According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders have become the most prevalent form of mental illness in the US, afflicting some 40 million Americans aged 18 and older (roughly 20 percent of the country’s adult population).
As a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Jerusalem, I have worked with countless patients suffering from stress and anxiety and over time I have found the teas mentioned below to be an easy and effective treatment for mild stress, anxiety and even mild depression.
Although the tea bags we buy are not usually not strong enough to have an affect on our bodies the teas that we commonly use are infact medicinal. When we use loose leaf tea in higher amounts we can get these medicinal benefits out of our teas – turning them into real powerful herbal medicine. Here are some of my favorite teas that work extremely well for anxiety. Most of the medicinal properties of these herbs are in the aromatic oils that rise up with the steam upon being boiled. As such, to get the most out of these teas it is always best to steep the teas covered. As well, it should be noted that it is always better to get these herbs in organic, Non-GMO forms from reputable herbal companies, so that you know that the herbs you are getting are getting is infact these herbs and not additives. Also check expiry dates as dried herbs have a lifespan and lose their medicinal effect as they age.
Avena Sativa Tea (Oat Tops/Oatstraw): Oats is the one of the best remedies for nourishing the nervous system, especially when a person is under stress. It is particularity good for people whose anxiety comes with exhaustion, insomnia and depressed mood. Take 1-3 teaspoons of dried oat straw tops and steep (covered) for 10-15 minutes. This tea should be drunk (1 cup) 3 times a day.
Chamomile Tea: If fatigue is not your problem but you just really feel wired and tense and are having difficulty sleeping, then Chamomile is your tea of choice. Chamomile flowers are one of the most ancient medicinal remedies known to mankind. Even today, Chamomile is still the most widely used relaxing herb in the Western World. The essential oil found in the flowers is the active ingredient inducing relaxation. It has many other medical uses, one of which is to sooth the stomach. There are some safety considerations as chamomile may cause allergic reaction in people sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family. Take 2-3 teaspoons of dried Chamomile flower tops in 1 cup of boiling water steeped (covered) for 10min. It can be drunk 3 to 4 times/day.
Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm): This wondrous tea is indicated for people who have stress with depression and irritiability. It tends to uplift ones spirits. It also has a calming effect on the digestive tract. It also works well for people who have nervous stress headaches. This herb should not be used in hypothyriod conditions and may interfere with the action of some thyroid hormones. Use 2-2.5 teaspoons of the dried herb to one cup of water, drunk (1 cup) up to 3 times/day.
Passiflora Incarnata Leaf (Passionflower): This herb is specifically indicated when nervousness causes insomnia. It tends to make people sleepy so avoid use of it during the day. However this is a great remedy before bed. To use 1 tsp dried herb in 1 cup water. A couple things to be aware of however, one should not give this to children under the age of 4 as it increases excitability in them, as well, it may increase the effects of prescription sedative drugs and should not be taken with people on MAOI drugs.
Tilia Europea (Lime Flower): The dried lime flower is amazing in nervous tension especially in children. It appears to reliably lower blood pressure as well. It is also especially effective in treating the common flu. One study showed that children who drank the tea with just bedrest had quicker recovery times than conventional treatments. To make this tea try one 1 tsp/cup of boiling water. Can be drunk (1 cup) 3-5 times daily.
Lavendula Spp. (Lavender): This beautiful herb has many medicinal uses. It is an effective herb for headaches, especially when they are related to stress. Lavender can be effective in the clearing of depression, especially if used in conjunction with other herbal remedies. As a gentle strengthening tonic of the nervous system it may be used in states of nervous debility and exhaustion. It is very good at calming the spirit is a key theme. From that comes the relief of anxiety and irritability and aid in promoting natural sleep. In reality, this herb is best used an an essential oil not taken orally but used in a diffuser but the flower tea can be mixed in with the other teas above for both taste and the anti anxiety benefits. Medications that might cause problems when taken with lavender tea include barbiturates, chloral hydrate and CNS depressants, often referred to as sedatives.
Safety note: With any of these teas if you have any type of allergic reaction, such as a rash or throat closure, discontinue use immediately and consult your doctor immediately. Please note that with any natural treatment anyone taking medications or who have a medical condition should consult with their doctor or health professional before using any of these abovementioned products or tips.
I hope that my favorite anti-anxieti'teas' bring those of you who suffer from stress and anxiety much needed relief and wellness. Keep Calm and Drink Tea!
Dr. Anders Nerman, ND
Dr. Anders Nerman, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor with an Integrative Family Medical practice in Wolfson Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel. For more visit www.drnerman.com or call 972-54-427-8667.
Information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or adopting any treatment for a health problem.