Do you suffer from anxiety? Are you looking for different ways to improve how you feel? Are you wondering if there is a tea for anxiety that tastes good? Then this article could help.
Tea originates from China, and has a complex and ancient history. It was traded as a commodity and has ceremonies attached to it. There are whole movements devoted to tea, and hundreds of websites lovingly created by tea worshippers. It’s been drunk across the world for hundreds of years, and if you walk down the aisle of a supermarket, there are literally too many to choose from. Practically everyone you know drinks tea. In fact it’s a bit odd (for Brits) when you come across someone who doesn’t. Putting on the kettle is in part of your DNA. You’re programmed for it, as something to do before, during and after everything else.
Tea and you
Why not take a moment now to consider how you take yours, what the simple act of putting the kettle on does to your stress levels (it usually reduces them), and how you feel when you sit down to drink your tea. Then read this article to discover if you can become more conscious about you and your tea, and perhaps make a few simple changes to your what you choose as a support mechanism for your anxiety management.
Caffeine & Tannin
Whether you call it builders tea, English tea, breakfast tea, or black tea – the most popular drinking tea is mostly made from Camellia sinensis leaves, and contains caffeine (about 1/3 as much as a cup of coffee). Tea also contains tannins. Tannin is a naturally occurring compound in black tea which gives it the dark colour, and also the bitter after taste – which we all like and are used to.
Caffeine is a stimulant, so is best avoided if you have anxiety and especially so in the evenings before bed. With regards to tannins there is conflicting research about whether they should be avoided for anxiety, (tannins can reduce protein digestibility, yet are an antioxidant). For the purposes of this article, lower tannin teas and caffeine free varieties are offered a substitute for black tea, as one way to support your efforts to reduce your anxiety levels.
Why swapping black tea for herbal tea for anxiety, is tricky
You have already read somewhere that you should swap to herbal or fruit teas away from regular black tea. But have you ever taken a sip of a fruit tea you bought at the health store and been disappointed? It often doesn’t give you the cuddle in the cup you get from black tea which is why it’s tricky to swap.
And when you’re not feeling 100%, what you want is a nice cup of tea that will make you feel better – just like regular tea has been doing for you for for a while – and for your parents and grandparents before! A a mug of weak fruity water that burns your mouth is not going to have the desired effect.
So how can you switch out your very emotionally and physically satisfying cuppa for something with less tannins and no caffeine, that’s readily available in the shops, and tastes satisfying, so it’s an easy swap?
Try Redbush Tea for anxiety
Swap your black tea for Redbush Tea. Rooibos or Redbush tea is an excellent substitute for black tea, as you can add milk. That way, you are ‘fooling’ your brain into thinking you’re having a nice cup of tea. It’s just as satisfying, and won’t leave you feeling cheated. The good news is that this type of tea is now readily available in supermarkets/stores.
The rooibos is a blush grown only in South Africa. It’s like a herb, and has yellow flowers. When it’s harvested it is crushed and fermented and turns to a glorious red (hence the name).
Why is it good for anxiety?
First of all it’s tasty so it won’t leave you feeling that you’re having less of a tea experience. Plus it’s naturally caffeine free and has around 1/3 as much tannin as regular tea – so if you replace your tea with rooibos you’re cutting out caffeine and reducing tannin. Less stimulants will keep you on a more even keel and you can drink it at any time of the day. No need to give up your evening cup of tea.
It contains a whole heap of health supporting properties which we could list here and blind you with science or just say that redbush tea contains lots of antioxidants – chemicals that prevent cell damage – which help reduce inflammation, and in turn work to boost mood and memory. It’s also mineral rich – with (amongst others), calcium and magnesium (which prevent nervous tension), and potassium (for adrenal function). For more ‘science’ check out this link where you can read more about the excellent benefits of redbush tea directly from the growers in South Africa.
What does it taste like?
It tastes kind of nutty, sweet and it’s light and refreshing. It’s light red in colour. You can drink it on its own, or with milk (although remember it won’t go the same colour as your usual tea), or lemon.
