After a stressful day or week, all we want to do is relax and unwind. Sometimes we’re so tired we reach for the easiest thing we know - that yummy cupcake that will give us a quick sugar rush, or a glass of wine or beer, or we eat too much to numb ourselves.
It’s easy to get off track when we’re out of sync but there are healthier alternatives to help get us to that zen moment. Teas are a great way to unwind, without getting off our diets. A nice hot cup of tea, a moment of silence and maybe a good book might just get us further along than a glass of wine ever could.
Here are four types of teas that are especially good for relaxing.
Camomile has long been famous as a relaxing tea. It’s available almost everywhere and quite cheap to buy. Camomile has been around since ancient Egyptian times and is supposed to act as a mild sedative and anti-anxiety agent. It’s great to take just before bedtime, or in the evenings so you can unwind. However, do not use camomile if you’re pregnant as there is a chance that it might induce uterine contractions, potentially leading to early labour.
You can usually find valerian root in its dried powder form in capsules, a tea or as a tincture. It was (and is still) used as an anti-insomnia and anti-anxiety medicine in Ayurvedic and Chinese medical systems. It seems to be a safer option to regular sleeping pills, since it is said to be a mild sedative and sleep aid but without the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Again, pregnant women best avoid this root, as no safe studies have been conducted yet!
Lemon balm is actually a culinary and medicinal herb that comes from the mint family, despite its name. It does have a lemony scent which accounts for its name. Historically lemon balm has been used to reduce anxiety, improve moods and lower stress. When combined with valerian root, it also reduces restlessness in children.
This Ayurvedic herb is also known as tulsi and is quite readily available in health food shops - and also in your favourite Thai restaurant! It is a great herb to promote general well-being and longevity. It has been proven to reduce general anxiety disorder, reducing anxiety, stress and depression. It’s available in extract, tea and dried leaves.