I am going to put this right out there at the start... I am a huge tea drinker and I am really enthusiastic about sharing with you what I think are the best teas for stress and relaxation.
We have literally 40+ different types of tea at home. We used to run a tea webshop before, so we have some left overs. Good thing that tea cannot expire.
We drink everything from green tea to black tea, from oolong to pu'erh. It's really amazing how many different tea types are out there. Funnily enough, all major teas come from the same plant, the Camellia Sinensis plant, the only difference between them is how they are prepared.
Below I will shortly introduce you to the different tea types, but the main focus of this article will be on teas which will help you relieve stress and relax.
If you are a result oriented person and just want to hear the good stuff, I am going to reveal to you straight away. The best tea for relieving stress and relax is, in my humble opinion:
Chamomile is actually a herbal tea and while it is not the strongest relaxation inducing tea, it offers a good balance between being safe to use, cheap and having nice relaxation effects.
You can get your sample here from Wild Tea, it has high ratings on Amazon.
So, if you are curious about the rest of the story, let's jump right to it.
What type of teas are there?
To keep it simple, there are two main type of teas.
Teas which are from the Camellia Sinensis plant, and teas are which are not. 🙂 This later group is also generally referred to as Herbal teas.
While all major tea types, White tea, Green tea, Oolong tea, Black tea and Pu erh tea come from the same plant, Camelia Sinensis, they differ in their processing steps. This difference in processing gives each loose-leaf tea type their unique flavors, colors and aromas.
The basic steps of processing teas are the following:
- Plucking the tea leaves
- Withering the tea leaves
- Rolling the tea leaves
- Drying (firing)
These processing steps can even differ between tea plantations…Taking this into account and the fact how soil, weather conditions etc. influence the growth of tea, there is truly an amazing amount of loose-leaf tea varieties to explore around globe!
Below are the differences in short.
White teas are delicate tea, smooth, subtle in flavor and their brew is light in color. This tea type got its name after the fuzzy white hair that can usually be found on the leaves because the leaves are plucked so early from the plant.
White tea is essentially barely processed; no oxidization is done on it, on purpose. The leaves might oxidize some on their on during the drying process.
Green teas are withered, shaped and dried. The oxidization is prevented by applying heat during the shaping process.
Green teas are rich in amino acids and antioxidants and received lot of attention recently because of their health benefits.
They produce a green or yellowish brew and their taste can vary from grassy, toasty to veggie like.
One of the most well-known teas of this group is the Matcha green tea powder. I wrote an article about it previously how to use it to enhance your meditation and relaxation, check it out.
These types of tea take the most time to process. They use every step of the orthodox process for creating the tea and the parts of the process, such as shaping and oxidization are repeated a few times, letting this tea develop complex flavors.
Oolong teas are some of my favourites, like the famous Ti Kuan Yin, chinese oolong tea. On Lu Ann's Tea Cup of Life blog, you can find many cool reviews of tea, for example this tasting article of a few oolong tea. They might tickle your interest, to try them out. :)
Black teas are highly oxidized and they are shaped and processed in many ways depending on the region or plantation they were made at. They have rich flavor and produce a strong brew.
In Western countries they are generally the most popular tea type but this probably also has to do with the fact that they are most often used as bases for flavored teas, iced tea and for iconic teas such as Earl Grey and English Breakfast.
Pu erh tea
Pu-erh teas undergo similar processing to green teas however at one part of the process, they are left to age. The tea is often pressed into a cake like form during this stage. The aging can be anywhere from a few months to many years. They are also priced for this unique feature.
These are only the basic types of tea, however, like I mentioned the tea in the end is influenced by many factors, so there are a great variety of teas available on the market. It can be quite challenging to remember all the names of the varieties, especially because they are usually in the local language.
It does help if you translate them, because sometimes they have quite funny names. Like these Chinese teas mentioned on Nicole's Tea for me please blog. 🙂
Herbal teas are technically all the other type of teas, that are made from plants other than the Camellia Sinensis plant.
While you might not realise it, but the category of herbal teas is actually much much bigger in the number of types than normal loose leaf tea. The reason being is simply that there are dozens and dozens of plant that can be used to make tea from.
Although it's bigger qua the number of types available, qua consumption, the above mentioned 5 categories of loose lead tea is way bigger. I mean, China alone, they produce more than 2 million tones of tea every year and most of it is for domestic consumption.
