Winslow Productions/Getty Images
When it comes to cozy nighttime rituals, a warm cup of tea is often at the top of the list. Alongside steaming bubble baths, crackling fires, and settling in with a good book, there's something inherently comforting about tea that puts it a cut above coffee, hot chocolate, or even a glass of wine, especially when the temperatures start to drop. Another plus? It can do wonders for our health. So, we thought we'd compile the ultimate list of teas for some of our most annoying grievances (check sleepless nights to waves of anxiety.) Keep scrolling to find out how you can use tea to solve (almost) everything.
1. When You can't sleep
Photo:Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/Getty Images
The clinically proven evidence between tea and sleep is still rather weak, explains neuroscientist and natural beauty expert, Leigh Winters. Still, she feels a relaxing mug of tea can be an essential tool when it comes to winding down before bed: "The lack of research doesn't mean a cup of tea before bed should be written off as pointless herbal folklore," she tells us.
"Firstly, a warm drink is soothing to the mind and body. Secondly, let psychology work its magic—even just partaking in a nighttime tea ritual can induce deep relaxation that promotes restful sleep. A large part of sleeping well is establishing a routine and environment with minimal distraction and stress. Some tea before bed can be very meditative and spiritual. It offers an opportunity to check in with your mind and body, which can be super beneficial for those with insomnia due to ruminating thoughts or anxiety."
Plus, certain ingredients can be especially helpful when it comes to relaxing the body in preparation for sleep, and Winters recommends selecting a tea with ingredients like chamomile, oatstraw, passionflower, valerian, lemon balm, and soothing spices like nutmeg or cinnamon. (We personally swear by Sakara's Sleep Tea $20.)
2. If You're Feeling Bloated
According to the European Journal of Nutrition, there are numerous kinds of tea that may be able to help with bloating and weight loss—especially the black and green varieties. The University of California researchers found that decaffeinated green and black tea have a positive impact on decreasing the bacteria in our gut, which is closely tied to obesity. These teas target the good bacteria in our bodies that create lean body mass—aka they're serious fat burners.
Additionally, Brooke Alpert, a registered dietician and author of The Diet Detox recommends dandelion tea (it's a natural diuretic and can help banish excess water weight), and nutrition coach Dana Kofsky of Wellness Styled loves peppermint, oolong, and rooibos varieties. Peppermint is known as a natural appetite-suppressant, oolong is filled with antioxidants to help support a healthy metabolism, and rooibos has a naturally sweet flavor which can soothe a perpetual sweet tooth.
"Cleansing teas support the body’s detoxification process, as well as providing essential nutrients that assist in vital cell function and renewal—leaving you feeling healthy and glowing inside and out," says Pole. "An occasional detoxification should leave you clear-headed and relaxed, so you sleep soundly and feel refreshed upon waking. The best times of year to detoxify are at the junctions of the seasons—in the early spring and early autumn—in order to cleanse the accumulated sluggish-mucus from winter and the dry-heat from the summer. It will invigorate you so that you are ready to enjoy the wonders of each season with renewed health and enthusiasm."
So, which teas are best? Well, that depends on your specific goal. For instance, to ease the digestion process, Pole recommends sipping a tea with ingredients like aniseed, cardamom, celery seed, coriander, fennel, and licorice, while an overwhelmed liver may involve a brew filled with Sencha green tea, dandelion, root, turmeric root, and lemon fruits.
4. To help you calm down
Photo:Westend 61/Getty Images
"Most people are familiar with chamomile teas for relaxation, but any blend with rose or other florals is helpful in soothing and quieting the mind. My favorite is Huanhe Calm Tea ($21), an infusion rich with soothing orchids, blood-nourishing gojis, and antioxidant-filled marigolds. The orchids have a unique sleep-assisting quality that's really helpful when you need to unwind and relax."
She also notes that there are some other helpful ingredients to be on the lookout for when shopping for an anxiety-relieving tea blend. For instance, she tells us that holy basil (a powerful adaptogen) can help manage stress levels, borage leaf can support the adrenal system and hormone function, and orange peel to help keep energy movement positive—oh, and it can also help relieve a bad hangover.