Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Stress, restlessness and sleep problems are things that many people struggle with. When the stressful daily routine consists of work, commitments, organisation and worries, it is difficult to switch off in the evening. Teas, especially calming teas, are a popular household remedy for relaxation.

In our big calming tea test 2021 we provide you with all the important information you need to know before you buy. What calming tea is, how it works, which herbs help you best and what you should look out for can be found in this article.




The most important

  • Calming tea can support health in many ways. It can help you fall asleep, have a calming and anxiety-relieving effect and even support depression therapies.
  • Most calming teas contain certain amounts of valerian, lemon balm, passion flower, St. John's wort or chamomile. These medicinal herbs have a particularly relaxing effect.
  • The choice of tea depends on your personal taste and benefits. If you are already taking medication, we recommend that you discuss the use of calming tea with your doctor beforehand.

The Best Calming Tea: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for calming tea

When buying calming tea, you can look at various aspects, such as:

By making the right choice for you, you can find a delicious tea that is wholesome and calming. Therefore, always pay attention to the quality of the product and in which form you prefer to brew the tea.

Herbs contained

You can find a wide range of different herbal teas in the shops that promise a relaxing effect. You can choose between calming teas with mixed medicinal herbs or separate teas.

Calming teas are available with a wide variety of medicinal herbs.

Many calming teas contain a mixture of herbs. Valerian, hops, lemon balm, chamomile, St. John's wort and passion flower are usually present. Chamomile tea, lemon balm tea or lavender tea are particularly popular as individual teas.

All of the teas mentioned can have a calming effect. The choice is therefore up to you. Since tea is a comparatively affordable product, you can also test your way through the varieties.

Quality seal

If you want to be sure that the tea is of good quality, it is worth looking for certain seals. There are various organic and fair trade seals. If these aspects are important to you, you can find a large selection of these products in organic shops and drugstores.

Stiftung Wahrentest or the Fresenius Institute assess products according to their production, raw materials, packaging and quality. If you buy a product with one of these seals, you can be sure that you are not buying an inferior tea.

Loose tea / bags

As with other teas, you can choose between tea bags and loose tea.

Tea bags are more practical to use, but you can dose loose tea differently depending on your preferences. Loose tea, however, requires separately purchased tea bags or a teapot with the appropriate device.

If you have a teapot with a filter insert at home, you can also buy loose tea.

Yield

Following on from the previous point, there is also the question of how much tea the pack will yield. With a pack of tea bags, it is easy to estimate how many bags you will use. With loose tea, it is worth looking at the 100 gram price when comparing. About 1.5 grams of tea is enough for one cup.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about calming tea answered in detail

In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of calming tea and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following section.

What is a calming tea and how does it work?

Calming teas are tea blends that have a calming, pain-relieving and relaxing effect. The effect of calming teas can vary depending on the herbal ingredients.

The best researched plants for calming teas are valerian and St. John's wort. Therefore, much of the information given refers to these two ingredients.

Reducing stress and anxiety

St. John's wort and valerian have been shown in several studies to have a possible stress and anxiety inhibiting effect.

One clinical study suggests that daily intake of valerian extract can significantly reduce daily perceived stress levels (1). Scientific articles show that taking St. John's wort preparations can produce a similar effect (2).

Calming teas are particularly popular in the evening before going to sleep. The medicinal herbs usually have a relaxing effect. (Image source: Nathan Dumlao / unsplash)

According to studies, however, the combination of plant extracts in particular improves anxiety significantly faster than taking St. John's wort extracts alone (3).

Since most of the studies do not test the plant extracts in the form of tablets or oils, it is not possible to say exactly to what extent this effect can also come from calming tea.

Improving the quality of sleep

Probably the best-known use of calming tea relates to improving the quality of sleep and falling asleep more quickly.

It has been proven that the substance sesquiterpenes contained in valerian root can have a sedative effect when taken daily and thus improve the quality of sleep (4).

The same effect was also demonstrated in another study with lavender tea, which is also a popular variant of sedative tea (5).

In addition to valerian and lavender, the use of passion flower tea also shows sleep improving properties. A clinical study found that daily ingestion of a low dose of passion flower in the form of a tea brought short-term, subjective sleep benefits in adults (6). The same is true for lemon balm tea (7).

Sesquiterpenes are ingredients found especially in valerian root. They have a sedative effect and make you fall asleep faster. (Image source: Gregory Pappas / unsplash)

However, this assumption is not without controversy. A scientific article argues that lemon balm and passion flower, among others, have no proven effectiveness on sleep, but can also be consumed safely and without harm (8).

