Therapist

Best tea for anxiety and stress

I can’t drink coffee. As someone who has had anxiety the majority of my life, I’ve never been able to tolerate caffeinated beverages well — they give me jitters. According to Harvard Medical School, the caffeine from coffee can mimic anxiety symptoms, making any baseline anxiousness even worse.

Luckily, tea became my coffee substitute. Herbal and decaffeinated teas are perfect for my body to handle and even ease some of my symptoms. Now, I drink a cup of tea in the morning and at night to manage my anxiety and stress. You can too.

This curated list took into account the best brands and selections of teas with ingredients that have been scientifically tested to ease stress and anxiety. I considered customer reviews, price, ingredients and my own experience. Here are the best teas for anxiety and stress. 

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Ingredients: Peppermint, spearmint and tarragon 

Tazo is one of the top tea brands on the market and one of my personal favorites. Not only does it produce quality caffeinated teas, but it also offers plenty of non-caffeinated and herbal tea selections. 

Tazo’s Refresh Mint tea is an infusion of peppermint, spearmint and a little tarragon. Mint is a natural anxiety and stress aid. A pilot study on peppermint, in particular, suggests mint tea also enhances memory and improves sleep quality. 

This tea comes in a pack of six, and each box contains 20 tea bags. 

  • For the best brewing: boil water (212 degrees Fahrenheit), pour a cup of water over the tea bag and let steep for five minutes. 

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Ingredients: Organic passionflower 

Buddha Teas uses clean ingredients, unbleached tea bags, 100% recycled and recyclable cartons, no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or GMOs. Its organic passionflower tea is also non-caffeinated. 

Passionflower is a powerful yet natural sleep aid. Recent studies suggest that it has the potential to treat sleep disorders that are often associated with anxiety, such as insomnia. However, consult a doctor if you are pregnant or nursing, as passionflower may be unsuitable for you. 

Each Buddha Teas box comes with 18 tea bags. 

  • For the best brewing: boil water, pour over the tea bag and let steep for three to five minutes. 

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Ingredients: Ginger root, natural lemon and ginger flavors, blackberry leaves, linden, lemon peel and lemon grass 

Twinings, a tea company based in London, has been providing tea products for over an impressive 300 years. Its quality teas are often moderately priced. Twinings Lemon and Ginger tea is described as zesty, warming and lightly spicy (due to the ginger).

Ginger root has many health benefits to the body. Ginger reduces anxiety — in one study, ginger extract seemed to treat anxiety as effectively as Diazepam. It also serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and may even lower blood sugar in those with diabetes. 

One large box comes with 100 tea bags. 

  • For the best brewing: boil water, pour over the tea bag and let steep for four minutes. 

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Ingredients: Organic passionflower extract, organic valerian root extract, organic licorice root, organic chamomile flower, organic spearmint leaf, organic skullcap leaf, organic cardamom pod, organic cinnamon bark, organic rose hip, organic lavender flower, organic stevia leaf and organic orange flavor. 

The Yogi brand is going to be the most expensive on this list. Yogi teas are all wellness-based — meaning its teas are made with your health in mind, only ever using organic ingredients — and offer products for cold season, immune support, detoxing and sleep. Each tea is USDA-certified organic, non-GMO, vegan, kosher, gluten-free and free of artificial flavors and sweeteners. Its Bedtime Tea is also caffeine-free.

Best enjoyed an hour before bed, Yogi Bedtime Tea relies on the natural sleep aids of passionflower, valerian root, chamomile, mint and cinnamon — which cinnamon extract has shown to increase melatonin levels.

This pack of four comes with 16 tea bags each for a total of 64 tea bags. 

  • For the best brewing: boil water, pour over the tea bag and let steep for seven minutes. Use two tea bags for a stronger cup. 

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Ingredients: Lemon balm cut and sifted

This bulk of loose leaf lemon balm is natural, organic and caffeine-free. The leaves come from the Republic of Serbia and are packaged in the US. Note that you will need a strainer to brew this tea, as it doesn’t come in individual tea bags. 

Lemon balm is very similar to mint leaves, yet with a lemony smell and flavor. In addition to stress and anxiety, it is often used to ease depression and sleep conditions. Lemon balm aids in depression and mood by boosting GABA-T levels — the neurotransmitter that soothes the body.

Additionally, this is the best bang for your buck — one package is one pound of lemon balm leaves. One package can yield about 100 plus cups of tea, depending on how many teaspoons of herbs you add to one cup of water. 

  • For the best brewing: add 1 to 2 tablespoons of dried herb into a strainer. Bring water to boiling and add the strainer to the cup. Let steep for three to five minutes. 

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Ingredients: Chamomile flowers

Bigelow, like Twining and Tazo, is a big brand name and has been producing tea for over 75 years. Bigelow offers teas that are gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher and packaged in the US. The Cozy Chamomile tea is also naturally caffeine-free. 

