Is Tea Good for Reducing Anxiety?

We’ve all heard that a cup of tea can cure anything, but is tea good for reducing anxiety?

William W. Gladstone once said “If you are cold, tea will warm you, if you are too heated, it will cool you, if you are depressed, it will cheer you, if you are excited, it will calm you”

  • Is there any truth behind this famous tea quote?

  • Can tea really soothe your troubles away?

  • What tea is best for anxiety?

  • Can tea actually be bad for anxiety?

Here’s all the anti-stressy questions about tea and herbal tisanes…

Tea for Stress and Anxiety: How can it Help?

Read about the natural teas and tisanes to help a stressy head

In an extremely busy, demanding world, so many of us are reaching for therapies and healthy supplements to help with feeling less bleh. Other words to describe anxiety include: stressed, angst, concerned, jitters, nervousness, fret and worry. Whatever the word you use for feeling a bit stressed out, there are some natural ways to help with relaxation and calmness. Of course, it’s always best to seek medical advise from a healthcare professional, this article is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose.

What Can I Drink to Reduce Anxiety?

Many healthy natural ingredients high in essential vitamins and minerals can aid in reducing anxiety such as fresh fruits and vegetables, including tart cherry. Tart cherry is known to contain melatonin which can aid in a restful nights sleep. I have a great naturally caffeine free Moon milk recipe that uses tart cherry syrup with warm milk. Warm milk is also known to help soothe, comfort and aid in relaxation before bedtime.

Chamomile teas and other herbal teas are also known to help relieve stresses. Chamomile has been used for thousands of years for it’s anxiety reducing effects.

And my most favourite way to de-stress… drinking a lovely cup of tea. Tea, from the Camellia sinensis plant, contains lots of healthy antioxidants and goodness that brings about a wonderful sense of calm. And that’s a great reason to pop the kettle on.

A Brief History of Drinking Tea for Medicinal Purposes

Tea has been used for thousands of years for it’s medicinal purposes. Tea was first discovered by Emperor Shen Nung. Emperor Shen Nung was known as ‘Divine Farmer’ and was the father of ancient Chinese medicine. Emperor Shen Nung first discovered tea by accident. A stray tea leaf accidentally blew into his pot of boiling water. It became a big hit in China and other parts of Asia too. Tea has been used for centuries to help monks meditate for longer periods of time due to it’s calming properties and focus aiding qualities.

Thousands of years later, when tea was first imported to England, it was marketed as ‘medicine’ to treat digestion and nerves. A Dutch doctor even recommended 50-100 cups of tea a day!! Although, we all now know that’s an excessive amount of tea. Drinking tea can have it’s health boosting benefits but drinking too much tea can have not-so-nice negative side effects. And drinking 50-100 cups a day, well that’s just dangerous.

“Making tea is a ritual that stops the world from falling in on you”

— Jonathan Stroud

Does L-Theanine in Tea Make You Happy?

L-theanine is a special compound found in tea with wonderful effects on the brain. L-Theanine is known to help brain function by creating a sense of calmness whilst aiding in focus. Studies show that L-Theanine increases activity in the alpha frequency band of the brain, showing signs of relaxation without drowsiness. This has a positive effect by increasing serotonin, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and dopamine levels. L-Theanine is found in tea and is also found in some types of mushrooms. Drinking a combination of the two in this mushroom tea is a great idea.

Does L-Theanine make you happy? So technically, L-Theanine doesn’t make you directly happy but it can help aid in feeling less stressed which can have a positive effect on the mind. Now that’s another reason to pop the kettle on!

“The spirit of the tea beverage is one of peace, comfort and refinement”

— Arthur Gray

What Hot Tea is Good for Anxiety?

Enjoying a warming soothing cup of tea is a super way to relax. Warm drinks can help calm the mind and help you to unwind. Warm tea, especially with milk and something sweet can create a full feeling of contentment. Having a cuppa with a spoonful of sugar or honey helps the body release serotonin, the feel good hormone. It takes around 15 minutes for this to happen, after which the effects of the L-Theanine are felt, extra feel good factor.

I love a warming cup of this coconut chai latte. This heavenly latte is made with thick coconut cream and smoky maple syrup which goes perfectly with the warming chai spices. I love this latte with a slice of cake and we all know that cake can make you seriously happy!

Try these other warming tea ideas:

  • Chamomile tea with a spoonful of honey and a slice of lemon

  • Golden moon milk - with turmeric, ginger and ashwagandha

  • Uplifting Fresh Mint Tea With a Spoonful of Sugar

  • Matcha wellness shots - with turmeric and ginger

Is Matcha Green Tea Psychoactive?

