There’s always that one person on the Christmas list who is notoriously difficult to buy for. She’s the type of person who has everything, or he’s notorious for returning gifts on Boxing Day.
Rather than spend on a generic gift card or items you’re unsure they’ll use, check off your shopping list by giving tea. Pair a box with a few accessories, like a fancy infuser or cute cup and saucer, to complete the gift.
There are many varieties of tea to choose from, and while the gift receiver may have his or her favourites, you can use this as an opportunity to introduce them to something a bit new. Even better, pick a variety that promotes sleep or lessens stress. Below are some popular choices— and a couple that may surprise you!
Chamomile tea - Matricaria chamomilla (German chamomile) or Chamaemelum nobile (Roman chamomile)
Chamomile is a classic sleep and relaxation drink. It’s been used to treat insomnia and anxiety for centuries, as it is widely regarded to induce sleep and work as a mild tranquilliser.1 There are limited clinical trials to back this up, but one small study did find that ten cardiac patients fell into a deep sleep that lasted 90 minutes after drinking chamomile tea.1
Chamomile tea may also be beneficial in treating many other health issues, such as soothing an upset stomach, or easing cold symptoms.
Lemon Balm tea - Melissa officinalis
You may already be familiar with lemon balm.An oil derived from the plant is an ingredient in some lip balms and has been shown to reduce swelling and redness in cold sores. 2
Lemon balm is commonly combined in teas with other sleep inducing herbs, but on its own it may be effective against stress-induced insomnia3 ; When ingested before experiencing stress, lemon balm may also lessen the effects of mental strain4. Sounds like the perfect choice for getting through the holiday season!
Lavender tea – Lavandula
A popular aromatherapy scent, studies suggest that the smell of lavender helps ease insomnia, especially for women and those with milder sleep troubles. Breathing in the floral steam from a hot cup of lavender tea before bed can help lower your heart rate5 , preparing you for sleep.
California Poppy tea - Eschscholzia californica
Remember the scene from The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and her friends are in danger of sleeping forever after stumbling into a magical poppy field? This is partly based on science, as the opium extracted from poppies is a sedative6
California Poppy tea won’t knock you out cold, but it can ease mild to moderate anxiety.7 Clearing your mind with a cup of this tea can help once your head hits the pillow.
English Breakfast tea (or any black teas)
A staple in many homes, English Breakfast tea is a popular blend of several black tea varieties. Tea drinkers anecdotally report indulging in a cuppa to de-stress after a long day, but black teas may actually help with stress recovery8. This makes a good Secret Santa present for a frazzled co-worker or boss!
As with any vitamin or supplement, it’s important to speak with your doctor regarding possible side effects or interactions with medications that may be caused by drinking a particular tea. You may also need to stop drinking some teas leading up to surgery.
The sleepvantage Team
Ehrlich SD. “Lemon Balm” University of Maryland Medical Center. 2 January 2015. 01 October 2015.
Cases J, Ibarra A, Feuillere N, Roller M, Sukkar, SG. “Pilot trial of Melissa officinalis L. leaf extract in the treatment of volunteers suffering from mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances.” Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. December 2011; 4(3): 211-218.
Hanus M, Lafon J, Mathieu M. “Double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a fixed combination containing two plant extracts (Crataegus oxyacantha and Eschscholtzia californica) and magnesium in mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders.” Curr Med Res Opin, 2004;20:63-71.
Steptoe A, Gibson EL, Vounonvirta R, Williams ED, Hamer M, Rycroft JA, Erusalimsky JD, Wardle, J. “The effects of tea on psychophysiological stress responsivity and post-stress recovery: a randomised double-blind trial.” Psychopharmacology. 2007; 190:81-89.