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Natural Awakenings Seattle

Black Tea Soothes Holiday Stress Away: Sip Your Way to Relaxation

Jan 01, 2007 10:29AM

If the holidays have left you feeling a bit stressed and exhausted, you might want to adopt a simple ritual in your life: afternoon tea—black, English style!

A new study by University College London (Oct. 2006) found that people who drank tea after stressful events were able to de-stress more quickly than those who did not. The researchers discovered that black tea was able to lower the levels of cortisol, a harmful stress hormone, by a significant average of 47 percent. Professor Andrew Steptoe at UCL Department of Epidemiology and Public Health says that although drinking tea has traditionally been associated with relaxation, scientific evidence for the stress-relieving effects of black tea has so far been limited. This is one of the first studies to assess tea in a double blind placebo study where the participants did not know whether they were drinking tea, or just a tea-like beverage. Tea is chemically very complex containing catechins, polyphenols, flavonoids, and amino acids, and so far it is not known whether it is a single substance or the synergistic interplay of all its components that are responsible for black tea’s health promoting effects. More studies will be underway soon.

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