That's a lot of loose-leaf tea. :)
However, back to herbal teas.
Herbal teas in general are the best choice when it comes to stress relief and relaxation.
For starters, they naturally do not contain caffeine, which obviously a great thing if you would like to relax your body and mind or want to drink tea right before going to bed.
While in general loose-leaf teas have lot of health benefits, herbal teas can have powerful effects. They can influence muscles relaxation or your nervous system to induce relaxation, so depending on your goals, you can find herbal teas matching your wishes.
Herbal teas vary in strengths, thus you will need to experiment a bit and read upon the teas you would like to start using, especially if you have some health conditions.
Below I tried mentioning the most important benefits and points of caution per tea, but it's always a good idea to check with your doctor if you are doubting or having some type of special medical condition.
Another nice thing about herbal teas is the high diversity of herbs and plants available on earth, which you can make tea from. This allows you to try out different teas, experience different tastes and keep things interesting.
Which herbal teas are the best for relieving stress?
After this short introduction, let's which teas are in general recommended for relaxation and against stress.
Since stress has always existed and has evolved through the ages, some herbs are used as folk medicine for a long time. You might realise some of these herbs from the list below.
Keep in mind that some people respond more to a certain tea, while others less.
The key is to pay close attention and experiment their effects, and find those that work best for you.
Chamomile is a very popular herb, because it's easily available, cheap and has a nice taste (OK, maybe that's a bit subjective).
Chamomile tea is also a popular way to relieve anxiety, nervousness and restlessness. It's also known as the 'bed-time tea', because it can help to fall asleep easier. In this article on Herbal Academy, you can find some tips how to use it for sleeping and creating a calm environment in your bed room.
Some other added benefits of chamomile include a mild sedative effect, anti-inflammatory effect and helping with anxiety and depression.
Consult a doctor before taking chamomile if you have any chronic disease of the gastrointestinal tract.
Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family. Originating from Europe, it is well known for its calming effects and has been used since the Middle Ages.
It can be taken as an herbal tea and also used in aromatherapy, which is another nice way to enhance your relaxation efforts. This later I haven't tried as mostly I use lavender for aromatherapy.
Next to its calming effects, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center it can possibly help with indigestion, oral herpes and back in the day it was used to treat insect bites.
Apparently, according to the university's website, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using lemon balm.
Passion flower can be found worldwide, except in Antarctica and Europe. However, it is popular in Europe to relieve nervous tension.
Some of the additional benefits of passion flower, According to Organic Facts, next to reducing stress hormones and improving the mood are:
- people with drug additions reported that passionflower helped curbing the effects
- It can help in mitigating the effects of menopause
- reduce inflamation throughout the body
- increase libido (sex drive)
- help in sleeping better
Since it's a strong herb, some points to be cautions about. It isn't recommended for pregnant women as it can be a stimulant for uterine contractions.
Next to that as it can lower blood pressure, it isn't recommended to combine with other such medicines. It can also cause nausea and vomiting when consumed in higher amounts.
Nicknamed 'Phu' due to its odd and unpleasant aroma. It is another strong herb, so use it with caution.
Also known as "nature's tranquilliser", it is a sedative and anxiety healer and was given to civilians during WWII to reduce the effects of stress caused by repeated air raids.
You'll find various combinations of these herbs as calming teas in your grocery store or in pill form in your local health food store.
According to the Daily Tea Blog, it's also proven to be a great night time sleeping aid, so you can try using it before going to bed. It can also help you feel more refreshed in the morning and has the added benefits of being a muscle relaxant, so not only helps your mind but also body to let go.
Similarly to other strong herbs, you should check with your doctor if you can use it, especially since it has many drug interactions (for blood pressure, anxiety, headaches, etc.).
Ashwagandha, also known as indian ginseng, is often recommended to calm the nervous system and enhance relaxation by cutting the amount of cortisol in the body, has anti inflammatory effects, boosting the immune system and apparently works as an aphrodisiac.
This study also found evidence for the stress reducing effects of ashwagandha root extract in a randomised group study.
It is a rather popular herb in Ayurvedic circles as well and most often the root of the herb is used. Here is a nice summary of additional benefits of the herb.
