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For thousands of years, people have used herbal teas to improve their health and to simply enjoy. Herbal teas may help reduce stress, anxiety, and even help you sleep better.

They also affect everyone differently due to varying stress levels and taste buds. Finding the right tea for you may take a few tries, or you can keep an assortment in your cupboard to satisfy different needs and tastes.

Research supports that some herbs can have some powerful effects on our stress levels and, as a result, our mental and physical health. This list of 10 herbal teas will help you find the best tea for your current needs.

Herbal teas contain multiple types of natural anti-inflammatory compounds that may benefit the human body, such as:

  • antioxidants, which help protect the body from stress
  • antiviral and antibacterial compounds
  • herbs that reduce inflammation
  • herbs that reduce the risk of blood clots and high blood pressure

Drinking a cup of herbal tea each day may help protect your health in the long term and reduce stress levels. Research from 2014 shows that some herbal teas — in particular, Melissa officinalis, or lemon balm extract — can lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body.

A 2018 study suggests that even just inhaling tea aroma — black tea, specifically — can help lower stress levels and produce a calmer mood.

Be sure to talk with your doctor before introducing any herbal teas (or herbal supplements for that matter!) to your diet. Some teas can affect health conditions or medications. For example, chamomile acts as a mild blood thinner and can interact with the medication warfarin (Coumadin) if consumed in large amounts.

We chose the following herbal teas by diving into what the research says about their stress-reducing properties.

Herbal tea is generally considered safe for most people, but certain types may cause an allergic reaction. Before trying a tea or adding one to your routine, research any possible drug interactions or how it may affect certain health conditions.

Be sure to follow brewing instructions, and check expiration dates on the packaging to get the maximum benefits out of these teas.

Best overall tea

Lemon balm

For thousands of years, people have used the herb lemon balm to reduce stress. Lemon balm is available in capsules, tablets, creams, and as a tea. Anecdotal reports and scientific research suggest that lemon balm can help with relaxation, boost mood, and ease the symptoms of stress.

A 2014 study suggests that food containing lemon balm can improve stress levels and cognitive function in young adults.

Although some human studies have shown that lemon balm products have a positive effect on mood and stress, existing studies have used concentrated doses of lemon balm, not lemon balm tea, so it’s unclear if lemon balm tea has the same effect.

Best tea for anxiety

Linden tea

Linden tea is made from the dried flowers, leaves, or bark of the Linden tree. Traditionally, linden tea has been used as an herbal medicine to soothe nerves and treat anxiety, insomnia, and headaches.

One 2015 study found that a compound in Linden tea affects the activity of the gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a naturally occurring amino acid that acts as a chemical messenger in the brain, in a similar way as anti-anxiety medication effects.

If you have low blood pressure or are currently taking medications to lower your blood pressure, you may want to avoid linden tea or use it with caution. It could cause your blood pressure to drop to very low levels.

Best tea for IBS

Chamomile tea

Today, many people associate chamomile tea with a good night’s sleep. However, this herb was traditionally used to treat stomach and intestinal issues, including gas, upset stomach, stomach inflammation, and anxiety-related loose stools.

Stress and anxiety can aggravate symptoms in people with Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some research suggests that the relaxing effects of chamomile and its other compounds may provide some relief for people with IBS.

A 2015 study of 45 people with IBS found that after 4 weeks of consuming chamomile extract daily, IBS symptoms — such as bloating, abdominal pain, stool consistency, and defecation issues — decreased significantly.

In addition, research suggests that chamomile can help reduce anxiety and insomnia.

Best tea for brain health

Rosemary tea

Rosemary is a popular herb for cooking and fragrances. One of its less common uses is as an herbal tea. Still, some research suggests that regularly consuming rosemary tea can help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

The research shows that the compounds in rosemary can help reduce inflammation, prevent ulcers, and improve overall brain health.

Although promising, the research on rosemary tea itself is still insufficient and it’s difficult to know its long-term effects.

Best tea for depression

Lavender tea

Lavender tea may benefit your digestive and mental health. Lavender extract has long been used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation, and research suggests that there may be mental health benefits from drinking it too.

A 2020 study in 60 older adults found that drinking lavender tea in the morning and night reduced anxiety and depression scores in the participants.

Lavender itself can also help promote relaxation and sleep, relieve an upset stomach, and improve your mood.

Best tea for menstrual pain

Rose tea

Relaxing during that time of the month can be challenging, but rose tea may offer some relief.

Over the years, people have added rose petals to cakes, jams, and hot teas for flavoring. Rose petals are also a good source of antioxidants like vitamins C, A, and E.

A 2005 study on 130 female adolescents with primary dysmenorrhea found that rose tea helped to reduce menstrual pain and anxiety. The other compounds in rose tea may also help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease.

Best tea for sleep

Jasmine tea

For many tea drinkers, the scent of jasmine has a calming effect, making it a great tea to drink before bed. Compounds in jasmine trigger the neurotransmitter GABA, helping relax the nervous system and relieve anxiety.

A 2005 study of 24 healthy people found that smelling jasmine had sedative effects on the participants, decreasing heart rate and contributing to a calmer mood.

Jasmine is often mixed with black or green tea, which both contain caffeine. If you’re planning to drink jasmine tea as part of your nightly routine, opt for a caffeine-free version.

Best tea for deep sleep

Valerian root tea

The deep stages of sleep are believed to be the most restorative and essential to feeling well rested in the morning. Valerian root is widely used to help improve sleep quality and quantity, especially for deep sleep.

Studies suggest that the herb valerian works by blocking an enzyme that interferes with GABA’s function, leading to increased feels of calm. In addition, there’s research to support valerian root tea as a sleep aid.

Research from 2020 found that the herb valerian is effective in increasing time spent in deep sleep and reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.

Best tea for indigestion

Peppermint tea

Peppermint tea is brewed from the dried leaves of a peppermint plant. Research from 2009 suggests that peppermint can help soothe an upset stomach, relieve constipation, boost the immune system, increase focus, and reduce stress.

Additional research suggests that even the smell of peppermint may help reduce anxiety and stress: A 2019 study on 80 cardiac patients found that peppermint aromatherapy helped reduce pain and anxiety in those who received an IV.

Best tea for fatigue

Oat straw tea

Oat straw tea is made from the stems, seeds, and flowers of the oat plant. Oat tea extract has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to help relax, increase mood, and reduce fatigue. A 2011 study on older adults found that oat herb extract helped improve their attention and concentration.

There’s minimal research on how oat straw affects health when consumed as a tea, even though it has been long used for traditional medicine.

Herbal teas are an excellent addition to any self-care routine or perfect alone for a bit of stress relief. Enjoy both the taste and scents of these teas to gain their full benefits.

Many of the herbs mentioned here are also available in blended tea varieties, so you can reap the benefits of multiple herbs for stress management. If you’re considering adding new herbal teas or supplements to your daily routine, talk with your doctor first, as some may interact with certain medications and health conditions.


Ashley Braun, MPH, RD, is a health and wellness writer based in Michigan. Her work helps people understand what affects their health, so they can make informed choices to take back the control in their health and wellness journey.