Tea for Anxiety: 9 Calming Brews

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Lindsay Delk, RDN

Anxiety is an unwelcome visitor that many of us grapple with regularly. In addition to traditional therapies, you may seek natural ways to ease anxiety and reduce stress. Tea isn’t just a beverage; it’s a centuries-old tradition that offers tranquility in a cup. Drinking tea for anxiety and/or stress may be what you need to find a moment of calm.

This post was written by Lindsay Delk, RDN. It is for informational purposes and is not intended to replace medical advice or instructions given by your healthcare provider. 

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

2 girls relaxing on a couch with tea for anxiety

The Best Types of Tea for Anxiety and Stress

1 – Tulsi (Holy Basil) Tea

Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is a revered herb of Ayurvedic medicine in the Indian subcontinent. Its adaptogenic nature means it can help your body better respond to stressors. Research shows that it can help reduce anxiety and stress levels.

The flavor of tulsi tea is earthy and slightly minty with a hint of clove in the background.

Iced holy basil/tulsi tea has become my go-to beverage. Its flavor is not as bitter as some other herbal teas, so it’s perfect without any added sweeteners. It doesn’t have caffeine, so I can enjoy it any time of day without worrying that it will interfere with my sleep. I brew 6 to 8 tea bags to make a gallon of tulsi tea to keep in the refrigerator. Here are the tea bags I use: tulsi tea.

Tulsi tea in a glass mug with holy basil leaves on the side
Tulsi (Holy Basil) Tea

2 – Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is a popular choice for those seeking relaxation. A meta-analysis from 2019 found that chamomile was a safe and effective treatment for generalized anxiety disorders (GAD) and sleep quality. Here is my recommendation: chamomile tea.

Chamomile tea has slightly sweet, apple-like flavor with soft floral notes.

3 – Green Tea (Low Caffeine)

Green tea is known for its rich content of antioxidants and L-theanine. The antioxidants can help decrease chronic inflammation and ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. L-theanine is an amino acid that has significant anti-anxiety effects and promotes relaxation.

The taste of green tea varies depending on its type and brewing methods. Generally, it has a grassy quality with a clean and refreshing finish.

Green tea is usually high in caffeine, so I recommend drinking low-caffeine green tea so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep. Here is my pick: low-caffeine green tea.

4 – Ashwagandha Tea

Ashwagandha is another adaptogenic herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. Research suggests that ashwagandha can improve sleep quality and provide anxiety and stress relief.

Ashwagandha tea is slightly bitter and earthy with a nuanced hint of sweetness. Its flavor might be an acquired taste for you, but the potential health benefits make it a worth a try. Here is my recommendation: ashwagandha tea.

Glasses of iced tea carried on a white platter

5 – Peppermint Tea

Research shows that the scent of peppermint has anxiety-relieving properties, so peppermint tea can ease away the tension that comes with anxiety. Peppermint is also known to ease GI issues, which often flare up with stress and anxiety. Here is my recommendation: peppermint tea.

Peppermint tea tastes like – you guessed it – peppermint!

6 – Lavender Tea

The gentle aroma of lavender has long been associated with calming effects. And this systematic review study found that lavender significantly reduces stress. Lavender tea may be the perfect thing for winding down after a taxing day. Here is my recommendation: lavender tea.

The flavor of lavender tea is not too overpowering. It has a floral taste with a delicate sweetness and a hint of mint.

7 – Passionflower Tea

Native Americans have used passionflower as a sedative for centuries. This lesser-known herbal tea shows promise for the relief of anxiety and insomnia. You may want to enjoy this tea only at night because of its sedative effects. Here is my recommendation: passionflower tea.

The flavor of passionflower is grassy, earthy, floral, and fruity all in one.

A picture of valerian herb with "green apothecary" written above

8 – Valerian Root Tea

Valerian root is another tea that helps with anxiety and has a mild sedative effect. It may be especially useful in treating insomnia caused by anxiety. While this can soothe both your mind and body, you may want to enjoy valerian root tea only in the evenings. Here is my pick: valerian root tea.

Valerian root tea is earthy, woody, and somewhat bitter, so it may take you a while to develop a preference for this tea.

9 – Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon balm tea is a calming lemon-scented herbal tea that can improve several aspects of mood, including anxiety and stress. It may also improve mental performance. Here is my recommendation: lemon balm tea.

Lemon balm tea is lighter than other herbal teas. It has a citrus flavor with a hint of mint but is less tart than an actual lemon.

Benefits of Anti-Anxiety Teas

Drinking tea good for anxiety can offer several benefits. But remember, always consult with your doctor before trying any new supplement or tea to reduce anxiety.

  • Relaxation

The act of brewing and sipping on tea is inherently calming. And tea can act as a mindfulness tool, prompting a pause in the day’s hectic pace.

  • Stress reduction

These anti-anxiety teas contain components, such as antioxidants, amino acids, and herbal compounds, that have been scientifically proven to help lower anxiety and promote calmness.

  • Improved Sleep

By easing the grip of anxiety, tea can also contribute to better sleep quality. Many of the herbs in tea for calming anxiety have a gentle sedative effect, making bedtime routines less fraught with restless anticipation. Improving sleep improves anxiety and vice versa.

Tea bags in a bowl with loose leaf tea and a teapot in the background

Tips for Brewing the Best Cup of Tea for Anxiety

Now that you know some of the best teas for anxiety and sleep, here are a few tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your brew:

  • Steep tea bags or loose leaf tea for 3 to 5 minutes for optimal flavor.
  • Try using filtered water to see if it makes a difference in the taste.
  • Don’t limit yourself to hot tea. Iced tea has the same effect.
  • Experiment with different types of tea and blends to find what works best for you.
  • Try the teas above blended with other ingredients, such as spices, herbs, and fruit, before you add sweetener.
  • Experiment with how strong you like your tea. Adjust the number of tea bags or the steeping time to your preference.

Is Tea Better than Coffee for Anxiety?

While coffee does have its own set of health benefits, it has more caffeine than most herbal teas. If you are sensitive to caffeine, especially if you suffer from anxiety, the stimulating effects of caffeinated coffee can cause feelings of stress and restlessness or make anxious symptoms worse.

A glass mug split with half coffee and half tea

How to Incorporate Teas for Anxiety into Your Daily Routine

Morning Rituals

Switch out that first (or second) cup of coffee for a green tea to provide a gentle start to the day. You may find that beginning your day with relaxing tea for anxiety sets a positive tone for the hours ahead.

Daytime Hydration

Keep an insulated cup of iced tulsi, peppermint, or lemon balm tea nearby throughout the day for when you need a quick break. It provides your body with hydration and calming compounds.

Evening Wind-Down

End your day with a soothing cup of herbal tea to ease any lingering stress or anxiety. An evening or bedtime routine of sipping on a warm cut of chamomile, passionflower, or valerian root tea can signal to the body that it’s time to unwind.

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Bottom Line

As you search for ways to manage your anxiety, herbal tea is an accessible and effective tool. You can use nature’s pharmacy to transform a mundane action into a therapeutic one. You never know when a simple cup of tea can be the perfect remedy for your anxious mind.

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