Tea for Anxiety
I am a coffee addict. I didn’t know I was addicted to coffee until I suffered from anxiety symptoms. Right now, I am in the midst of trying to overcome my coffee addiction. My doctor suggested I should try healthier alternatives so I could overcome my anxiety while also curbing my coffee addiction. I have been drinking plain green tea for more than a month now. But, it seems as though I don’t feel any relief from my anxiety. But, I’ve read hundreds of articles online that say green tea can help one to relax. But, whenever I sip my green tea, the more I crave for coffee. Although I am aware that I shouldn’t rely on teas for my anxiety relief. But, is there anybody who can give me suggestions on what type of tea is the best for my anxiety? I want to hear from someone who really had a first-hand experience with drinking tea to reduce anxiety. I know my anxiety is linked to my coffee withdrawal symptoms.I am hoping I could find a tea that will help me stave off my anxiety and cope with my caffeine withdrawal.
The secret chemical you’re looking for is known as L-Theanine and is naturally found in tea. It helps with anxiety and also helps to ‘counter’ the effects of caffeine, which is why tea doesn’t make you as jittery.
Different teas will have different amounts of l-theanine, but a few guidelines will help you.
1. Buy fresher, higher quality, whole leaf tea.
2. Buy “younger” teas, such as white teas, or green tea buds. Matcha and Gyokuro are great options for green tea (or a kabuse sencha). Silver Needle (which is all buds) is a great option for white tea.
3. Steep the tea longer to extract as much L-Theanine as possible.
I haven’t had first hand experience with this, but it should help quite a bit. Best of luck!
I’m by no means a medical doctor, but have you calculated the number of milligrams of caffeine you were getting from coffee versus the amount you’re now getting from green tea? It might be worthwhile to gradually taper your caffeine intake rather than suddenly expecting yourself to adapt to much less.
Also, when I was a coffee drinker, I was just as attracted by the smell and flavour of the beverage as I was by the energy jolt. If you like green tea, the Japanese varieties with a high l-theanine content would be optimal. But if the flavour doesn’t grab you, find a type of tea you enjoy and want to explore. BTW, any loose-leaf tea would be better than those generic grocery-store green teabags!
Good luck, and sorry for the rant.
Dealing with anxiety issues myself in the past I would recommend cultivating a deeper relationship with your breathing habits. Take slow deep breaths and try to be aware of your breathing as often as possible.
Also, look into keemun black tea. Keemun has a turpene (scent compound) that has been shown to have relaxing effects. It’s what I drink for afternoon tea. I can’t remember the source I got this info from but a search should bring something up.
Many sheng puerhs have a strong relaxation component (look for “cha qi” in the reviews). I find these often put me into a meditative state, although sometimes it drifts into sleepy. I don’t have anxiety, but am a type-A person who needs to relax, and the puerh definitely helps. In my experience teas from White-2-tea and puerhshop (less expensive) tend to be heavy in cha qi.
Before I discovered loose leaf tea, I used to drink chamomile tea, which is caffeine-free and also fairly relaxing.
I have an anxiety disorder: I’ve found fresh green tea to help a lot. I think it is EGCG and other polyphenols that help me more than L-Theanine since green tea works so much better than other types of tea. I’d try sencha out, but don’t overdo the caffeine since it definitely exacerbates anxiety!
A cup of black tea has half the caffeine of a cup coffee. Caffeine has to be weaned. Maybe black tea will give a similar experience to coffee than green tea. I suggest buying better leaf grades, fine leaf tea rather than tea bags. You might find it more satisfying to use less leaf of a fine tea than of poor quality tea.
I actually wrote a blog post on tea and caffeine:
If you really cut the caffeine and still have a lot of anxiety you might ask your doctor to prescribe something for it. There are plenty of medications a doctor can prescribe for anxiety and they will work better than tea which does not in my experience do much of anything for anxiety.
Hi Dorothy12. I have anxiety too. I don’t know your age but I got significant relief from my anxiety after menopause. I know, not tea but I want to assure you that there maybe relief in your future.
As you probably already know caffine can actually exacerbate anxiety. Weaning yourself slowly will help. Maybe green tea is t your thing though. That’s ok! There are a lot of great tasting teas so you can try what appeals. For me, as a coffee drinker, I am happiest with stronger flavored teas. Lapsang Souchong and Irish Breakfast teas are two I enjoy. Earl Grey is my mainstay tea, I like ones with double bergamot. After drinking these teas for a while my tastebuds have also lightened up and I enjoy lighter teas such as greens and unroasted oolongs more. I think you can expect that lowering your caffine will be a process but one that will help with anxiety. Good luck to you!