According to this site, the use of catnip tea as a herb was documented as early as 1735 in the General Irish Herbal. It's known as one of the "anti-stress herb" and helps to relax and ease the mind. (Cats like it for a reason 🙂 ).
According to Wellness-Mama it can be used in a bath to help with achy muscles or give it to children in tea form when they have fever, so the illness can leave the body faster.
I read it on the Right Tea blog that you can also try mixing it with chamomile or mint, to have an even better taste. :) If you have a garden, they give some tips how you can grow it yourself.
It readily available to buy and use as tea. Word of caution, it isn't recommended for pregnant woman or
De-stress tea blends
Next to all these herbal teas, you also have different tea blends, from bigger tea companies that can help you relax. These tea blends are typically a combination some type of loose leaf tea (green or black) with different relaxation inducing herbs.
Obviously one of the benefits of these blends is that they are super easy to use. They just come in a filter, you throw it in hot water and it's done. Usually they also taste great, because companies make sure that their blends do, else it won't sell. 🙂
I found this Ayurvdeic de-stress tea from Tea of Life on the blog of SororiTeaSisters. Sounds interesting it's combination of ginger, cumin, lavender. They also have a very nicely reviewed De Stress tea, which you can get here.
Yogi tea is a famous bigger tea brand, which usually makes different tea blends. One of their such blends is named Herbal Kava Stress relief tea, which was reviewed on the Nootriment blog. Interesting to check out, they also discuss why can Kava tea be good for stress relief. You can easily get it via Amazon from Yogi tea.
How to make a good cup of loose leaf or herbal tea?
Making a good cup of herbal tea is actually pretty simple. You can use the following steps to create the brew.
- Grab you favourite tea mug. I have to say, we are a bit of tea mug collectors with my girlfriend, so whenever we go somewhere, we buy one as a little souvenir. If you don't have a cool tea mug yet, I can suggest to get one, like these cool mugs. It makes the experience of drinking a tiny bit more fun.
- Warm up the water. For making herbal teas, use water, which was just boiled, you don't have to let it cool down (like you would for green tea for example).
- Use 2 tea spoons of herbal tea of your choice.
- Use a permanent filter or a paper filter. The choice is your, I suggest permanent filter because it's cheaper on the long run and more nature friendly. This simple permanent tea filter might be a good choice.
- Brew the herb for 5 minutes. The longer you brew, the stronger the tea gets. You can try brewing for a shorter time than 5 minutes, but that's in general the recommendations.
- Enjoy your delicious tea. 😉
If you are more the visual type, here is a nice YouTube video from the Republic of tea explaining the brewing.
What do you need to make a nice cup of herbal tea?
How to find time to relax with tea?
I often hear people that they cannot find time to relax. If you are one of those people, who can come up with lot of excuses, feel overwhelmed or busy, these tips should help you.
Start substituting some of the drinks that you are already taking for tea. It really doesn't take much time to prepare tea, if you have a nice water cooker. Another essential thing is a permanent filter, so you don't waste money on paper filters for your tea (if you are buying your herbal teas in loose tea form, which I recommend).
Instead of watching TV before going to bed, take 10 minutes to make tea and drink it in peace.
Make it part of your relaxing morning ritual. It can be a great way to enjoy the relaxation benefits of tea if you start the day with it. In this way, instead of focusing on your to-dos and stressors, you can take a moment to enjoy a cup and centre your mind.
Combine it with other activities, such as relaxation exercises or meditation. I wrote an article before about using Matcha tea for meditation, you can get some tips there.
I can also highly recommend tea drinking for stress relief with listening to music. If you put on some relaxing music, sip some Chamomile tea in the meantime and try to clear your thoughts, it can be a very relaxing experience. In the blog post I suggest 15+ relaxation music that you can try.
In general, if you would like to start using tea for relaxation, you should consider herbal teas.
Among herbal teas, I personally think Chamomile is the best tea for stress and relaxation. It's cheap, easy to get, and relatively safe to use. It also has a nice taste. 🙂
Preparing herbal teas is super simple and you combine them with other activities such as relaxation or listening to music. Chamomile is also great to drink before going to bed.
For my question, for this article:
- Which herbal teas have you tried already to relax? Which one is your favourite?
Share it with us in the comments below, so we can learn from each other!
Relax and be well,