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What are the best teas for anxiety?

What are the best teas for anxiety?

When anxiety hits one of the things I like to do is to make myself a warm, soothing cup of tea. 

There is something about the ritual of making tea that is reassuring. Maybe it’s the warmth of the steam, or the pleasant scent, but it just sets me at ease. 

Luckily for me, and for anyone else who suffers from anxiety, some teas have the added benefit of having properties that aid in reducing anxiety to begin with. These range from teas you may be familiar with, such as peppermint, to ones that may be less familiar, such as St. John’s Wort.

Below are some teas that may help you when you are feeling anxious.

The Teas

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint has long been used as a way to soothe anxieties. Its sweet, spicy flavor provides a moment of calm in times of stress and fear. 

Scientifically speaking there is some research that indicates that peppermint can have an effect in lowering anxiety in certain situations. However, there is still a lot of research to be done on the herb and essential oil.

Whatever the case, peppermint is still one of the teas that people reach for the most when they are feeling anxious. Below are some of my favorite peppermint teas and peppermint mixes. 

  • Twinings Pure Peppermint: While not organic, there’s something to be said for the history and heritage that comes from a company like Twinings that has been making tea for centuries. Their peppermint is sweet and tingly, and all together lovely.

  • Art of Tea Dark Chocolate Peppermint Tea: This tea is a soothing treat. Chocolate and mint is one of my favorite combinations, and this tea doesn’t disappoint. It is warm and calming and delicious. 

Mint tea is a moment of calm (Image: Unsplash / Wesual Click)

Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon Balm, or melissa officinalis, a member of the mint family, has a long history of being used as a relaxant. Studies have shown that lemon balm and lemon balm extract is effective as a treatment for low to mild anxiety in both mice and most importantly, humans

In terms of taste, lemon balm is mildly sweet and lemony, and not very overpowering. Its gentle flavor makes it a good tea to drink on your own, as well as in combination with other herbs and flavors. 

Some of my favorite lemon balm teas, and lemon balm mixes are:

  • The Tao of Tea Lemon Balm Loose Leaf Tea: I almost always prefer to use loose leaf tea when I can. I find that it gives me more control over the strength and flavor of my tea, and that loose leaf teas make a much fresher tasting cup of tea than a bagged tea does. The Tao of Tea’s lemon balm tastes bright with a mild sweetness.

  • Buddha Teas Lemon Balm Tea: As mentioned above, Buddha Teas uses only organic ingredients, which is always a plus. Its lemon balm tea is aromatic and lightly sweet. 

  • Art of Tea Soothe Tea: The Art of Tea’s Soothe Tea is a minty blend of peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm, and other flavors. As the name of the blend implies, these are the herbs I want when I am looking for something calming and relaxing.

  • Yogi Tea Elderberry Lemon Balm Immune Plus Stress Tea: This tea is great for when you need both an immune boost and an emotional boost (and we all know how connected those two things are!). The elderberry in this blend gives your immune system some extra protection, and the lemon balm is there to help regulate your stress response and lower your anxiety. 

Lavender Tea

Most people associate lavender with soap, or with the fields of Provence, however, lavender can also be used to ease the symptoms of anxiety. A study done in 2009 showed that lavender oil was as effective as an oft-used anti-anxiety medication in treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Likewise, a 2019 study showed that lavender tea eased the symptoms of anxiety in the elderly.

It should be noted that if your anxiety makes it hard for you to function, you should see your doctor, just as you would with any other illness.

Lavender is an acquired taste, to some it tastes delightfully floral, while others tend to think it just tastes like soap. Personally, I’m not a big fan of lavender on its own, but think it’s great as part of an Earl Grey blend. 

That being said, here are some lavender teas and blends I recommend:

  • Buddha Tea Lavender Tea: Aromatic and flavorful, this is a tea for people who like their lavender tea straight up. It is organic and contains no artificial flavorings or sweeteners.

  • Yogi Honey Lavender Stress Relief Tea: This blend contains both lavender and lemon balm (mentioned above) as well as chamomile and peppermint (also mentioned above) to create the ultimate relaxing experience. The honey flavor provides a nice sweetness that harmonizes well with its floral components.

  • Art of Tea Lavender Chamomile Rose Blend: Sweet and spicy, this blend is floral and grassy at the same time. Lavender and rose provide the floral notes, while chamomile provides the grassy notes, and pink peppercorn elevates everything with a bit of spice. 

  • Twinings Earl Grey and Lavender: As mentioned above, Earl Grey and lavender blends are some of my favorite types of tea. I love the way bergamot and lavender complement each other providing extra depth to what some may think of as an ordinary tea. Though it does have caffeine, I still find that a cup of Earl Grey and lavender does a lot to soothe me when I’m feeling anxious.

Lavender tea can be calming when anxious (Image: Pexels / Leah Kelley)

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort tea is made of the leaves and yellow flowers of a bush that grows almost everywhere in the world. It has been used for its medicinal properties since ancient times. Because of its prevalence it is also one of the more studied herbs for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Like many anti-anxiety medications, according to Healthline, St. John’s Wort works by targeting and optimizing GABA neurotransmitters in the brain. 

A 2017 review of 27 clinical trials showed that St. John’s Wort was nearly as effective as some SSRIs commonly used to treat anxiety and depression for mild to moderate depression. In addition, a 2017 study in rats showed that it reversed the anxiety symptoms, and that it may have fewer side effects than some anti-anxiety medications.

It should be noted however, that St. John’s Wort can negatively interact with a number of medications, as such it is very important to have a discussion with your doctor before taking the herb either as a supplement or in tea form, especially if you are taking any medication on a regular basis.

On its own St. John’s Wort tea has a slightly bitter taste. A bit of honey couldn’t hurt when drinking it. It is also not a wildly popular tea- you most likely won’t find it in your regular grocery store. That being said, Buddha Tea has a good St. John’s Wort Tea, as does Alvita Organics.

Other helpful teas

  • Chamomile Tea: Chamomile Tea has been shown to be effective as a treatment for mild to moderate GAD.

  • Passionflower Tea: A 2020 review of studies regarding passionflower showed that it helps relieve anxiety symptoms.

  • Rose Tea: Studies show that rose oil is helpful for relaxation.

What to look for in an anti-anxiety tea?

The most important thing about an anti-anxiety tea is that it gives you a sense of wellbeing and calm. Choose a flavor that you find delicious and soothing. It is also a good idea to create a sense of ritual around drinking tea. Make it a moment of mindfulness and being present. 

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