Mood-Altering Herbal Tea

Herbal tea has an image problem. Without the capacity to give a strong jolt like coffee, it’s often considered boring. But no matter how much you appreciate the wonders of the bean, you have to admit that there’s nothing much more calming than sitting with a steaming cup of percolating plant leaves.

Try adding some peace to your day with these mood-altering tea suggestions:

Chamomile Europeans have been drinking chamomile tea to chill out for centuries. Apigenin is one of the sedative compounds in chamomile. Chamomile is lovely 45 minutes before bedtime; it's also good for jet lag recovery.

Catnip Energizing for cats, calming for us. The sedative ingredients in catnip are similar to those in valerian root.

Lemon Balm Lemon balm, also known as Melissa, is recommended as a sedative and stomach soother by Commission E, a panel of scientists that advise the German government about herb safety and effectiveness. Make a tea with two to four teaspoons of dried lemon balm per cup of boiling water.

Passion Flower This herb has been used for centuries in Europe and Central and South America to treat nervous tension, anxiety, and insomnia. In the United Kingdom, about 40 over-the-counter sedative preparations contain passionflower.

Rooibos An infusion of this South African plant makes an amber-colored tea that tastes sweet and earthy. Many swear by it for soothing nerves, tummy aches and hangovers, favoring it as a bedtime drink.

Valerian Commission E considers it so safe that it endorses drinking tea of one to two teaspoons of dried valerian root several times a day to relieve restlessness, anxiety, and nervousness. Drinking a cup before bedtime will promote sleepiness. It’s not habit-forming, nor does it produce a hangover-like side effect; it’s only known side effects are mild, transient stomach upset. If you’re already taking sedatives, talk to your doctor before trying it.

Learn more about the health benefits of tea on Gaiam TV!

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