I would start this article with a small anecdote, having suffered from chronic stress myself. Not long ago, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression and, consequently, put on a host of medications. I feel better today, at this moment, than I have in the past six or seven years of my life. Thankfully, my doctor did not put me on Xanax (benzodiazepine), instead using an atypical antipsychotic to treat my anxiety. It worked. On the flip side — today I can’t imagine normalcy without regular doses of Paroxetine and Aripiprazole. I don’t know how long I must be on them, either. I remember this one time during lockdown when I ran out of pills. The doctor I consulted was in the other part of the city; public transport temporarily disabled; leaving me no choice but wait till the situation eased. Two weeks — that’s exactly how long it took for my mind to retreat into the familiar darkness of years. Recurrent thoughts of self-harm and suicide, work piling up, often I found it difficult to pick myself up from the bed, to do even the smallest tasks. Mid-February I went to my doctor again. He restored medications; to the same dosage. In a few days, I started to feel better.
Those two weeks during lockdown are the worst in recent memory. To everyone reading this, if you have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder and put on Xanax to relieve you of the stress, I feel deeply for your health and I’ll be as honest with you in writing this article as I would be to myself. I was as little aware of herbal substitutes for “mind-body relaxation” as you are perhaps. I did some research and I’ll share the results with you in this article. But I don’t trust Passiflora to replace Xanax seriously anytime soon. It might be useful to try herbal remedies for anxiety alongside synthetic drugs, though here I must caution you — DO NOT start herbal tea without consulting your healthcare professional. Drug reactions are weird and your doctor knows best!
7 Best Teas for Mind-Body Relaxation: 2022
Following is a list of herbal potions (“teas”) that are known to relieve stress and anxiety. The list is by no means exhaustive. In fact, for a long list of herbal remedies, check Healthline’s article on the best teas for anxiety in 2022. I have been following the site for a while now and, I trust them to provide authentic health-related information for a non-specialist readership such as me.
1) Lavender Tea (Lavandula officinalis): Best Tea to Relax Your Mind and Body
If anyone would ask me what’s the best way to heal yourself from complete burnout, I would suggest a delectable sip of lavender tea might do it. Known for its healing properties, lavender is believed to not only de-stress your muscles but also, soothe your nerves, and fight your fatigue. Some patients with anxiety and depression reported that a cup of lavender tea at the end of their day is the best way of de-stressing themselves. Rich in antioxidants, this refreshing tea is made by brewing a particular type of dried culinary lavender buds (known as Lavandula angustifolia) in a cup of hot water for three to five minutes. Having said that, here goes the list of benefits lavender tea will bring you.
Lavender Tea Benefits:
- Being the jewel of aromatherapy, the sweet-smelling Lavender fragrance is one of the most enticing and healing aromas. Studies suggest that taking your time to breathe in the scent while enjoying the delicious sip could improve your mood and alleviate depression in a matter of time.
- Lavender tea stimulates your brain to send out impulses through the brain cells causing you to feel relaxed and at ease.
- We all have experienced how stress eats away at our mental and physical health and makes us feel irritated at the simplest of things. The good news is, that a warm cup of Lavender tea might not solve your problems but might cheer up your mood.
- It helps improve your sleep quality which, trust me, is the biggest problem for anxious insomniac people like me.
A study in Taiwan found that new mothers who drank a cup (250 mL) of lavender tea each day for two weeks while inhaling the tea’s aroma helped improve their moods and replace fatigue with relaxation. However, after four weeks, the effects of the tea grew faint.
2) Chamomile Tea (Matricaria chamomilla): Best Herbal Tea for Mind-Body Relaxation
The benefits of chamomile are mind-boggling! The herb plays a big role in battling heart diseases and cancer since it’s an antioxidant powerhouse. Chamomile has been used for decades for its medicinal and aromatic properties. But before going bonkers with your tea shopping spree, always check with your doctor. If he gives you the green ticket, go for it. This herb tea is made by brewing dried and crushed chamomile flowers in hot water.
Chamomile Tea Benefits:
- Catching some Zs might be very hard when you are anxious or on medications. Chamomile tea has unique apigenin antioxidants which trigger your brain receptors to promote sleepiness and improve your sleep time.
