I love tea. I love the taste, the smell, and the way just holding a giant steaming cup of it makes me instantly relax. I love tea so much that I often carry a little teapot around with me in my bag, along with an “emergency” teabag . I blame my English heritage for this.
Teas are a gentle and effective way to use herbs and can be used alone or blended together in a tasty therapeutic concoction. They’re also pretty cheap, or if you’re a green-thumb (alas, I am not) you can grow them in the veggie patch or on your kitchen windowsill, ready to be plucked and thrown straight into the teapot.
These are three of my favourite go-to herbal teas for when I’m feeling a bit stressed or need to wind-down after a busy day:
Chamomile has a mild-sedative effect so it’s super calming and is a good tea to relax you before bed. It’s a herb that’s often used to alleviate anxiety and has been found to reduce depression too. It’s particularly useful for people who experience gastrointestinal issues when they get stressed as it calms the digestive system.
Passion flower is another great herb for reducing anxiety. Like chamomile it has a mild-sedative effect so a cup or two at night can help you wind-down ready for a good night’s sleep. The only problem with passion flower is that it doesn’t taste very nice, to put it politely. It can be mixed with other herbs like chamomile or peppermint to disguise the taste, but the somewhat interesting flavour is worth the calming effects it gives.
The smell of lavender alone is enough to calm and relax people in all kinds of situations; studies have found lavender oil to be effective for reducing anxiety in people taking exams, people in a dental waiting room, and patients waiting to go in to surgery. Lavender has been found to be as equally effective when taken internallyiii (as a tea or extract – never consume essential oils). Over-steeping lavender tea can make it taste like soap, so drink it soon after you make it.