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Depression is a common mental health condition that can negatively affect how you feel, think, and act, often causing a general loss of interest in things and a persistent feeling of sadness.

In mild forms, herbal teas may work to lift your mood and fight the physical symptoms of depression. For centuries, people have been drinking herbal tea for its natural benefits and pleasant taste.

There are studies that suggest drinking tea could be helpful in the treatment of depression.

A 2015 meta-analysis of 11 studies and 13 reports found a correlation between tea consumption and a decreased risk of depression.

Some benefits of drinking herbal tea can include:

  • lowered stress and anxiety
  • reduced symptoms of insomnia
  • anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
  • elevated mood and help with relaxation
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Drinking these teas may help with mild symptoms of depression. But it’s important to know that depression is a serious mental health condition. If depression is interfering with your daily life, talk with your doctor.

Keep in mind

Teas are not substitutes for emergency services.

If you’re thinking about hurting yourself or somebody else, you can find confidential support by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. You can also call 911 or your local emergency services number, or visit the nearest emergency room.

You can find information about additional mental health resources here.

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It may take some time to find the right herbal blend, but remember that it all boils down to which plant you choose to brew.

Make sure to talk with a doctor or other healthcare professional before adding these teas or other supplementary treatments to your routine.

Best for reducing anxiety

Chamomile tea

Chamomile is commonly used as an herbal remedy for anxiety and anxiety-related sleeplessness. It’s known for its relaxing scent, making it one of the most popular teas on the market.

A 2016 study of chamomile given to patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) showed a reduction of moderate to severe GAD symptoms.

It also showed some reduction in anxiety relapses during a 5-year study period. However, researchers said it was not statistically significant.

More studies are needed; however, this preliminary research may point out a correlation between chamomile and reduced stress.

Best for sleep problems

St. John’s wort tea

St. John’s wort is a medicinal plant that’s been used for centuries to treat depression, among a host of other conditions.

It’s most commonly used to treat:

However, it’s not clear if St. John’s wort is helpful for people with depression.

A 2008 review of 29 international trials found that St. John’s wort was as effective for depression as prescription antidepressants.

On the other hand, a 2011 study concluded that St. John’s wort didn’t show a clinically or statistically significant benefit.

Best for improving mood

Lemon balm tea

A refreshing citrusy flavor with hints of mint, lemon balm has long been used to treat:

  • sleeplessness
  • anxiety
  • depression

This lemon-scented herb comes from the same family as mint. It’s native to Europe, North Africa, and West Asia, but it’s grown around the world.

Lemon balm has traditionally been used to improve mood and cognitive function. It offers a mild calming effect, making it a great pre-bed ritual.

A 2014 research article of two small studies, in which participants drank iced tea with lemon balm or ate yogurt with lemon balm, showed positive effects on mood and anxiety level reduction.

Best for multiple health benefits

Green tea

Green tea is touted as one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. It’s loaded with antioxidants that have many health benefits, such as:

  • improving brain function
  • assisting with fat loss
  • protecting against cancer

If your morning cup of coffee is making you anxious, you might consider switching to green tea. Green tea is high in caffeine and L-theanine, an amino acid that may reduce anxiety.

A 2009 study of participants ages 70 and older showed that there was a lower prevalence of depression symptoms with increased green tea consumption.

A 2013 animal study suggested that green tea consumption increases dopamine and serotonin, which have been linked to reducing symptoms of depression.

Best for a calming effect

Ashwagandha tea

Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb. It’s classified as an adaptogen, meaning it can help your body manage stress.

This traditional Ayurvedic herb is known for its medicinal properties and has been used for centuries to protect people’s health. Its benefits include:

  • boosting brain function
  • lowering blood sugar and cortisol levels
  • helping with symptoms of anxiety and depression

A number of studies, including those from 2012 and 2019, have indicated that ashwagandha effectively reduces symptoms of anxiety.

Other herbal teas

Although there isn’t clinical research to back up the claims, advocates of alternative medicine suggest the following teas might be beneficial for people experiencing depression:

According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 1 in 6 people will experience depression at some time in their lives.

You might find that drinking tea helps, but don’t attempt to treat depression on your own. Without effective, professional guidance, depression can become severe.

Discuss your consumption of herbal tea with your doctor. Some herbs can interact with medications you’re taking and could negatively affect your health.