- Test tube studies have shown the unique properties of chamomile tea can prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells, and tumors.
- Chamomile tea, owing to its anti-inflammatory properties, helps you lower your blood sugar levels.
- Chamomile tea also keeps your pancreas health in check.
- Chamomile tea is also known to strengthen your heart health.
- This herb tea might also help with digestion and metabolism.
Uses of chamomile tea date back to ancient Egyptians and Romans. It has permeated through centuries and boundaries, carrying its medicinal and healing properties.
3) Peppermint Tea (Mentha x Piperita): Best Refreshing Tea for Mind-Body Relaxation
Peppermint tea brings you a jarring refreshment with its very first sip. Native to Asia and Europe, this aromatic herb is derived from a cross between mentha and piperita. Peppermint has a host of uses in our modern culture most of which are scientifically proven. Starting from candies, breath mints, foods, and beverages to peppermint as a natural remedy to cure migraines and digestive ailments, this herb is kind of omnipresent! Let’s dive into peppermint tea uses.
Peppermint Tea Benefits:
- With Peppermint oil’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties, Peppermint tea steam adequately fights nasal congestion due to common colds and infections. It might also soothe your sore throat.
- Peppermint tea acts as a comforting, caffeine-free sleep aid.
- Peppermint tea might also relieve you of bloating, gas, and indigestion and relax muscle cramps caused by digestion problems.
- A natural remedy for migraines and tension headaches.
Peppermint tea usage roots can be found in ancient Egyptian practices. Peppermint has several elements in it that work wonders on our health. It is naturally sweet and acts as a perfect alternative to our caffeine-high beverages which are largely inappropriate to take more than once or twice a day.
4) Passionflower Tea (Passiflora incarnata): Best Tea for Mind-Body Relaxation
There have been studies about the pros and cons of using passion flowers as tea. Undoubtedly, to some consumers, it acted as a superb organic sleep aid. This prescription-free solution to insomnia went viral. The scientific reason behind this is that passionflower increases gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Simply put, GABA is an amino acid that resides in your body and acts as an inhibitor to excitable activities occurring in your central nervous system. GABA promotes relaxation and soothes your nerves. Keeping that in mind, let’s check out the benefits you can derive from passionflower tea.
Passionflower Tea Benefits:
- Passionflower helps treat anxiety. If you are someone who wants to stay off Xanax prescriptions, try substituting medication with passionflower tea. But, as I mentioned before, consult with a doctor. It could have an adverse effect if not monitored carefully.
- The GABA levels in your brain are increased when you ingest this herb tea. It induces complete relaxation and improves sleep.
- Some studies have also shown that passionflower tea also helps soothe menstrual hot flashes.
Passionflower tea can be made by steeping a tablespoon of dried Passion Flower in hot water and sweetened with honey if required. Passionflower tea might have adverse effects on pregnant women so it’s best to consult with a physician before consuming it.
5) Valerian Tea (Valeriana officinalis): Best Tea for Mind-Body Relaxation
Valerian, as a herb has strong sedative properties that help with insomnia and anxiety. It has chemical compounds such as valerenic acid which could modulate or increase your brain’s GABA receptors which calm down excitability in your CNS. Compounds in Valerian might also react with serotonin chemicals and improve your mood. But, different human bodies have different reactions to valerian. While some relax and slip into a deep snooze, others might be out of whack after a sip or two. Thus, this is completely uncharted waters and it is best if you consult with a professional herbalist or doctor first. With that in mind, let’s find out the potential benefits that valerian, “nature’s valium”, has on the human body.
Valerian Tea Benefits:
- Studies show that the Valerian root is extremely helpful in easing anxious feelings rooting to demanding situations. Infused with tea, it will give you freshness and soothe your nerves.
- Might be effective in lessening symptoms of insomnia.
- A top-quality study shows that taking a regular dosage of valerian extract produced anti-anxiety effects.