Not only is this tea known for its calming properties, but chamomile also supports a healthy digestive system. It is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and research suggests that it may aid systems of diarrhea, nausea and stomach ulcers.

This tea comes in a pack of six, and each box contains 20 tea bags.

  • For the best brewing: boil a cup of water, pour over the tea bag and let steep for four minutes. 

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Teas for anxiety and stress FAQs

How do herbal teas help to reduce stress?

Herbal teas are warm, calming and often enjoyed while sitting down. Teas also have been shown to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) in a randomized double-blind study. Herbal teas also often include ingredients such as chamomile, lemon balm or mint that have been linked to relieving anxiety and stress. 

Is green tea good for stress and anxiety?

One cup of brewed green tea contains about 28 mg of caffeine, while a cup of coffee contains 96 mg. Depending on the amount of caffeine that your body can handle on top of lingering anxiety, this might be enough caffeine to exacerbate symptoms of anxiety. However, some studies have found green tea to ease stress and anxiety. Longer studies need to be done to fully support this claim.

What tea is good for anxiety and depression?

Mint, ginger, lemon balm, chamomile and other teas on this list have shown to help aid anxiety. However, lemon balm, specifically, has been used to ease depression symptoms and studies have shown promising results. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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Herbal teas have been used for centuries, both for their health benefits and for pleasure. Some people claim that certain herbal teas have properties that can help reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns.

It’s important to remember that what works for one person may not work for you. Finding the right herbal tea or herbal tea blend can take time.

Although herbal teas are technically different from supplementary capsules, oils, tinctures, and other medications you might use to manage anxiety, interactions are still possible. Always talk with a doctor or other healthcare professional before adding herbal tea to your routine.

Benefits of tea

Some herbal teas may help take the edge off occasional stress and anxiety, while others may be better used as a routine complementary therapy for an underlying condition.

Other potential benefits of drinking various herbal teas can include:

  • improving sleep and insomnia conditions
  • soothing upset stomach and digestive issues
  • improving menstrual cramps
  • improving nausea and morning sickness
  • improving blood pressure levels

Read on to learn which teas may help soothe and support your overall sense of well-being.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Peppermint tea (Mentha piperita)

This classic garden plant can be used for more than just seasoning. Some research suggests that the aroma may reduce feelings of frustration, anxiety, and fatigue.

Separate research finds that inhaling the scent of peppermint oil may help soothe anxiety in people who were hospitalized for heart attack and childbirth.

  • Best used for: Peppermint tea is helpful for combating stress-inducing feelings such as anxiety. Peppermint tea may also be helpful if you’re feeling fatigued.

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Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla/Chamaemelum nobile)

 Chamomile tea (Matricaria chamomilla/Chamaemelum nobile)

This daisy-like flower is synonymous with calm, making it among the most well-known stress-soothing teas.

One 2016 study found that long-term use of chamomile extract significantly reduced moderate to severe symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). However, it didn’t prevent future symptoms from occurring.

  • Best used for: Along with the relaxing and sedative properties of chamomile, it can also be used to help with upset stomach as well as easing pain and inflammation.

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Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)

Lavender tea (Lavandula officinalis)

Lavender is widely known for its mood-stabilizing and sedative effects. But did you know that it might be as effective as some medications at relieving anxiety?

Researchers in one 2010 study found that silexan, an oral lavender capsule preparation, was as effective as lorazepam in adults with GAD.

  • Best used for: Lavender can be beneficial for lowering anxiety and helping heal skin care conditions like acne and burns as well as aches and pains in the body.

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Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian root is commonly used as an herbal remedy for insomnia and other sleep disorders. It may help relieve anxiety-related sleeplessness, but research has been mixed.

One 2015 study found that valerian extract reduced anxiety in women undergoing a medical procedure.

  • Best used for: Valerian may help improve insomnia and other health issues such as headaches and heart palpitations.

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Gotu kola (Centella asiatica)

Gotu kola is used as a traditional medicine and tonic in many Asian cultures. It’s often used to ease feelings of fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

One 2012 study on mice found that gotu kola extract may be an effective treatment for acute and chronic anxiety. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects.

  • Best used for: Gotu kola may help relieve anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, and might even help ease symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

Passionflower has long been used to improve sleep quality. It may also help ease symptoms of anxiety.

Researchers in one 2017 study found that a passionflower supplement worked as well as a mainstream medication for reducing anxiety in people having dental work.

  • Best used for: Passionflower may help improve insomnia and anxiety, and has been linked to improving other health issues such as stomach problems.

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Green tea (Camellia sinensis)

Green tea is high in L-theanine, an amino acid that might reduce anxiety.

One 2017 study found that students who drank green tea experienced consistently lower levels of stress than students in the placebo group.

