woman drinking tea

A stressful day can easily carry into your evening. You might want to binge-watch television, purge on potato chips, or open that bottle of wine. These options might feel good in the short-term, but they might leave you more stressed in the long-term.

Having a nightly tea ritual can calm the body and mind after a stressful day. The warmth of the cup in your hand and the gentle aroma can help you unwind from a heavy day of being "on." Some teas have medicinal qualities that soothe nerves over time. A 2006 study published in Psychopharmacology found that drinking black tea for six weeks lowered stress versus a placebo.

Others have immediate calming effects because they have ingredients in them that have a sedative effect without the use of drugs. Drinking tea after a stressful day can be a great way to settle into your evening. What kinds of teas are best for reducing stress? Read more for a few research-based ideas.

Teas for immediate calm

tea cup with tea leaves

Lemon balm comes from the mint family, and lemon balm products can reduce stress after a long day, according to Mount Sinai. Years ago, lemon balm was added to wine, but these days, the leaves of lemon balm can be dried into a calming tea. A 2014 study in Nutrients found that lemon balm reduced anxiety and improved short-term memory. This fragrant tea can lighten your mood as you unwind. You can also add a lemon balm tincture for similar benefits.

For instant relief, chamomile tea can help your anxiety. Although there are two types of chamomile, the most common is German chamomile. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology administered chamomile supplements to its participants. Participants reported less anxiety after eight weeks. Rather than taking chamomile capsules, chamomile tea is safe and readily available in most grocery stores. However, if you’re pregnant or taking blood thinners, you might want to choose another type of tea.

Teas for long-term calm

woman's hand holding cup

Green tea is known for its antioxidant power. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine found that the catechins in green tea offer significant physical health benefits. But you might not know it can also reduce stress. A 2022 study in Biomedical Reports found that drinking 6 cups of decaffeinated green tea for six weeks improved symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Although 6 cups a day might sound like a lot, it can help stave off stress in the long run.

Ashwaganda is another wonderful option for thwarting stress. It’s an Ayurvedic herb that can be blended into a tea and considered to be a nervine tonic, meaning it can help support the nervous system (via Healthline). Additionally, a 2019 study in Medicine (Baltimore) found that ashwagandha eases anxiety and improves overall mood. This tea is considered safe for most people unless you are pregnant or breastfeeding, WebMD reports.

Whichever tea you choose, create a ritual with it. Heat some water, watch the leaves steep, then sip slowly.