- Research also shows that valerian helped people with OCD symptoms lessen their obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Although much research hasn’t been conducted on valerian tea itself, valerian extracts and roots are thought to be more potent remedies. But, here I would like to pitch in a small word of caution. Valerian is possibly safe when taken in the short term but if taken without proper guidance from a professional and in more than recommended dosages, it could have a disastrous effect and even lead to valerian addiction.
6) Holy basil Tea (Ocimum sanctum): Best Herbal Tea for Mind-Body Relaxation
Yes, you heard it right. This run-of-the-mill herb that 9 out of 10 people would find in their mother’s little garden or as a food flavor has been long used to treat a host of mental and physical health issues. This herb’s lineage can be traced to parts of Asia, particularly North-central India. Commonly known as Tulsi, holy basil tea is a mild beverage with almost no side effects and a must-have when you are suffering from a common cold. Often referred to as the “Queen of Herbs”, Tulsi is loaded with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, and Manganese. Let’s find out what are the possible effects this herbal tea has on human health.
Holy Basil Tea Benefits:
- Holy Basil, also known as the adaptogen herb, has the best components that batter mental stress rooting from stressful circumstances.
- Ingesting holy basil tea might also directly influence your cortisol hormones that aid in blood circulation. This might indirectly also balance your adrenal glands and check excess cortisol secretion.
- Use the freshly picked Tulsi flowers to make warm tea. This might aid your process of recovering from bronchitis, common cold, and other flu diseases.
- Make a warm solution combining holy basil leaves and seeds with black pepper to ward off Malaria symptoms.
- Holy Basil tea is also known to improve indigestion and exhaustion.
Holy Basil also has a high level of antioxidants. It is powered with so much positive stuff for our bodies that we often rely on it as our go-to antidepressant and antibacterial tincture ready to fix our problems in a sip.
7) Fennel Tea (Foeniculum vulgare): Best Tea for Mind-Body Relaxation
Native to the Mediterranean region, is a licorice-flavored herb called Fennel that is a top ingredient of the notorious absinthe. BUT! Here’s the catch. Fennel seeds when dried and made into warm tea can work wonders as a medicinal plant! It is pretty easily accessible in online and offline supermarkets. Let’s chalk out the effects of fennel tea on our bodies.
Fennel Tea Benefits:
- A 2018 study found that in post-menopausal people, fennel had antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects. Fighting anxiety and depression with age becomes a challenge that presents itself in front of every individual as they reach the fragile fifties.
- Fennel tea acts as an excellent replacement for normal caffeine high tea.
- One teaspoon of it in a hot cup of water can instantly chill your body temperature in the summers and aid any kind of digestive disturbances.
- Fennel tea can keep your liver health and blood pressure in check too.
Fennel is a herb that has a lot of significance associated with it, much of whose validity is still being studied and tested. A 2015 research on fennel tea in women showed that women who drank fennel tea before eating felt less appetite and ate less. Thus, fennel tea is also believed to be effective in aiding weight loss.
To be able to stop and relax, to have that one moment when you’re not hurrying, the modern world denies us. Part of our mental health crisis, individually as well as socially, emerges from the uncaring economic system we have built for ourselves — one so cruel that it can only make us more anxious every day. It shrivels us out and sucks into the very vitality that is the source of life — a giant post-apocalyptic vampire. We, its makers and its subjects, we suffer — suffering, we are told, is the only point of life — so we keep suffering, shriveled dry humans daily, fit for only a dystopia, one too near. Sadly, the only solution is a prescription for Xanax.
I cannot find you a better, more humane world to live in, merely teas — teas to soothe and sedate you, make you forget so you can sleep. Capitalism is very self-sustaining, see. Sell, sell, keep selling, sell all you have — yourself too! In the process, forget you ever were anything but your stressful job. But that’s no problem. The epidemic of stress is a tremendous economic opportunity. Pharma companies would rather have us all very depressed and anxious, they would have people die of anxiety attacks if they could. Because, why not? More people would learn to depend on pills, and keep needing them, every day, every moment. These teas, unless you’re growing them in your backyard — these teas are only the latest entry into this booming market of stress. If they work for you, great! But never stop asking yourself the “why” — why must you be so anxious?