I love a hot cup of matcha green tea, especially in the morning. Just like other types of tea, green tea is psychocative. psychocative means that it affects the mind. Matcha is a type of concentrated green tea where the whole leaf is consumed rather than taken by infusion. Tea cannot make you high like drugs can, but tea does affect your mind in a different way, it has a feel good factor. The L-Theanine modulates brain function, increases serotonin and dopamine levels. The caffeine found in tea, which is high in matcha, improves cognitive function and boosts alertness. Tea, including matcha green tea, is psychoactive because it can boost mental alertness and promote calmness at the same time.

Can Tea be Bad for Anxiety?

Whilst drinking a cup of tea can be good to soothe and comfort, drinking too much tea can have some negative side effects. Tea, coffee and chocolate all contain caffeine. Consuming too much caffeine can actually increase anxiety and can affect a restful nights sleep. For some people, drinking tea can be a mood modulator and anti depressant, for others that are sensitive to caffeine, it can induce panic attacks. Everyone is different to the effects of drinking tea.

Drinking a cup of decaffeinated tea can be beneficial before bedtime by having all the L-Theanine without all the caffeine. However, caffeine is found naturally in tea and to remove it, the tea has to go through a chemical treatment. Some treatments include using carbon dioxide, ethyl acetate and methylene chloride. These chemicals can alter the taste of the tea and can cause side effects such as headache, dizziness, itching and fainting.

Another way to enjoy a lower caffeinated cup of tea is by using a cold brewed method. By steeping the leaves in cold water for a longer period of time will greatly reduce the caffeine present. The taste of cold brewed iced tea is less astringent as less tannins will be present compared to hot brewed tea. Here’s how to brew a cup of iced tea: take one cup of cold water and one tea bag, allow to steep in the fridge for 4-24 hours and enjoy, I like to pour over a large glass of ice and add slices of fresh fruit.

Enjoying naturally caffeine free herbal teas, such as chamomile or peppermint are also a great way to enjoy a soothing cuppa without caffeine, especially at night time or for those highly sensitive to caffeine.

Is Black Tea Bad for Anxiety?

As a general rule of thumb, black tea contains the most caffeine with oolong, green and white tea falling behind. A cup of black tea will contain around 40mg of caffeine per cup. A cup of green tea will contain around 25mg per cup. As a comparison, a cup of regular coffee will contain around 95mg of caffeine per cup. However, with that being said, it is really difficult to calculate the exact amount of caffeine found in tea due to various factors. Each tea is grown, harvested and processed differently and this will affect the caffeine present. Other factors that affect the caffeine levels include amount of tea leaves used per cup, steeping time and steeping temperature used.

Here is an exception to that rule of thumb, matcha is a type of green tea but it contains high levels of caffeine per serving as the whole leaf is consumed rather than taken by infusing the leaves. Matcha contains around 35mg of caffeine per half a teaspoon serving.

Is black tea bad for anxiety? Whist black tea is most likely to have the highest levels of caffeine compared to other teas, it is not necessarily worse for anxiety sufferers. However, it is something to be aware of for those wanting to lower their daily intake of caffeine or for those sensitive to caffeine.

Is Tea Better Than Coffee for Anxiety?

Unlike coffee, the caffeine in tea can have a positive effect on the body. The caffeine in tea can boost energy levels without the jitters that caffeine in coffee can sometimes cause. This is due to the antioxidants and l-theanine found in tea. These can increase the alpha frequency band in the brain. This has a positive effect by increasing serotonin, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and dopamine levels. In short, tea can boost energy and promote calmness at the same time.

Does Tea Help Relieve the Symptoms of PMT?

Tea can help periods, it can help with PMT symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, irritability and brain fog. Tea is super soothing, contains caffeine to help stay focused and L-Theanine to aid in calmness. Tea also contains high amounts of anti inflammatory antioxidants which can be helpful when feeling a little bloated. Tea can also be beneficial pre and post workout. Even if you aren’t feeling it, exercise can help PMT symptoms. Tea can assist by boosting energy, endurance and aiding in muscle recovery too.

What Herbal Teas are Good for Anxiety?

Here are some fabulous herbal alternatives to a warming soothing cup of tea:

  • Apparently, hibiscus tea contains natural anti depressant qualities! I love making a big batch of this fresh hibiscus tea made with fresh hibiscus petals and warming ginger.

  • Chamomile tea contains wonderful antioxidants that are reported to have anxiety reducing effects. Chamomile tea is lovely hot or cold, with or without a squeeze of honey and a slice of lemon.

  • Peppermint tea is a refreshing and uplifting herbal infusion. I especially love a fresh mint tea by infusing fresh mint leaves in freshly boiled water and allowing to steep for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy hot or cold. I love enjoying a fresh mint tea after dinner with homemade biscotti.

Do you have a favourite tea for relieving the symptoms of stress and anxiety?

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This blog is for information purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any medical conditions. Always seek advice from your healthcare provider.