My dad is fond of saying, in his lovely English/Irish way, that there is no problem a good cup of tea cannot solve. I’ve always been inclined to agree with that. In fact, the benefits of tea go are pretty remarkable, particularly for our mental health and emotions.
I struggle with my mental health and no matter how many times someone tells me exercise is great for it, I will not go on a run. As such, I am always looking for the best ways to look after my anxiety and depression in ways that suit my lifestyle, habits and overall dislike of public sweating.
There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” – Lin Yutang
Benefits of tea
Camellia sinensis is an extraordinarily useful plant. From the leaves, stems and roots, we can access and number of health boosting compounds and amino acids that are great for our physical and mental health. In tea, there are a few major compounds that benefit our brain functions and moods:
Caffeine and L-theanine work together really well to give us a balanced state of drive and motivation, whilst feeling calm.
Whilst we have familiarised ourselves with the benefits of tea for helping with physical ailments including, nausea, digestive issues, aches and pains and coughs and colds; drinking a cup of tea can also provide numerous mental and emotional benefits.
Tea and mental health
- Lower cortisol levels.
- Aid with memory loss and brain functions.
- Helps with meditation.
- Contains antioxidants.
- Increases certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine.
All in all, pretty good stuff. Furthermore, tea is affordable, easy to slide into your day/night-time routine, and, ensuring you buy from the right places, a sustainable product. So, Darlings, stock up your tea cupboards to calm, boost or relax your way to better mental health and wellbeing.
Please note: Some teas/plants can interfere with other medication and aren’t suitable for women whilst pregnant. Make sure you do any prior research or check with a doctor beforehand.
- Green: A lot of us have heard how green tea benefits us. Green tea improves memory, aids attention, aids weight loss, reduces high blood pressure, lowers risk of depression. Furthermore, it detoxifies blood and has been studied for its benefits in helping Alzheimer’s.
- Chamomile: Contains apigenin, an antioxidant that induces relaxation in the brain. Aids anxiety, stress and sleep. Also good for relieving menstrual pains.
- Peppermint: Relaxes muscle, aids with stress and anxiety and improves brain cognition and memory. Caffeine free, peppermint tea is a good night-time brew. In addition, it gives minty breath, as well, which is a plus.
- Oolong: Calming and improves mood, aid brain functions and attentions. Moreover, it increases the release of dopamine and norepinephrine.
- Lavender: Aids anxiety, stabilising and sleep. Also, in a 2010 study, they found that oral lavender capsules were just as effective for treating general anxiety disorder as lorazepam.
- Gotu Kola: Used in traditional medicine to aid fatigue, anxiety and depression.
- Lemon Balm: Aids anxiety, depression and sleeping troubles.
- Fennel: Aids anxiety and has antidepressant effects.
- Liquorice Root: Aids stress and fatigue.
- St John’s Wort: Aids depression and anxiety. However, it can interfere with other medications, such as the pill.
- Ginseng: Aids brain functions, helps relieve stress and boost energy.
- Ginger: Aids stress relief and tension.
- Turmeric: Improves brain function and aids with memory. Additionally, helps to aid depression
- Black Tea: Containing caffeine and L-theanine, black tea gives you relaxation and better focus. Moderate, regular drinking has also been shown to reduce levels of cortisol.
The very act of brewing and drinking tea can also have an influence on your mind. Taking the time to settle down and give yourself a rest from the stresses of everyday, is an important thing to do. Using said time to curl up with a hot cup of tea, sitting at your window, listening to music or simply closing your eyes and enjoying the peace and quiet, I think we can all agree, sounds like a terrific use of time.
Pop the kettle on, settle down, and look after yourself.
And if you still want to, go on a run, but we won’t judge you if you don’t.
Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.” – Kakuzō Okakura
A Little Tea History
The exact origins of tea are somewhat muddled in history and legends, but the earliest evidence of tea was found in the mausoleum of Emperor Jing of Han in Xi’an, as early as 2 century BC. Believing to have first originated in the Yunnan Province during the Shang dynasty, tea manufacturing then spread to Sichuan before being taken to Japan by Buddhist monks. Tea held a firm place in traditional medicine before becoming a favoured beverage and held places within religious and spiritual spheres, as well as serving as a symbol of status. In the 17th century, the British began to cultivate tea in India, and it grew into a worldwide trade that remains as strong today.
My dear if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should better understand your affairs.” – Charles Dickens, Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy