High daily stress can lead to anxiety and sleep disorders and herbal tea relaxing can help us out. If we don’t sleep well, we feel worse, we get even more stressed and our anxiety increases. It is a vicious circle that finally brings us closer to looking for a solution based on medicines or plants with the aim of reducing stress and anxiety, thus achieving better sleep.
The herbal option consists of consuming herbal tea relaxing to relax and eliminate insomnia, instead of medications. There is currently a paucity of scientific evidence on the anxiolytic effects of using herbal teas and products, according to a recent review.
But just because there is a shortage does not mean that it does not exist. We are going to talk about the most studied plants that are used to make infusions, as well as deepen if they really work to relax and sleep better, or not.
Herbal tea relaxing and relaxing drugs
Herbal infusion consist of mixing one or more herbs that have bioactive ingredients. The use of plants or vegetables ( phyton ) for a treatment ( therapeia ) is known as phytotherapy.
The phytotherapeutic market has grown in recent decades, both in its use for health in general, and for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia in particular.
In fact, it has grown faster than its regulation in terms of quality, efficacy and safety. The idea that using herbs is safe and has no side effects is false.
Taking a relaxing infusion will almost never cause health problems, but it is necessary to approach its consumption with care, both in infusions and in capsules that concentrate bioactive components.
The difference between an infusion and a pill of the same plant is the concentration of the components. An infusion will have a very small amount of the component that is responsible for producing relaxation, while the tablet extracts said component and introduces it in large quantities.
As an example we can use wine and resveratrol concentrate. Resveratrol is a natural component of grapes that has beneficial effects on our health. If we consume a glass of wine, we are consuming resveratrol but in very low amounts.
To really get the benefits that resveratrol brings us, we would have to drink a few full bottles of wine. And then we would no longer speak of healthy benefits but of harm.
There is a solution to obtain the beneficial effects of resveratrol without having to reach alcohol intoxication. It is nothing more than extracting that component that interests us, resveratrol, and putting it in high quantities in a capsule. And that way we get an interesting dietary supplement.
The same case occurs with infusions and their benefits for anxiety, sleep and many others. An infusion, depending on its quality and herbal quantity, may be insufficient to achieve that relaxation and improvement of sleep.
Plants studied for their relaxing effects
There is a long list of plants related to relaxation, and by relation to improving sleep. We are going to describe those that have received more scientific attention, although there are others that we must also consider.
We reiterate once again that the studies are carried out with plant concentrates, not with infusions or any other form of consumption. That is why the positive effects that can be obtained are with certain doses, which we could hardly achieve with an infusion.
If that leads you to add five sachets to your next infusion, don’t. It can carry a risk because in the end the dose makes the poison, and normally in the infusions the concentration of the bioactive components does not come, so we do not know how much we are taking.
The Valeriana officinalis (valerian) has 350 species throughout the world, and the chemical composition can vary between them. Its active metabolites are the protagonists of its relaxing and analgesic effects. That is why it is often recommended to treat anxiety and insomnia with few or no side effects.
Unlike other drugs to control anxiety, valerian can be a good alternative. Taking a herbal concentrate (valerian) has an anxiolytic effect similar to other reference drugs in this regard, and a much lower incidence of side effects.
It is one of the most studied plants in relation to the control of anxiety and relaxation. But the variation in its composition and content, as well as the instability of some of its components, pose serious problems for its standardization.
Melisa herb infusion
The Melissa officinalis is another plant that is used as a mild sedative and anxiolytic. Sometimes it is mixed with valerian to enhance its effects. We can find it as lemongrass, lemon balm, lemon leaf or lemon balm.
The Humulus lupulus plant has different properties, including calming and sleep-inducing. It appears to be effective in improving the quality and initiation of sleep by different mechanisms of action that participate in the circadian rhythm.
When reading hops, beer may have come to mindb. It is indeed one of its essential ingredients. We have already talked about the resveratrol of the grape present in the wine, so it is erroneously recommended to consume wine with the aim of greater health. The same thing happens with hops and beer.
Although everything has its moment, it is better to drink hops infusions instead of using beer for our purpose in this article, which is relaxation and sleep improvement. But there are several investigations that indicate that it is not effective to improve the quality of sleep taken alone, but mixed with valerian.
Jujube or jujube infusion
The Ziziphus jujuba is another of the plants, like the previous ones, that has a long millenary tradition to alleviate anxiety and sleep disorders. It has various bioactive components that modulate different systems that are responsible for such anxiety and sleep disturbances.
A blend of valerian, hops, and jujube showed significant improvement in all sleep parameters in one investigation. But as we have already mentioned, they use a concentrated herbal compound that extracts the main components of each plant, so mixing an infusion with the three plants in the study can be a long way from obtaining that improvement in sleep parameters.
It is extracted from a lavandula (family of plants). Lavender infusion is another one that is related to anxiety and sleep. Various researches confirm that lavender-based tablets can be just as effective for anxiety and sleep efficacy as other medications.
The chamaemelum nobile, also known as manzanilla or chamomile is one of the most studied plants, along with valerian and lavender, for the treatment of anxiety and disturbed sleep.
It is effective if it is consumed as a capsule through a concentrate, but it does not obtain the effects, or very moderate effects are obtained, if it is consumed as an infusion. That is why, depending on the quality of the infusion, we can obtain relaxing effects or not.
Herbal tea Relaxing: why to take them, when and how to do it
Why take relaxing infusions
We have been exposing the main plants studied with which we can make a relaxing infusion, at the same time that we related them to the science that confirms their usefulness.
And although there is little scientific evidence currently, the commented plants are related to greater relaxation and can help different aspects of sleep quality.
These beneficial effects depend on different bioactive components present in plants. With an infusion we do not know how much of these components we are taking.
But we can affirm, based on the little current evidence that we have been showing, that if we ingest a certain amount of these components in our infusion, we can obtain relaxing and beneficial effects to sleep better.
When to take the infusion?
It is not advisable to take relaxing infusion before a task that requires intense efforts, such as before a workout. On the contrary, doing it an hour before a cognitive task such as a test that increases our state of anxiety, can reduce said anxiety and improve concentration on the task.
Taking an infusion of a plant, or a mixture of several a while before going to sleep, can help us fall asleep, especially on days of greatest need due to having been a stressful day.
How to consume the plant to obtain the greatest benefits?
The use of plant-based compounds to help our health and functions is being studied more and more. But all that research is done with dietary supplements, not herbal teas or otherwise. That is why if we really seek to optimize the relaxing effect of plants, the ideal way is through the use of an extract from said plant.
Consuming herbal teas can have some effect, but usually we will need large doses to achieve it. And of course, it is not safe at all to take large doses on our own without medical and dietary control.