What teas are good for anxiety and stress?
Tea is an ideal solution for those that are seeking to calm down, relax or reduce their overall stress levels. Black tea, green tea, oolong or white tea all contain L-theanine. This is an amino acid that is found exclusively in tea and some mushrooms.
Whereas coffee is highly stimulating because of the high caffeine content, tea has a lower amount of caffeine that when combined with L-theanine, creates a sort of "calm awareness" that coffee does not provide. The ritual of preparing tea is also in itself a calming activity.
What does L-theanine do?
L-theanine increases GABA, serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals are neurotransmitters and do all sorts of things like regulating emotions, mood, concentration, alertness, energy, appetite and sleep. So regardless if your trying to concentrate or just relax, increasing these chemicals will help with anxiety. At the same time, L-theanine reduces chemicals in the brain that are linked to stress and anxiety.
L-theanine also appears to trigger the release of alpha-waves, which is that state of mind when you are meditating, being creative or just in deep thought. It's no wonder buddhist monks have been using tea for centuries to meditate without getting sedated.
L-theanine also reduces heart rate and blood pressure, another symptom of stress.
Which teas contain the most l-theanine?
Generally green tea contains more L-theanine than other types, but all types other than Pu-erh have some amounts of L-theanine.
Herbal Teas for Stress
Sometimes you want to avoid caffeine all together, or switch to a caffeine free beverage to calm and relax you towards the end of the day. Most herbal blends do not contain caffeine, but there are some ingredients that are known to have additional calming abilities.
Components in chamomile have been linked with tranquility enhancing effects
Member of the mint family helps support the nervous system
Tulsi aka 'Holy Basil'
A popular herb in Ayurvedic tradition and has been consumed for centuries for a variety of medicinal benefits, as well as relaxing the body.
Another Ayurvedic herb that when taken over long periods of time is a good way reduce chronic stress.