Green tea is also known to help improve focus, since the combined L-theanine and caffeine in the drink help with this, according to a 2010 study.

  • Best used for: Green tea may help lower anxiety and stress in people who regularly drink it.

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Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb said to help combat stress and fatigue.

One 2012 study found that taking the root extract significantly reduced stress levels over a 2-month span.

A 2014 review of studies also concluded that Ashwagandha extract helped alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety, but more research is needed to confirm these effects.

  • Best used for: Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that may help manage anxiety. It’s also known for having anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, and antioxidant properties.

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Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum)

Also called tulsi, holy basil is related to European and Thai basils.

Research on its effects on anxiety or stress are limited. One 2008 study found that taking a holy basil extract decreased symptoms of GAD.

  • Best used for: Holy basil may be used for both physical and mental benefits, including anxiety, stomach pain, cough, and arthritis pain. However, studies on how effective holy basil is are limited.

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Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel is a tall herb that sprouts yellow flowers. It’s native to the Mediterranean.

Fennel tea has traditionally been used to calm anxiety.

Although more research is needed, one 2018 study did find that fennel had anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in postmenopausal people.

  • Best used for: Fennel is best used for digestive problems, which are common anxiety symptoms. It may also help relieve menstrual irregularities and coughing, and can be used as a diuretic.

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Hops (Humulus lupulus)

You can taste bitter hops in certain beverages, but hops are nothing to be bitter about.

A 2017 study found that taking a hops supplement can reduce mild symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.

And when combined with valerian, hops supplements may also improve sleep quality.

  • Best used for: Hops is best used for treating some mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and stress, and it can also be used for sleep.

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Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

A popular herbal ingredient in colds and flu teas, licorice root has also become a widespread sweetener and candy.

People also take licorice to reduce stress and fatigue, but research is limited.

One 2011 study on mice suggests that licorice extract may reduce stress.

Researchers in a 2013 study on mice found that licorice extract can increase the anti-anxiety effects of valerian and anxiety medications.

  • Best used for: Though research is very limited, licorice may be helpful for reducing stress and anxiety.

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Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Although catnip is a stimulant for cats, it can be used to create a soothing drink for humans.

Catnip has been traditionally used to relieve anxiety. It contains compounds similar to those found in valerian, but it’s unclear whether they offer the same benefits.

  • Best used for: Catnip contains nepetalactone, which is similar to the valepotriates found in valerian. These compounds may help ease anxiety and help with sleeping troubles as well.

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A comparison of the best teas for anxiety

TeaCaffeine-free?Best forpeppermintyesstress-relief, fatiguechamomileyesrelaxation, stomach upsetlavenderyesanxiety-reliefvalerianyesinsomniagotu kolayesanxiety-relief, insomnialemon balmyesinsomnia, depression, anxietypassionfloweryesinsomnia, anxietygreen teanoanxiety, stressashwagandhayesanxiety, combatting inflammationholy basilyesanxiety, stomach issues, joint painfennelyesdigestion issues, period crampinghopsnodepression, anxiety, insomnia, stresslicoriceyesstress, anxietycatnipyesanxiety, sleep issuesSt. John’s wortyesstress, anxiety, depressionTraditional Medicinals Cup of Calmyessleep, anxietyThe Republic of Tea Get Relaxedyesanxiety, stressYogi Stress Reliefyesanxiety, sleepNumi Organic Bamboonoanxiety, relaxationLipton Stress Therapyyesstress-relief

When to talk with a doctor

If your anxiety is so bad that it’s interfering with day-to-day activities, it may be a good idea to consult a doctor.

Not sure whether that describes your situation? Here are some signs to watch for:

  • You’re constantly worrying about things.
  • You have physical symptoms like a racing heartbeat.
  • You can’t seem to relax.
  • You avoid things because they make you anxious.
  • You feel a weight on your shoulders or always feel on edge.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get tea for anxiety at a coffee shop?

Yes. Many coffee shops that also offer tea will have several of these teas on hand. For example, herbal selections like chamomile are very common and readily available.

How does tea help with anxiety and sleep?

While certain ingredients may help as described above, the simple ritual of taking a moment to sip and drink tea may contribute to stress relief.

Is tea better than coffee for anxiety?

Because coffee contains caffeine, it may not work as well as caffeine-free teas for promoting relaxation and calm. Even compared with caffeinated tea, coffee has much higher caffeine levels, which can cause jitters and make it hard to fall asleep.

Bottom line

Although some herbal teas may have a calming effect, more research is needed to fully assess their potential benefits. Herbal teas or supplements should never be used in place of a prescribed treatment.

Some herbal teas can cause uncomfortable side effects, especially when consumed in large amounts. Others can result in dangerous interactions with over-the-counter and prescription medication. Many herbal teas aren’t safe to drink during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

You should always check with a doctor or other healthcare professional before drinking herbal teas or taking herbal supplements.

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