The studies available in the article suggest that valerian also has a rather modest effect, but is more effective than a placebo.

Based on the researched information, it can be concluded that the various extracts contained in the calming tea do not have an effect on everyone.

Reduction of (menstrual) pain

Much less research has been done on the pain-reducing effect of calming tea on menstrual pain.

Trials have shown that valerian can relieve menstrual pain.

In a double-blind trial, participants took a dose of valerian extract three times a day for 2 months. Compared to the placebo group, participants noticed a significant improvement in symptoms (9).

The researchers explained this effect by the antispasmodic and relaxing properties of valerian.

It has been proven that taking valerian tea is safe for adults (8). If wide-range painkillers have been avoided, it is worth trying a calming tea with valerian extract for menstrual pain.

Help with heart disease symptoms

Another possible effect of valerian on chest pain attacks was analysed in a study.

Based on 82 heart patients, it was observed that treatment with valerian oil reduced the number of attacks (angina pectoris) and shortened their duration. In addition, the oil lowered the blood lipid levels, but did not cause any side effects on the condition of the liver and kidneys (10).

Apart from the above-mentioned study, there is little scientific evidence of this mode of action. However, it shows how diverse the potential benefits of valerian can be.

Support for depression therapy

Much more research has been done on the effects of herbal ingredients of calming tea on symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In one study, the combination therapy of valerian and St. John's wort extracts was found to improve therapy in patients with depression (3).

In another study, St. John's wort seemed to work similarly to antidepressants as an alternative treatment for mild to moderate depression (2).

Calming tea not only helps you fall asleep. It can also relieve anxiety. (Image source: Manki Kim / unsplash)

Researchers also found that lemon balm and chamomile, which are commonly used in calming teas, had a similar effect. Both plant extracts were tested in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. During the time the subjects took the extracts, they significantly alleviated depression symptoms (7, 11).

It should be noted that despite these successes, the use of calming tea for depression should be discussed with a doctor beforehand. Especially in cases of severe depression symptoms, the effect of calming tea is not strong enough and should not be taken with other medications without a doctor's consent (2).

Alleviating the symptoms of hyperactivity

In addition to the possible effects of calming tea mentioned above, there is also the possibility that valerian and lemon balm extract can also be used to treat concentration problems.

A clinical study was carried out on 169 school children under 12 years of age who suffered from hyperactivity but did not show a complete symptom picture of ADHD.

Measurements showed that the children significantly reduced their symptoms with the daily dose of valerian and lemon balm extract (12).

To date, however, the number of research papers on the topic is low.

When and for whom is it useful to take calming teas?

The use of calming teas is safe for adults who do not consume a lot of medication. Due to the low dose of the plant extracts in the form of tea, it is possible to use it as a herbal remedy for sleep problems (8).

Calming tea is especially popular with adults in the evening because it can improve the quality of sleep.

Several studies tested the effects of the medicinal plants contained in the tea on postnatal women. They concluded that teas containing chamomile, lavender and valerian root can be used to relieve depression, anxiety and sleep problems (4, 5, 11).

Apart from the study conducted on school children (12), there is a lack of scientific evidence on how useful or harmless the consumption of calming tea is for children.

Although teas are popular with women during their pregnancies, research regarding certain herbal and calming teas has been limited.

What are the different types of calming teas?

Calming teas usually consist of herbal blends with different ingredients. The following varieties are often included in calming teas or are available individually.

Type Description
Valerian Valerian has scientifically proven effects that can range from sleep improvement to relief of depression and stress (1, 3, 4). This makes it an all-rounder in medicinal medicine and is found in most calming teas.
Lavender Besides its pleasant smell, lavender tea can help improve sleep quality and relieve fatigue and depression (5).
St. John's wort This medicinal herb is also usually present in calming teas, as it has a relaxing effect and can relieve anxiety (2).
Camomile Camomile tea is very popular as a tea blend as well as a single variety. Chamomile relaxes and improves sleep quality (11). However, caution is advised for those allergic to plants from the daisy family. Chamomile tea can trigger this under certain circumstances (13).
Passionflower tea with passionflower extract also offers possible sleep-inducing benefits (6). Passionflower tea is also available as a tea blend.
Lemon balm lemon balm tea is also popular individually as well as in tea blends. Lemon balm and lemon balm have relaxing and sleep-inducing effects (7).

It therefore depends on your taste whether you prefer individual varieties. Otherwise, there is a wide range of calming tea blends that serve the same purpose.

How do I dose calming tea?

How much calming tea is an appropriate amount depends very much on the ingredients. For many types of tea, 3-4 daily applications are recommended for a significant effect. More precise information is given on the package leaflet.

