Can tea reduce anxiety levels?

Can a cuppa help to reduce anxiety levels?

By Liz Lockhart

A substance found in tea leaves may reduce anxiety, improve attention and the ability to focus in people with high levels of anxiety.  Japanese researchers reported these findings in a recent issue of the Journal Of Functional Food.

Theanine (L-theanine) is an amino acid that has a chemical structure similar to glutamate, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory.  It has also been found previously that it's ability to cross the blod-brain barrier means it really can have great brain boosting effects.

This is great news for tea lovers, no wonder us English pop on the kettle at times we need soothing!

A reacent study has shown great results when using green tea with a high amount of theanine in older folk, with those who had the substance showing slower cognative decline than those who used a placebo.

In a new current study university students were broken up into two groups.  One group had high anxiety levels and the other had low.  Both groups were given water or water plus 200mg of L-thanine per 100mg water.  The test was conducted repeatedly and evaluations were done between 15 and 60 minutes after the students ingested the water or water plus theanine.

Results indicated that students who were highly anxious and who received theanine had a slowed heart rate, improved attention and a better reaction time when compared with high-anxiety students who took the placebo.  Students with low anxiety did not experience any significant benefit from taking theanine.

The authors of this research noted that unlike other conventional treatments for anxiety, theanine does not cause drowsiness, impair concentration or slow down reflexes.  Rather, 200mg of thanine enhanced performance in visual attention tasks and reaction time responses among the subjects with high anxiety propensity symptoms.

Perhaps our grannies had it right when they took their regular afternoon tea breaks and enjoyed a cup of tea throughout the day!

Further reading

For more information on Anxiety, please visit:

Fight or Flight Response Explained
Anxiety - What Is Anxiety

Fight or Flight Response Explained
Anxiety Symptoms
Anxiety Disorders
Coping with Anxiety – Anxiety Factors
Generalised Anxiety Disorder GAD
Panic Attacks – Anxiety Attacks
No More Panic
Anxiety Treatment
Anxiety Management – Managing External Stressors
Anxiety Management – Managing our Response to Stress
Anxiety and Debt
Social Anxiety
Anxiety as a Result of Domestic Abuse
Work Related Stress
Anxiety and Substance Abuse
Further Reading 


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