Take a moment to consider this question: How much stress are you dealing with right now?
If your mind didn’t immediately recall a source of stress, you’re one of the lucky ones. For most of us, stress is an inevitable part of life, and it can feel overwhelming.
But what if that ‘overwhelming’ feeling wasn’t so inevitable after all?
While it’s easy to understand the emotional and mental effects of stress, most of us don’t realize that there’s also a physical component – specifically, a chemical one. This can lead to serious physical health issues in the short and long-term.
Rather than accepting the effects of stress, you can fight back against it, all with a simple cup of tea. Read on to see how tea can help, and which one is best for you.
The Effects of Stress on the Body
When you encounter a threat – whether real or perceived – your body follows a set reaction to prepare you to deal with it. The brain signals the release of certain stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, which provide your body with a flood of energy. Other systems also come into play: the heart beats faster, lungs work harder, muscles tense, all preparing you to leap into action.
In short-term situations, this can work well. Your mind becomes more focused, and your body more capable. You are now physically more prepared to handle an emergency.
Yet not every situation benefits from better physical prowess – such as making a dreaded phone call, getting bad news, or fighting with a friend or family member. Instead of being prepared, you now have a flood of energy ready to act, and no action to take to release it.
Long-term stressors can be even worse. Instead of a short burst of adrenaline, your body fights to maintain a high alert status. It isn’t long before your body no longer has the energy to maintain it, and your health starts to suffer. You can’t sleep, you have digestive trouble, headaches, you can’t focus and you’ve become increasingly irritable. These are just a few of the physical effects linked to chronic stress.
What Can Herbs Do?
Sadly, there is no cup of tea that will do your taxes, help you land that promotion, or magically un-jam the traffic on your daily commute. Tea won’t help your problems go away – but it might help you control how you react to them.
Each of the teas on this list is here for its ability to either respond to the physical effects of stress, or counter them before they start. They do this by working with your body’s natural systems, not against them. If a healthy, natural option is what you’re looking for, chances are it’s on this list.
The name may be hard to learn, but the effects of this Indian herbal tea are unforgettable. Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogen, an herb that helps to balance the body’s systems.
Studies have shown that ashwagandha reduces the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Because of this, ashwagandha can reduce the energy-draining effects that stress can have on your body, helping to reduce feelings of fatigue.
Chamomile Flower Tea
Chamomile may be almost synonymous with herbal tea, but don’t mistake its common status for being unimpressive. For many people, chamomile should be the first tea they reach for when dealing with stress.
On top of its pleasant fruity flavor and aroma, chamomile tea contains flavonoids found to aid in relaxing. Drinking a cup in the moment can help to reduce muscle tension and promote relaxed feelings, minimizing your feelings of stress.
Chamomile is also well known for promoting a restful night’s sleep, which is essential when you’re under stress. Steep a cup an hour before bed to help you unwind from the day, and odds are you’ll wake up prepared to face whatever the new day will throw your way.
Holy Basil Tea
Also known as tulsi, this one is the second Indian tea on our list. Holy Basil is considered sacred in India, and has been an essential fixture in the Ayurvedic world. Among its purported health benefits are its ability to promote healthy cardiovascular and respiratory function, boost immune strength and – you guessed it – combat stress.
Early studies have shown that holy basil helps to limit the release of stress hormones, much like ashwagandha. It may also promote focus and mental clarity; combined with its immune-boosting properties, ashwagandha addresses three of the biggest issues of stress with energy, focus and immune strength.
This herbal tea may not be one of the most appealing taste-wise, but its natural relaxing properties may be an effective stress reliever. Hops tea has shown natural sedative properties, helping to relax tense muscles and calm the mind. It probably won’t be powerful enough to put you to sleep, but it could be just the thing you need to settle down after a stressful event.
Kava Kava Root Tea
If you enjoy a potent peppery taste, you may want to look into kava kava. Polynesian cultures have used the root of this plant for centuries to create a traditional beverage known for its calming effect. This appears to be due to the kavalactones, compounds found in kava that have a relaxing effect in the brain. When you feel frazzled or unfocused, kava kava root tea could be just the thing you need.
There is some controversy around the potential harm kava kava root may cause to the liver. While many experts contest this, saying cases are rare and appear to be linked to other liver-toxic substances, it may be best to avoid kava kava if you have or are prone to liver damage.
The mildly sedative qualities of skullcap won’t put you to sleep, but a cup of skullcap tea can be a great way to wind down and release tension at the end of the day. Skullcap is known to calm both the muscles and the nerves, relaxing them and allowing you a break from the cycle of stress.
Calm Buddha Blend
When you can’t seem to decide on one tea, a blend may be your best option. Our Calm Buddha Blend combines the calming powers of kava kava root, chamomile and skullcap with other refreshing ingredients, including fragrant lavender, cool spearmint, passion flower, st. John’s wort and a dash of cinnamon. Balancing flavor with effectiveness, the Calm Buddha Blend is carefully crafted to give you the best relaxing experience. Give this one a try next time you have a hard day!
How do you deal with your stressful days? Do you prefer to unwind with a cup of tea, or do you have your own special method? Share it with us in the comments below!