You may already know that drinking tea has many healthful benefits. But did you know that tea also helps reduce stress? Not only can a nice cup of tea help you calm down when you're anxious, scientists also found that the act of making tea itself has a relaxing effect. Let's take a look at how tea relieves stress!
When you feel anxious and stressed out, one of the best things you can do to calm your nerves is to brew a tea. Scientists found that when you enjoy a nice cup of tea, it can help reduce stress levels. What’s more, it’s not just the stress-relieving ingredients found in tea that help us unwind and soothe our nerves. The ritual of brewing a cup of tea in itself gives us a calming and reassuring feeling.
A study conducted by psychologist Dr. Malcolm Cross at the University College in London found that even a single cup of tea can greatly reduce anxiety levels when we are under stress. In this experiment, they placed groups of volunteers in a stressful situation. The researchers observed 25% higher anxiety levels in people who did not receive tea after the stress-inducing test. In contrast, the people in the group who were given tea showed a 4% reduction in stress instead.
What’s particularly interesting about this study is that it’s not just drinking tea that helps us relax. The scientists found that even the act of making tea has a calming and stress-relieving effect. Said differently, tea’s relaxing benefits are not just a matter of what’s in it!
"The ritual of making and drinking tea—particularly during times of stress—is at the very core of British culture. This study shows that the social psychological aspects of tea enhance the effects of its chemical make-up on our bodies and brains. It’s possible that this culturally rooted, symbiotic function between mind and body explains why Britons instinctively turn to tea in times of need”, says Professor Cross.
The findings of this research confirm what tea lovers have known for a long time already: If you’re anxious or just feeling blue, make yourself a nice calming herbal brew!
Before the above scientific studies came out, there was plenty of anecdotal evidence on the calming effects of tea. Almost half of tea drinkers polled in the United Kingdom said that tea’s quintessential Britishness and association with cultural icons such as the Queen contribute to its calming, positive impact. Only a small percentage of tea drinkers put the kettle on to take advantage of special ingredients. For most tea drinkers, tea means comfort and warmth—a reassuring psychological escape from everyday stress.
Since ancient times, people have enjoyed green tea for its many beneficial properties. It is rich in healthful antioxidants and provides a pleasantly mild stimulating effect for the mind and body. It is also very popular for losing weight. Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which has been shown to relax the brain in stressful situations. But theanine doesn’t just relax us when we're feeling stressed; it is also thought to help with improving memory function and reducing general anxiety and sleeping troubles.
Because of these properties, theanine is increasingly used as a supplement for anxiety. It is believed to achieve its impact by acting on GABA neurotransmitters in the brain, promoting relaxing alpha brain waves. In people who suffer from stress and anxiety, these alpha waves are notably low. Green tea can help these individuals restore a calm sense of mind. Furthermore, green tea can increase the levels of two other neurotransmitters, the so-called “happy hormones” serotonin and dopamine.
The effect of L-theanine and caffeine on mental performance were the subject of a 2012 study. Researchers observed a group of people who they exposed to a number of stress-inducing tests. They administered the group with combinations of L-theanine, placebo, and caffeine for comparison.
The scientists found that L-theanine was able to decrease anxiety levels and blood pressure. Although the study was only conducted with a small number of people, it showed the potential effectiveness of theanine for relieving stress and anxiety.
A previous study in 2011 confirmed the positive effects of green tea on cognitive function as well. Elderly people who regularly consumed green tea showed less cognitive decline as compared to a test group who received a placebo. The scientists attributed these findings to the neuroprotective properties of the L-theanine in green tea.
Just like green tea, science shows that drinking black tea has stress-relieving and relaxing benefits as well. A study performed by London researcher Andrew Steptoe at the University College London found that people who consumed black tea were able to destress more quickly. After being exposed to stress, tea drinkers had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Mr. Steptoe says that these findings suggest that black tea helps people recover from daily stressors quicker. The researcher points out that despite tea not being able to reduce the actual stress that people experience, it helps them bring back their stress hormone levels to normal. This beneficial effect of tea may have farther-reaching effects on well-being, since a slow recovery after stress is also associated with a greater risk for heart disease and other illnesses. Put differently, by helping us destress, black tea may keep us healthier too!
In the London study, the researcher put a number of healthy male tea drinkers into two groups. One group was given a tea mixture with all the ingredients of black tea, while the other group was given a fake tea mix without the active ingredients, but with an identical taste and caffeine.
For the study, they exposed both groups to stress-inducing tests where they measured stress hormone levels and blood pressure, and had the test subjects self-assess their experienced stress.
Both groups experienced the same stress symptoms, including increased heart rate and blood pressure. However, in the group that consumed real tea after the stressful tests, the researchers measured lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol after less than an hour. Compared to the other group, the tea drinkers also reported feeling subjectively more relaxed after the tests. What’s more, the researchers also found that the level of blood platelets, which are tiny blood cells that help the body form clots to stop bleeding, was lower in those people who drank tea. Lower levels of blood platelets means a decreased risk for heart attacks.
Science confirms: If you feel anxious and stressed, brew yourself a nice cup of tea! Our Uzuma Mangata tea contains green tea, lemongrass, and ginger, so you can enjoy the benefits of green tea in a delicious beverage. If you love black tea, our Uzuma Meraki tea is made from black tea, rose petals, and natural vanilla aroma. No matter your preference, you can enjoy the relaxing properties of Uzuma tea!