Green tea is often cited in articles for its calming and relaxing properties. Let's take a look at why this might be so. What you can do to help amplify the relaxation and then how you can make the effects last longer.
Green tea has been drunk by many nations for centuries. One of the earliest dates quoted is 2737 BC, during the reign of Emperor Shennong. It is said that he was the first to drink tea when some burning tea twigs were blown by the wind and landed in his cauldron of boiling water. Fact or myth, tea has a very long history and from it, different cultures have evolved different rituals when preparing and drinking tea.
What is tea made from?
Tea is made from the leaf of an evergreen shrub, Camellia Sinensis It is a shrub or small tree with yellow-white flowers that have 7 to 8 petals. The leaves are between 4 and 15 cm in length and 2-5 cm wide. It is native to tropical and subtropical climates.
What is the active part of tea?
Caffein is produced by the plant and extracts from the leaves contain Polyphenols, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epicatechin gallate, epicatechins and flavanols, three kinds of flavonoids, known as kaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin.
How does drinking tea help me to relax?
EGCG, one of the natural products in tea is thought to make people feel calmer and improve memory and attention. Some studies have shown that drinking tea can also reduce the stress hormone cortisol, that is in your body.
Does the ritual of tea also help?
It certainly does. When we make a cup of tea we all have our own ritual and routine. Relaxation can come from several areas. The familiarity of the routine you are about to perform. The fact that you have walked away from what could be stressing you to make that cup of tea. The hydrating effect of drinking the tea and the then contemplative act of holding the cup and concentrating on such a simple yet satisfying drink. Combine that with the reduction of the stress hormone and you are placing yourself into a relaxing and calming state.
How can you get the most from drinking tea?
If you are looking to add tea drinking into part of your wind-down and relaxation routines then it's important to lay the groundwork to putting you in tot hat frame of mind.
Think about the ritual. Rather than do it at the kitchen worktop would it be better to set aside a tray and the utensils and make then pour the tea in a place that will add to the relaxation? Is the act of making a pot of tea, the anticipation and the concentration of such a simple act going to enhance your relaxation?
Think about where you will be drinking your tea.
Set aside a place or situation that will help you to amplify the effects. A comfortable chair. A natural and relaxing view. Don't sit in front of a computer screen or in a noisy environment. In the garden listening to birdsong. Putting on a relaxing soundtrack or opening a favourite book are all going to help you reduce your stress, sink deeper into a relaxed state.