We all have to deal with stress at some point in life. Chronic stress might lead to many health issues including headaches, digestive problems, insomnia and weak immune system leading to more serious problems. If you experienced chronic stress and anxiety, you know that there is no one-fits-all solution. High levels of constant stress sometimes make it necessary to seek alternative solutions to improve the quality of life. Herbs and teas might prove to be a powerful companion to deal with those issues.
For centuries herbs, flowers and fruits have been used to treat stress and anxiety. Of course, the best results will always include changing the lifestyle, including breathing techniques and changing the diet. We made a list of 30 top teas to help with stress and reduce anxiety.
Disclaimer: Most of the herbs on our list are likely safe in low doses, especially those that you can grow in your own garden. However, before deciding to treat yourself with herbal teas, we strongly suggest consulting your doctor. Some herbs may interact with certain medicine and cause serious side-effects.
The most common herbal teas to help with stress and anxiety
Valerian root, St. John’s wort, Kava kava, and ginkgo are the most common herbal remedies for treating anxiety, reducing stress and supporting the nervous system. With the exception of Kava kava, these plants are easily available and affordable home remedies. Because of their potency, they may offer a solution for even chronic conditions.
Valerian root tea (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian root tea is often a go-to tea for treating insomnia, stress, and anxiety. It has a distinctive scent and lightly sweet flavor. You can use it alone or in combination with other herbs such as St. John’s wort and chamomile. A study showed that valerian root “significantly decreased systolic blood pressure responsively, heart rate reaction, and self-reported stress.” Valerian root is safe for most individuals, although there have been cases of overdose. However, an “overdose, at approximately 20 times the recommended therapeutic dose, appears to be benign.”
St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)
St. John’s wort is one of the most popular herbs for dealing with stress and depression, also used for treating fatigue and tiredness. There is a strong evidence it may help with fighting low and moderate, and even severe depression disorders. St. John’s wort is likely safe for a healthy individual and in low doses, but be cautious. It may interact with other medications, especially antidepressants and birth-control pills, causing serious life-threatening conditions.
Kava Kava (Piper methysticum)
Kava Kava, or simply Kava, is a plant from Pacific Islands. This medicinal herb is often used for benefits rather than flavor, which is often described as unpleasant. A clinical trial in Melbourne showed it may actually serve as a first-line treatment for a Generalized anxiety disorder. However, we do not suggest self-treatment with kava kava; it may cause liver damage and other serious side-effects. It’s usually an ingredient in stress-relieving teas.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
A tree old 270 million years is may be effective in treating anxiety, especially Generalized anxiety disorder and memory loss problems. For making tea you can use both fresh and dry leaves. Be cautious if you are using other medication. Although beneficial, ginkgo may interact with some medications such as antidepressants and anticoagulants.
Teas with Ginkgo: Clari’tea
Adaptogens are plants with special ability to reduce stress naturally. Traditional medicine has been using them for centuries, often as a panacea for all stress-related problems. With stress becoming huge problem, adaptogens are finally catching more attention from scientists. Studies show that these plants have “neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, anti-depressive, anxiolytic, nootropic and CNS stimulating activity.” They are usually available as powders or dry leaves.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is a shrub originating in India, often used in traditional medicine for treating anxiety and reducing stress. Other benefit include treating brain-related problems such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease. In 2012, Indian scientist published research showing Ashwagandha is safe and efficient in improving resistance towards stress in people.
Teas with ashwagandha: Vedic Healer
Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
As a potential adaptogen, Siberian ginseng or eleutherot may help with reducing stress. A clinical trial showed that Siberian ginseng “safely improves some aspects of mental health and social functioning” for elderly people. This plant is different from American and Korean ginseng and doesn’t belong to the Panax family.
Teas with Siberian ginseng: Vanilla Mint Sencha
Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum)
Jiaogulan or “ginseng for poor people” is a plant which benefits people discovered only a few decades ago. As a powerful adaptogen, it may help to beat stress and improve overall health. However, jiaogulan is still a very new plant in the world of non-traditional medicine, so necessary research might take decades until jiaogulan’s benefits and side-effects become fully known. Current studies suggest it “shows anti-stress and anxiolytic functions.” You can use both fresh and dry leaves for making tea.
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Licorice, a plant with the sweetest root in the world Is not only a great ingredient for sweetening tea blends. It’s also a powerful adaptogen and used to treat gastrointestinal problems.
Holy Basil Tea (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
Tulsi or Holy Basil is one of the most popular and important adaptogenic herbs. It’s available in powdered and dry leaf form. Studies showed that the “leaf extract of tulsi possesses anticonvulsant and anxiolytic activities.” Another stud showed that tulsi normalized “psychological stress through positive effects on memory and cognitive function and through its anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties.” Tulsi has a delicate and refreshing basil-like flavor and can be used in blends or alone. Other important use is for treating cough and cold.
Golden Root (Rhodiola Rosea)
One of the most studied herbs for treating anxiety, Rhodiola Rosea, might be effective in treating chronic and severe anxiety. It has been used in Chinese and Russian medicine for reducing stress and enhancing endurance. This herb showed strong anti-aging properties as well. It can be used as tea and even eaten raw.
Natural Antidepressants and Anxiolytics in Chinese Medicine
Medicinal herbs are an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 2500 years. Together with acupuncture and massage Chinese medicine has a personalized approach towards each and every person. Therefore, the number of herbs is also wide and their use should be administered by a specialist.
Five-flavor fruit (Schisandra chinensis)
Five-flavor fruit is commonly used for making tea in China, Korea, and Japan. Short-term, it may help reduce anxiety and stress.