You can use either one tea bag or 2 teaspoons (1.3 grams) of loose tea for one cup (250 millilitres) per application. The brewing time for calming teas is slightly longer than for regular teas. Depending on the product, it may be 10-15 minutes.

What are the side effects of taking calming tea?

Exactly determined side effects of calming tea are not clear. Due to the low dose of the plant extract from tea consumption, it can be assumed that no side effects were noticed in several studies (3, 4). In the case of valerian, 16% of participants in one study noticed more vivid dreams (1).

One scientific article highlights that in addition to the antidepressant effect of St. John's wort preparations, 1-3 % of users suffered from gastrointestinal complaints, confusion, dizziness, headaches, allergic reactions as well as fatigue, among other symptoms (2). It is unclear to what extent this effect is noticeable in the form of a tea.

In general, most calming teas are very digestible. In order not to prevent the relaxing effect, it is recommended not to use stevia or artificial sweetener. (Image source: Massimo Rinaldi / unsplash)

A study has shown how sweeteners influence the effect of tea. It shows that the consumption of sugar compared to stevia and sucralose has a calming effect on consumers with acute stress.

The scientists assume that this effect is due to the calorie content of the sweetener (14). Therefore, it should be noted that the consumption of sweetener may not support the calming effect of tea.

In addition to sweeteners, it should be noted that studies advise against the mixed consumption of alcohol and calming tea (8). Although valerian root does not have any obvious negative side effects, alcohol should be avoided when drinking the tea.

What are the alternatives to sedative tea?

Calming tea is a herbal healing method that can have different effects depending on its intensity. The tea can be used for a wide variety of complaints. Alternative methods to improve health therefore depend very much on the problem.

In the case of poor sleep, evening rituals such as reading, switching off the mobile phone or television early, using dim lighting as well as getting up at the same time can help. With the help of such a routine, the sleep rhythm can improve.

If you experience depression, anxiety or severe abdominal pain, we recommend that you see a doctor. These are serious health conditions and should be treated professionally. In these cases, calming tea is only a small household remedy and can at most support the treatment.

Image source: efired / 123rf

References (14)

1. Wheatley D. Kava and valerian in the treatment of stress-induced insomnia. Phytother Res. 2001 Sep;15(6):549-51. doi: 10.1002/ptr.840. PMID: 11536390.
Source

2. Barnes J, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum L.): a review of its chemistry, pharmacology and clinical properties. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2001 May;53(5):583-600. doi: 10.1211/0022357011775910. PMID: 11370698.
Source

3. Müller D, Pfeil T, von den Driesch V. Treating depression comorbid with anxiety--results of an open, practice-oriented study with St John's wort WS 5572 and valerian extract in high doses. Phytomedicine. 2003;10 Suppl 4:25-30. doi: 10.1078/1433-187x-00305. PMID: 12807339.
Source

4. Lindahl O, Lindwall L. Double blind study of a valerian preparation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1989 Apr;32(4):1065-6. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(89)90082-8. PMID: 2678162.
Source

5. Chen SL, Chen CH. Effects of Lavender Tea on Fatigue, Depression, and Maternal-Infant Attachment in Sleep-Disturbed Postnatal Women. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2015 Dec;12(6):370-9. doi: 10.1111/wvn.12122. Epub 2015 Nov 2. PMID: 26523950.
Source

6. Ngan A, Conduit R. A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. Phytother Res. 2011 Aug;25(8):1153-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3400. Epub 2011 Feb 3. PMID: 21294203.
Source

7. Ranjbar M, Firoozabadi A, Salehi A, Ghorbanifar Z, Zarshenas MM, Sadeghniiat-Haghighi K, Rezaeizadeh H. Effects of Herbal combination (Melissa officinalis L. and Nepeta menthoides Boiss. & Buhse) on insomnia severity, anxiety and depression in insomniacs: Randomized placebo controlled trial. Integr Med Res. 2018 Dec;7(4):328-332. doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2018.08.001. Epub 2018 Aug 10. PMID: 30591886; PMCID: PMC6303415.
Source

8. Management of insomnia: a place for traditional herbal remedies. Prescrire Int. 2005 Jun;14(77):104-7. PMID: 15984105.
Source

9. Mirabi P, Dolatian M, Mojab F, Majd HA. Effects of valerian on the severity and systemic manifestations of dysmenorrhea. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2011 Dec;115(3):285-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2011.06.022. Epub 2011 Sep 28. PMID: 21959068.
Source

10. Yang GY, Wang W. [Clinical studies on the treatment of coronary heart disease with Valeriana officinalis var latifolia]. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1994 Sep;14(9):540-2. Chinese. PMID: 7866003.
Source

