Stress. Just hearing that word can conjure up feelings of anxiety. Life offers many stressors simply during day-to-day events. School, work, health issues, busy schedules, family drama—it seems that there is always something in life that can cause stress. As humans, our own internal response to a need we have that goes unmet causes stress within. While you don’t have to let it take over your life, sometimes stressful situations happen and needs go unmet—and you have to learn ways to manage your response.
Mindset and positive thinking have a lot to do with how you let stressors affect you, but what if there were ways to physiologically reduce stress on a cellular level? There are so many plants, flowers, and herbs that carry healing and medicinal properties. Most of the time these gifts of earth go unnoticed because people are simply unaware of their uses. Tea is an easy and simple way to consume many different plants, flowers, and herbs in a convenient and foolproof way. And many herbal teas’ benefits include reducing stress and anxiety, and can also improve sleep quality!
Tea is made with the simple process of boiling water and steeping the dried (or fresh) plants, flowers, or herbs until they are infused in the water. It’s such a powerful beverage, each with a unique taste, and you don’t need anything special to make it! It’s your anti-stress remedy in a mug. Even the thought of sipping on a warm mug of tea can have a calming effect and push anxious symptoms to the side.
But what herbal teas specifically help reduce stress? There is a handful to choose from, so pick one or all five and sip away!
Chamomile tea is your first stress-reducing tea and probably the most well-known as a calming tea. It’s a flower that looks similar to a cute little daisy. Chamomile flowers come in a variety of species but German and Roman are the most common varieties that you will find in teas. Chamomile has a sedative effect that is due to a flavonoid known as apigenin. It binds to receptors in the brain and acts as a mild tranquilizer. Because of that, it’s also helpful for promoting a better night’s sleep. A mug of chamomile tea is a perfect way to wind down at the end of a stressful day.
Peppermint doesn’t scream anti-stress to you, does it? The awesome thing about peppermint oil is that it helps relax your muscles. When you’re stressed, do you ever get stomach aches or notice your digestion gets more sluggish? Peppermint specifically relaxes the smooth muscles which helps with regulating digestion and minimizing abdominal discomfort. No more stress stomach aches with peppermint tea! This refreshing herb is a delicious sipper tea that you can find nearly anywhere or grow yourself. Fresh peppermint tea leaves can be steeped in hot water for the most refreshing cup of tea you’ll ever drink. Then it’s hello, relaxation!
“Stop and smell the roses.” It’s something people say to take a break from the craziness of life and inhale a wonderfully smelling flower. But there’s a reason for it more than just taking a quick break. Rose is one of the most powerful ingredients for reducing stress! In this study, researchers found that just inhaling rose as aromatherapy was enough to reduce overall feelings of stress in hemodialysis patients. Drinking rose tea is another powerful way to use it–and it’s delicious!
4. Passion Flower
Passionflower isn’t commonly consumed because it isn’t as well known as the others on this list. But it’s just as powerful for reducing stress and anxiety! It has the biggest effect on sleep, which is crucial for the body restoring itself—especially during times of stress. Chronic stress and insomnia often go hand in hand, right? One study, in particular, showed that passionflower tea helped adults get better sleep and sleep more regularly as well. Hello to waking up refreshed!
If there is one scent that comes to mind when you think of relaxation, it’s probably lavender. The lavender plant can grow up to three feet tall; it’s filled with beautiful purple flowers. You’ll see it frequently in soaps, lotions, and aromatherapy to promote relaxation, and it is also becoming more mainstream to consume lavender; for example, you may have come across lavender lemonade or ice cream at restaurants. Lavender is an easy way to get the plant’s stress-reducing benefits. Researchers have found that it can reduce anxiety, improve mood, and promote better sleep, as well as increase feelings of well-being. Plus, it tastes amazing!
If the taste of any of these herbal teas is too strong for you, you can add raw honey for some natural sweetness or dilute the tea leaves with additional water. These five teas can be purchased as ready-to-go tea bags at health food stores or online in bulk. Whatever is most convenient for you!
To enhance the feelings of relaxation when you drink these stress-reducing herbal teas, try meditation, journaling, or light movement like stretching to relax even more.
Which tea are you going to try first? They all have different flavor profiles so you can switch it up for variety and get the stress-reducing benefits of all five, Monday through Friday! Or you can get a tea blend like this Cup of Calm tea by Traditional Medicinals that has chamomile, passionflower, lavender, and peppermint all in one. There are so many options for you to get some herbal teas for stress relief into your daily life.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; it does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.
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