Stressbuster Challenge: Herbal Tea!

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One of the biggest tips in managing stress is to decrease caffeine intake. Caffeine has stress-inducing effects on our bodies that can last up to a couple of hours. Chronic intake of caffeine has more negative health effects, such as mood changes, increased stress hormone levels, and sleep deprivation, all of which can lead to increased stress levels.

One of the ways to decrease caffeine intake is to substitute one of your caffeinated drinks a day with an herbal tea. There’s no real right herbal drink to have when you’re stressed. The general rule is to drink whatever seems to have a calming or soothing effect on you – just check the label to make sure it is caffeine-free.

NOTE: Especially for those on medication, please consult with your physician to make sure they do not interact with the medication you currently take and that these herbal teas are safe for you to consume. 

The following is a list of common herbal teas that you could try to soothe your nerves throughout the day.

  • Lavender – Research shows that lavender may promote relaxation by slowing down nervous system activity, which is responsible for pumping out those stress hormones. Lavender is also used as a digestive relief and can soothe an upset or nervous stomach.
  • Ginseng – This root has ancient medicinal uses and is popular in boosting the immune system, which helps to balance out the negative effects that stress has on it.
  • St. John’s Wort – This tea, made from the leaves and flowers of the St. John’s Wort plant, is commonly used for depression and its corresponding conditions, like anxiety, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping.
  • Chamomile – Chamomile is one of the most common drinks to soothe the nerves and help with sleep. Try this one before bed if you have trouble sleeping.
  • Lemon Balm – This plant comes from the mint family and tastes a bit lemony when brewed. It is considered a sedative, so you might want to save this tea for an after-work stressbuster.

And some of my personal favorites:

  • Peppermint – I love how 2-3 dunks of a peppermint tea bag in hot water is just enough to provide a soothing effect. Any more than that causes the sharp menthol taste that may also help to awaken your senses and help you get back to work.
  • Ginger – I swear by ginger tea. I usually chop up ginger into tiny cubes and place it in a jar overnight. The next morning, I heat up the jar, put a tiny bit of honey in it, and shake it up. The result is a spicy but warm and soothing drink that gets me energized to start my day.

For this week, experiment with the different types of herbal teas. Find the ones that you like and keep those handy at your desk and in your kitchen. Celestial Gardens has an Herbal Tea Sampler box that is available in most grocery stores, and Teavana always has great samples of herbal teas.

Which herbal tea did you like the most?

 

Resources:

Medline Plus: A Service of the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health