11. Chang SM, Chen CH. Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial. J Adv Nurs. 2016 Feb;72(2):306-15. doi: 10.1111/jan.12836. Epub 2015 Oct 20. PMID: 26483209.
Source

12. Gromball J, Beschorner F, Wantzen C, Paulsen U, Burkart M. Hyperactivity, concentration difficulties and impulsiveness improve during seven weeks' treatment with valerian root and lemon balm extracts in primary school children. Phytomedicine. 2014 Jul-Aug;21(8-9):1098-103. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2014.04.004. Epub 2014 May 15. PMID: 24837472.
Source

13. McKay DL, Blumberg JB. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita L.). Phytother Res. 2006 Jul;20(7):519-30. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1900. PMID: 16628544.
Source

14. Samant SS, Wilkes K, Odek Z, Seo HS. Tea-induced calmness: Sugar-sweetened tea calms consumers exposed to acute stressor. Sci Rep. 2016 Nov 16;6:36537. doi: 10.1038/srep36537. PMID: 27848976; PMCID: PMC5111075.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Klinische Studie
Wheatley D. Kava and valerian in the treatment of stress-induced insomnia. Phytother Res. 2001 Sep;15(6):549-51. doi: 10.1002/ptr.840. PMID: 11536390.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Barnes J, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum L.): a review of its chemistry, pharmacology and clinical properties. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2001 May;53(5):583-600. doi: 10.1211/0022357011775910. PMID: 11370698.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Müller D, Pfeil T, von den Driesch V. Treating depression comorbid with anxiety--results of an open, practice-oriented study with St John's wort WS 5572 and valerian extract in high doses. Phytomedicine. 2003;10 Suppl 4:25-30. doi: 10.1078/1433-187x-00305. PMID: 12807339.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Lindahl O, Lindwall L. Double blind study of a valerian preparation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1989 Apr;32(4):1065-6. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(89)90082-8. PMID: 2678162.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Chen SL, Chen CH. Effects of Lavender Tea on Fatigue, Depression, and Maternal-Infant Attachment in Sleep-Disturbed Postnatal Women. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2015 Dec;12(6):370-9. doi: 10.1111/wvn.12122. Epub 2015 Nov 2. PMID: 26523950.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Ngan A, Conduit R. A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. Phytother Res. 2011 Aug;25(8):1153-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3400. Epub 2011 Feb 3. PMID: 21294203.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Ranjbar M, Firoozabadi A, Salehi A, Ghorbanifar Z, Zarshenas MM, Sadeghniiat-Haghighi K, Rezaeizadeh H. Effects of Herbal combination (Melissa officinalis L. and Nepeta menthoides Boiss. & Buhse) on insomnia severity, anxiety and depression in insomniacs: Randomized placebo controlled trial. Integr Med Res. 2018 Dec;7(4):328-332. doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2018.08.001. Epub 2018 Aug 10. PMID: 30591886; PMCID: PMC6303415.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Management of insomnia: a place for traditional herbal remedies. Prescrire Int. 2005 Jun;14(77):104-7. PMID: 15984105.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Mirabi P, Dolatian M, Mojab F, Majd HA. Effects of valerian on the severity and systemic manifestations of dysmenorrhea. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2011 Dec;115(3):285-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2011.06.022. Epub 2011 Sep 28. PMID: 21959068.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Yang GY, Wang W. [Clinical studies on the treatment of coronary heart disease with Valeriana officinalis var latifolia]. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1994 Sep;14(9):540-2. Chinese. PMID: 7866003.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Chang SM, Chen CH. Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial. J Adv Nurs. 2016 Feb;72(2):306-15. doi: 10.1111/jan.12836. Epub 2015 Oct 20. PMID: 26483209.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Gromball J, Beschorner F, Wantzen C, Paulsen U, Burkart M. Hyperactivity, concentration difficulties and impulsiveness improve during seven weeks' treatment with valerian root and lemon balm extracts in primary school children. Phytomedicine. 2014 Jul-Aug;21(8-9):1098-103. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2014.04.004. Epub 2014 May 15. PMID: 24837472.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
McKay DL, Blumberg JB. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita L.). Phytother Res. 2006 Jul;20(7):519-30. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1900. PMID: 16628544.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Samant SS, Wilkes K, Odek Z, Seo HS. Tea-induced calmness: Sugar-sweetened tea calms consumers exposed to acute stressor. Sci Rep. 2016 Nov 16;6:36537. doi: 10.1038/srep36537. PMID: 27848976; PMCID: PMC5111075.
Go to source
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