiety. Although catnip and passionflower are primarily used to improve sleep quality, they may also aid in anxiety relief.
The Republic of Tea Get Relaxed
Along with its principal ingredient rooibos, Get Relaxed includes rose petals, lavender, passionflower, and chamomile.
These selections may help smooth over mild anxiety and stress. You may also benefit from the overall health properties of rooibos tea.
Yogi Stress Relief
Yogi offers two Stress Relief options: a tea containing kava kava and a tea containing lavender.
Kava kava may have more marked effects on anxiety, but the herb has been tied to mild side effects.
Lavender typically offers more subtle benefits and is less likely to cause side effects.
Numi Organic Bamboo
Organic lavender is a key ingredient in Numi Organic Bamboo. Lavender may offer a mild soothing effect and help relieve minor anxiety.
Other ingredients in the tea blend include elderflower, schisandra, blueberry leaf, lemongrass, spearmint, ginger, hawthorn, and bamboo.
Lipton Stress Therapy
Lipton Stress Therapy contains cinnamon, chamomile, and lavender. All are notable stress-relieving herbs, though chamomile and lavender boast the most scientific support.
|chamomile||yes||relaxation, stomach upset|
|gotu kola||yes||anxiety-relief, insomnia|
|lemon balm||yes||insomnia, depression, anxiety|
|green tea||no||anxiety, stress|
|ashwagandha||yes||anxiety, combatting inflammation|
|holy basil||yes||anxiety, stomach issues, joint pain|
|fennel||yes||digestion issues, period cramping|
|hops||no||depression, anxiety, insomnia, stress|
|catnip||yes||anxiety, sleep issues|
|St. John’s wort||yes||stress, anxiety, depression|
|Traditional Medicinals Cup of Calm||yes||sleep, anxiety|
|The Republic of Tea Get Relaxed||yes||anxiety, stress|
|Yogi Stress Relief||yes||anxiety, sleep|
|Numi Organic Bamboo||no||anxiety, relaxation|
|Lipton Stress Therapy||yes||stress-relief|
If your anxiety is so bad that it’s interfering with day-to-day activities, it may be a good idea to consult a doctor.
Not sure whether that describes your situation? Here are some signs to watch for:
- You’re constantly worrying about things.
- You have physical symptoms like a racing heartbeat.
- You can’t seem to relax.
- You avoid things because they make you anxious.
- You feel a weight on your shoulders or always feel on edge.
Can I get tea for anxiety at a coffee shop?
Yes. Many coffee shops that also offer tea will have several of these teas on hand. For example, herbal selections like chamomile are very common and readily available.
How does tea help with anxiety and sleep?
While certain ingredients may help as described above, the
Is tea better than coffee for anxiety?
Because coffee contains caffeine, it may not work as well as caffeine-free teas for promoting relaxation and calm. Even compared with caffeinated tea, coffee has much higher caffeine levels, which can cause jitters and make it hard to fall asleep.
Although some herbal teas may have a calming effect, more research is needed to fully assess their potential benefits. Herbal teas or supplements should never be used in place of a prescribed treatment.
Some herbal teas can cause uncomfortable side effects, especially when consumed in large amounts. Others can result in dangerous interactions with over-the-counter and prescription medication. Many herbal teas aren’t safe to drink during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
You should always check with a doctor or other healthcare professional before drinking herbal teas or taking herbal supplements.