The Old Wives Were Right: Tea Is Good For Stress

Remember in those old movies where the hero or heroine would undergo a trauma or suffer a terrible shock and some motherly type would step in with the classic line: “How about I go put the kettle on?” The next scene would demonstrate the apparent miraculous qualities of tea to perk up our hero or heroine (it was usually a woman) and step back into the fray again.

But this merely echoed what was going on in everyday homes in everyday neighborhoods. No matter whether a house caught fire, a child was sick, or an aging parent died, the catch-cry was a familiar one: “How about a nice cup of tea?”

Well, it turns out the old wives club were right yet again. Tea, that is, black tea, is a excellent stress reduction tool. Sure it looked like making a pot of tea was just a means of distraction, but now researchers at University College London have discovered that people who regularly drink black tea are better about to manage everyday stressors than those who drank coffee or other popular beverages.

The study carried out by researchers who were interested in the possible healing benefits of tea consisted of recruiting healthy subjects and asking them to drink four serves of black tea per day for a period of six weeks. A control group did not drink tea at all but kept to their normal diet.

At the end of the six week study both groups were subjected to stressful situations and monitored for their bodily response to that stress. Cortisol, a hormone excreted as a response to stress, was used to determine stress levels in each respective group.

It was found that the tea-drinkers had lower levels of cortisol in their blood after undergoing the laboratory-induced stress. So it would appear that drinking black tea is a valid remedy for stress and shock, and that our grandmothers were right! A nice cup of tea has now definitely earned its place in the stress reduction hall of fame.

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