Note that the tea bags need a bit of time to steep in water to get their full flavour, so don’t just give it a quick dunk and throw the milk in like you would treat it your usual pyramid bag. Show it some respect, and it will give you that cuddle in a cup you’re looking for.
We recommend that you pop a few bags in your handbag, so when you’re out and about you can stick to your ‘black tea’ regime. (In fact Redbush is becoming popular in coffee shops, so will be easier to find, which is great news.)
What about a caffeine- free green tea for anxiety?
Try the green Rooibos.
If you like green tea but don’t want the caffeine, try the lighter tasting Green Rooibos which is the same as Rooibos, but very slightly different in its preparation (it’s not crushed or fermented).
Rooibos also comes in earl grey, vanilla and honey/ginger and green (although only the earl grey is good with milk).
Please note: Rooibos has a lot of good properties – it’s a powerful tea – but we recommend you check with your GP if you are under any medication or treatment, in case there is a contra-indication.
What else is available to drink as a tea for anxiety?
Peppermint tea for anxiety
A staple in the Calmer-You team’s cupboard is peppermint tea. This tea is available pretty much everywhere now, and in our opinion is probably the nicest tasting of the herbal teas, which makes it a really easy to choose substitute. Don’t always go for the cheapest option – we found there is a big difference in flavour between store own label (quite weak) and the branded in their own wrapper bags like Pukka Herbs tea which has spearmint, fieldmint and peppermint, and for when we’re feeling really in need, and want a big hit of minty power, we’d say Tea Pigs peppermint is the way to go.
Why is peppermint tea good for anxiety?
Studies have shown that mint can increase focus and concentration, which is great if you’re at work and you’re having an afternoon wobble, a peppermint tea should get you back on track. When you’re having an ‘all over the place’ kind of day, your thoughts can run away with you and can increase feelings of anxiety, tensing up your body. Peppermint will also help to relax your muscles. If you think about that combination – relaxed muscles and ability to focus, your productivity could go up as well as your anxiety levels go down. Plus, it’s easy to get an upset tummy when you’re anxious, and the good news is that peppermint can assist here too.
Try drinking after lunch and dinner, to soothe your digestion, as peppermint can help with stomach cramps.
We like to think of a peppermint tea as a guilt-free treat, and sometimes add a little honey in there to ward off sweet cravings.
Note of caution: avoid if you’re pregnant as it relaxes muscles that you don’t want relaxed – check with your health care provider.
What about chamomile tea for anxiety?
The old favourite is chamomile flowers. Used for centuries to soothe digestion, calm muscle spasm, and relax your body and mind. It’s recommended for the evenings to ease relaxation and sleep. The thing is, in supermarket boxes the tea in the bags is not super-dooper tasty or satisfying, even with some honey. Opt for the whole flowers, and use a teapot, as the flavour is greatly improved.
You’ll also see articles on adding lavender to help ease and soothe, particularly headaches – although that’s a bit tricky to get hold of, tastes like soap if you brew it too long, and has a powerful perfume which can be overbearing.
Not sure which to choose? Then try a blend
Blended teas, like blended essential oils, will taste a lot different than single fruit teas. So do take a look at what’s available, and test some out to find the one you like.
Chill out with a nice cup of caffeine & tannin free tea
For most people, drinking tea is in their DNA, so letting it go can be difficult – even though the substitutes will be really good for you. So do try Redbush tea as your go to alternative for black tea – and try the earl grey variety too. Have some peppermint tea close by especially for afternoons and evenings, and try some of the blended teas – they will be labelled ‘Relax’ or ‘Calming’ or ‘Sleep’ and very likely contain chamomile.
Do try and find one that you really enjoy – after all, it’s got to taste delicious for you to want to swap it out, and keep choosing it. Then have a stash in your bag, so you can be tea-tastic wherever you go.
Do you have a favourite blend of tea for anxiety? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to try it.