Tea is an age-old remedy that is said to reduce sickness, anxiety and even stress, but does it really work? In this article, we’ll discuss how the consumption of tea reduces stress, based on medical research conducted by psychologists from the City University of London.
The history of tea as a remedy
Tea was primarily used as a medicinal drink during the days of the Shang Dynasty and was said to be a type of herbal remedy in an important medical document written by Hua Tuo. While it was primarily used in China for medicinal purposes in the 16th century, Britain decided to monopolize the idea of tea in the 17th century. This then created a mass tea production with India.
There are many legends about tea, surprisingly, and one revolves around an Emperor of China named Shennong around 2373 B.C. When he discovered drinking tea and was surprised by it’s properties that made him feel restored, he tested the tea on himself after self-poisoning to see if it would work. The tea also revolves around a more gruesome legend about the founder of Chan Buddhism, as the tea relaxed him too much.
Does tea reduce stress?
In a study conducted by Dr. Malcolm Cross and Rita Michaels, the intent around the original research was that they would find and measure better how well tea worked against anxiety and how calming it was naturally. They also wanted to conclude how tea affects stress. While this is more psychological than physical like the days of the Shang Dynasty, it was said that if tea could reduce physical pain, psychological would be no problem.
The chemical properties of tea consumption suggested that it makes the brain more alert; all while helping people recover from stress. When this happens, there is a huge weight lifted off the cardiovascular system.
In this study, there were a total of 42 people, half women and half men and they were texted by two psychological tests including:
- Stat-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults
- The Spielberger
After they were given these tests, they also conducted before and after experiments to talk in small focus groups. When this happened, they then split the volunteers into another two groups, not done by gender but generally, and one group was dubbed the “tea group” and the other was the “non tea group”.
When they were put through a stressful test, half with tea at hand and the others with none, they were able to conclude that:
- The tea group actually had 25% more anxiety after the stress task was completed, compared to the tea-group.
- The non-tea group had stress levels actually decrease by an additional 4% (after being NOT stressed at all, so ultra-unstressed)
- Participants said they were relaxed
- Participants said they felt safe with tea as a relaxation tool while under the stress test
Scientifically proven, tea does reduce anxiety and stress. We now wonder if the stories from the Shang Dynasty weren’t so far-fetched after all.
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