Need some more calm in your life? We all do! Whether you practice yoga, meditate, or keep candles and essential oils in your home, you probably know tons of ways to deal with your daily stress. All of those strategies are amazing for stress reduction, but you might be overlooking one of the most simple ways to feel calm–tea.
Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, believed in the power of a “comfortable cup of tea” to heal, calm, and soothe. As an alumna of schools run by the Sisters of Mercy, I was quite familiar with this idea during my grade and high school years.
When I started to pursue nutrition as a career, I became interested in the healing power of tea once again. I was familiar with the idea that a warm drink can be calming, but also began to think about the “science” of tea– that certain herbs can soothe the nervous system, and help with stress and anxiety (1).
After some personal experimentation, I have a few favorite “comfortable cups of teas” to sip on while I relax. It is one of the best ways to unwind after a long day, but believe me, I still need to do yoga/meditate/light candles too ;). The more you can do, the better!
Used as a relaxation remedy for centuries, passionflower is thought to reduce anxiety and promote sleep. No longer just a folk remedy, this herb’s powers are now backed by science! In a randomized controlled trial that compared the effectiveness of passionflower extract to the drug oxazepam in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, the researchers found that both treatments were effective (2). Initial research is promising, but more studies to confirm the effectiveness and safety of passionflower are needed.
Hawthorn is suspected to aid in reducing constriction of blood vessels and increasing blood flow (3). While this shrub is primarily used for heart issues, it may also reduce chest tightness and related tension associated with anxiety. In one of my favorite teas for restful sleep, passionflower and hawthorn are both included!
Sure, chamomile is one of the most common herbal teas around, but it’s also one of the best for stress! The effects of chamomile as an anti-inflammatory, sleep aid, and calming agent are well-researched, and the list of benefits of this herb goes on and on (4). Chamomile tea can be inexpensive, and added to other herbal teas for more flavor! My personal favorite is chamomile mixed with peppermint. Even the scent is soothing.
While teas generally have less potent effects than herbal extracts, be sure to talk with a healthcare provider before trying any new form of herbs. When used safely, passionflower, hawthorn, and chamomile might just be what you need to add to your daily routine!