6 Stress Busting Herbal Teas

For people dealing with stress, it's crucial to take steps like practicing relaxation techniques, getting regular exercise and sufficient sleep, and talking to a mental health professional.

Sipping a warm cup of herbal tea in the middle of the day or in the evening can be a relaxing ritual, and there is some evidence that certain herbal teas have properties that can help tame stress. Here's a look at six herbal teas that may help you stay calm.

1

Linden Tea

Linden tea

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In some types of folk medicine, an herb called linden is said to help lessen anxiety. It's thought that taking extracts of the herb's flowers in tea form can help you relax and possibly ease insomnia (a condition commonly linked to anxiety problems).

Though there's not much research on the potential health benefits of linden, one preliminary study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that the herb could help alleviate anxiety. In tests on mice, the study's authors observed that linden extract might possess sedative properties.

For help dealing with anxiety and insomnia, herbs like valerian and hops might be useful. Drinking calming teas like chamomile, breathing in the soothing scent of lavender essential oil, or practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation could also help you wind down before bedtime.

2

Green Tea

Green tea

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An amino acid found naturally in green tea, theanine is said to promote relaxation and treat a number of mental health problems. For instance, many people take theanine supplements to alleviate anxiety, fight depression, and reduce stress.

So far, scientists have yet to extensively explore the health effects of theanine. However, preliminary research suggests that theanine may help lift mood, enhance brain function, and calm the body's response to stress.

While it's too soon to recommend the use of theanine supplements for treatment or prevention of any health condition, upping your theanine intake by drinking green tea may offer a wide range of health benefits. In fact, studies show that people who drink green tea on a regular basis may have increased protection against high blood pressure and high cholesterol (two top risk factors for heart disease), as well as some forms of cancer.

3

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea

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For help in getting eight solid hours each night, try turning to chamomile. Said to calm your nerves, chamomile was found to improve daytime functioning in people with insomnia in a pilot study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2011.

A report from the Journal of Health Psychology adds to the evidence that sleep disturbance might not help your waistline. In the report, scientists state that having your sleep disrupted at night could make you more likely to eat too much during the waking hours.

In addition to drinking chamomile tea, there's some evidence that smell of chamomile (using an aromatherapy blend that contains chamomile essential oil) might help you sleep more soundly. To reap the relaxing effects of chamomile, combine this oil with other sedative oils (like lavender) and with a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond. It's crucial to note that essential oils should never be ingested.

4

Rosemary Tea

rosemary

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To keep your mind sharp through the years, it's important to stay physically and mentally active, follow a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, and manage your stress. Certain natural remedies, such as the herb rosemary, may also help. There's also some evidence that rosemary may help enhance brain health by stimulating brain activity involved in controlling mood.

In a preliminary study published in the journal Fitoterapia in 2013, for instance, scientists discovered that rosemary helped improve long-term memory in rats. The study suggests that compounds found in rosemary may interfere with the activity of enzymes known to promote aging-associated impairment in memory.

For more help in sharpening your mind, consider taking up meditation. Findings from clinical trials published in recent years suggest that practicing meditation may help to ease stress and fight memory loss. 

5

Catnip Tea

catnip

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To help tame stress, some proponents of herbal remedies sip tea made with catnip, an herb in the mint family. Most commonly used as a natural calming agent for cats, catnip is thought to possess sedative properties that can also help promote relaxation in humans.

While catnip tea is sometimes used for stress-related health troubles like anxiety and insomnia, there's currently a lack of scientific support for its supposed health benefits. In fact, the scant research available on catnip suggests that the herb might even have a stimulating effect when consumed.

For an herbal infusion that might help you wind down, try opting for tea made with chamomile, passionflower, and/or valerian. Studies suggest that each of these herbs may help calm the central nervous system and help ease your tension.

6

Oat Straw Tea

an ear of oats

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Oat straw is sometimes touted as an all-natural energy booster. Taken from the above-ground parts of the oat plant that remain after extracting the grain, it's said to stave off mid-afternoon energy crashes—as well as ease common troubles like anxiety, insomnia, and chronic stress.

Although it is has a long history of use as a folk remedy to stop energy slumps and calm the mind, there's a lack of scientific studies backing the claims for oat straw's energizing effects. However, preliminary research shows that other parts of the oat plant may help enhance health: oat bran, for example, may help lower cholesterol levels and protect against hardening of the arteries (a top risk factor for cardiovascular disease).

7

Valerian Root Tea

Valerian root

Valerian root has long been used as a folk remedy to promote calmness and better sleep. Valeriana officinalis is commonly known as valerian, contains a number of compounds that may play a role in improving sleep and managing anxiety. Valerenic acid, for example, may help lower anxiety by reducing the breakdown of the chemical messenger gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. 

8

Licorice Tea

Licorice root

 Westend61/Getty Images

Licorice tea is another popular option that may have stress-relieving benefits. While more research is needed, there is some evidence that licorice tea may have some benefits for promoting stress relief and reducing feelings of anxiety. A 2011 study on mice found that there were some reductions in stress. A 2013 study found that licorice extract may increase the effects of anti-anxiety medications. If you are taking medications to treat anxiety, always talk to your doctor before you take any other medication or try an herbal supplement or remedy.

9

More Tips on Fighting Stress

three cups of tea and spoons

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For help in lifting your energy levels and calming your mind, try fine-tuning your sleep routine, cutting back on sugar, and adding quick bursts of physical activity to your daily schedule. In addition, breathing in the scent of uplifting essential oils like lemon and grapefruit may help rev up your energy, while practicing stress management techniques might fight burnout.

If you're considering using any form of alternative medicine (including herbal teas) for stress management, be sure to check with your doctor first.​

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