Teas with Five-flavor fruit: Northern Garden
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
This shrub grows on almost all continents is traditionally used to safely treat anxiety and heart problems. However, there is still little evidence to support its use as an anxiolytic in modern medicine.
Teas with Hawthorne: Northern Garden
Chinese Jujube (Ziziphus jujube)
Often called Chinese date, this fruit can be eaten raw or dried to make tea. It is traditionally used in Chinese and Korean medicine to reduce stress and anxiety. Studies showed it has neuroprotective properties. Although this tea is sweet, a compound in jujube, ziziphin, will reduce the ability to perceive sweet flavors in other food and drinks.
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum indicum)
Chrysanthemum tea is one of the most traditional Chinese teas. It has a light sweet floral taste, and it’s not only a medicinal tea but a tea you can truly enjoy. Chrysanthemum flowers have an anxiolytic-like effect and have potential use as a safe remedy for treating anxiety.
Treating Depression, Stress, and Anxiety with Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a 5000 years old traditional Indian “medicine” that uses herbs and spices as a part of natural healing. While western medicine tries to remove the symptoms of anxiety and stress, Ayurveda, similar to Chinese Traditional Medicine, seeks a way to remove the problem at the source.
One of the most versatile, refreshing and delicious herbs can be used for making tea, cooking and making essential oils. A study published in the Journal of alternative and complementary medicine suggested that a “very brief exposure to this aroma has some perceived anxiolytic effect.” Lemongrass tea might have the same effect as well.
Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)
Attractive red petals of dry safflowers are often an ingredient in tea blends, for flavor, appearance, and benefits. Research showed that safflower “produced highly significant anxiolytic and anti-depressant effects” comparable to modern drugs.
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
Gotu Kola is used in both Chinese and Indian medicine to help reduce stress and anxiety. Studies showed it may be used as a herbal remedy for neuroprotective effect. Gotu Kola tea has a mild refreshing and lightly bitter flavor that can be enjoyed as a refreshing drink as well.
Teas with Gotu Kola: Clari’tea
Garden herbs you can grow yourself
There are numerous herbs you can grow on your own in a garden or a pot and safely use for making tea with both raw and dry form. These herbs may not have a strong anxiolytic and anti-stress effect but are very popular in western traditional medicine for their soothing and calming properties.
Peppermint Tea (Mentha × piperita)
Refreshing, delicious, thirst-quenching, peppermint tea might be the best herbal tea to unwind. It may improve mood and relieve stress in conditions that are not chronic and severe.
Chamomile Tea (Chamaemelum nobile)
One of the most commonly used flowers around the world is well-known for its calming and soothing properties. Chamomile is safe for adults and children. A cup of chamomile tea may increase levels of serotonin, a “happy hormone”, and help reduce stress. It may also have a “modest anxiolytic activity.”
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Woody fragrant rosemary is more common in the kitchen than in a tea cupboard, but it makes a great, refreshing and soothing cup of tea. However, it’s still most commonly used as oil. Rosemary oil in aromatherapy may enhance the mood and help relax.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm or Melissa is another herb you can grow in your garden and dry for making tea. A study published in 2016 by Iranian scientists suggested that this herb with a light lemony sweet flavor “can significantly reduce anxiety and depression and improve sleep quality.”
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Clinical trials showed that one of the most popular Mediterranean herbs, can reduce anxiety in lower doses, and increase calmness in higher dose.
Teas with sage: Clari’tea
Reducing stress and anxiety with flowers
Besides many herbs, there are dozens of flowers that can also help reduce anxiety and stress. Some of them are more common as essential oils, but you can infuse all of them in hot water and get a calming cup of tea.
The elegant rose petals not only give a divine scent to almost any tea blend, but they might also have an “anxiety-relieving or relaxation effect” too. Rose is popular for scenting Chinese teas and often blended with black and green tea. In Ayurveda, people use it for mood enhancement and relieving stress.
Jasmine (Jasminum sambac)
Mesmerizing scent of jasmine flowers might have anti-stress and sedative properties. That’s why jasmine is mostly used as an essential oil, but it’s also a very important flower for scenting tea. Learn more about Jasmine tea benefits.
Lavender Tea (Lavandula)
Health benefits of lavender include treating anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Both oils, dry flowers and tea are a popular choice for relaxation and sleeping problems. Moreover, lavender might play a significant role in safely treating anxiety.
Common Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
One of the best common natural remedies for anxiety and stress relief might be the common marigold. Traditionally, marigold is used for its skin soothing effect mostly in cosmetics. A recent Indian study showed that polyphenols in marigold “exhibited significant anti-anxiety activity.” Marigold tea is made from dried buds and petals. Petals are often blended with other teas and herbs, both for flavor and benefits.
Linden flower tea (Tilia)
Linden flower tea is very popular and common flower tea in Europe. It has a sticky texture and sweet flavor and it’s one of the best natural teas for safe home use. Because it has no side-effects, this tea is used for sedation of infants, treating headaches and stress relief.
Teas with linden flower: Kimberly Herbal
In Asia, this flowering plant is often used as a herbal remedy or a refreshing tea. Buds and petals are used for making refreshing tea, while the root has potential sedative and stress relief properties. Studies showed that it has an anti-depressants-like effect.
Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)
Passionflower has been a home remedy for treating anxiety and as a sedative for centuries. Passionflower is “an effective drug for the management of generalized anxiety disorder.”  It might even have advantages compared to standard medicine because of low side-effects.