Aah. Is there anything better than a nice cuppa to soothe anxious nerves? Yes — a delightful brew of the right herbs. Rates of anxiety disorders continue to increase. While talk therapy and medications do address the immediate problem and the underlying causes, sometimes, you need immediate relief. Fortunately, you can find help in a tea leaf or several — give these recommendations a try the next time you feel your heart racing and your palms sweating.
You probably knew the scent of lavender helps you relax at night if you spray it on your pillow. Indeed, you can use this herb in aromatherapy to produce a state of calm. However, did you know you could also drink this purple flower in tea? All you’ll need to fix yourself a cup are some dried lavender buds. Make sure you buy those intended for human consumption — the versions used in potpourri might contain solvents or other chemicals. Let the buds steep for 3-10 minutes and add a dollop of honey for sweetness and antioxidants.
In the wild, the valerian flower resembles a pink-tinted Queen Anne’s lace. It grows wild in Europe and Asia. As a tea, it could help soothe your jitters. The magic of this plant lies in the roots and rhizomes. The ancient Greeks and Romans used the herb, and both Hippocrates and Galen wrote about its benefits. Citizens used valerian to soothe anxiety about air raids during World War II. At least one study has found a statistically significant improvement in sleep quality after using the plant.
If you have arthritis or another chronic pain condition, your doctor might suggest drinking turmeric tea. This herb, popular in Indian cuisine, has enjoyed continued use among natural health practitioners as a potent anti-inflammatory. Recent research suggests inflammation may provide a unifying theory of disease — underlying everything from heart attacks to dementia. Inflammation in the brain may exacerbate anxiety, even if it isn’t the root cause of the disorder. Turmeric tea is safe, plus it offers a host of other health benefits. You can blend the herb with your morning coffee to ease stress during the day — it adds a pleasant chai flavor.
Green tea does contain a small amount of caffeine, but it has much less than a cup of coffee. If you suspect your anxiety stems from one cup of joe too many, try alternating each mug with a decoction of this leaf. Green tea contains a ton of antioxidants, including polyphenols such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). These substances fight free radicals in your body. When free radicals proliferate, they damage your cells and eventually cause their death. You will feel less stressed while fighting wrinkles and staving off cancer.
Do you tend to get an upset stomach when you’re feeling anxious? If so, reach for a cup of peppermint tea to soothe your nervous tummy. This herb comes in handy when you’ve overeaten at dinner — keep some available on Thanksgiving day. Peppermint has a naturally sweet flavor. If you have a head cold, breathing in the aroma can help loosen stuffy nasal passages. The scent also improves mental clarity, so put a few drops of this essential oil in your work desk diffuser, too.
You might associate roses with romance — but isn’t it easier to get in the mood when you’re relaxed? You can add a few rose petals to your usual blend to help calm anxious nerves. Do you feel a cold coming? You can also make tea from rose hips, which are high in vitamin C. This nutrient strengthens your immune system and helps you heal faster.
If you’re approaching your menopause years, you may feel increased anxiety due to hormonal fluctuations. Some studies suggest the herb is as effective as medications for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It also helps to decrease the hot flashes and insomnia associated with the change of life. Like many plants with sedative properties, passionflower can also reduce your blood pressure — useful if you have hypertension. Commercial blends often contain other soothing herbs like lavender and chamomile.
Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine consider ashwagandha to be an adaptogen. Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that help your body resist and recover from stressors like cigarette smoke and pollution. These substances may tweak your body’s response to certain toxins, helping it expel them more quickly. On its own, Ashwagandha tastes somewhat bitter and earthy. Ayurvedic practitioners suggest taking the herb with milk to increase the therapeutic effects. You might want to add a bit of stevia to sweeten the blend, too.
Who hasn’t eased a sleepless night by reaching for a spot of chamomile? In the wild, this plant resembles an innocent daisy in its purity. When used as a tea, it eases you into dreamland. How does it work? The flowers contain a benzodiazapeme-like substance in the heads. Unlike prescription drugs, chamomile carries no risk of addiction — feel free to drink up when you’re stressed or sleepless.
Rinse Away Anxiety With Tea
Everyone feels stress and tension on occasion. However, you don’t necessarily need to lie on a therapist’s couch or take medications to find relief – though you sure can if that’s your cup of tea. Brew yourself a cup of happiness!