The invitation to “have a nice cuppa” might seem kindly but unscientific advice after a stressful event. But researchers have found proof that black tea does have an effect on stress hormone levels in the body.

A study found people who drank tea were able to de-stress more quickly than those who drank a fake tea substitute.

Vanilla Black Tea with Pods

Vanilla Black Tea with Pods

Those who drank a black tea concoction four times a day for six weeks were found to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood after a stressful event compared with a control group who drank a placebo.

The study, by researchers at the University College, London, and published online in the journal Psychopharmacology, divided 75 male tea drinkers into two groups and monitored them for six weeks.

They all gave up normal tea, coffee and caffeinated drinks. One group was given a fruit-flavoured caffeinated tea mixture made up of the constituents of an average cup of black tea. The other was given a caffeinated placebo identical in taste but devoid of the active tea ingredients.

All the drinks were tea-coloured, but were designed to mask elements such as the smell, taste and familiarity of the brew, to eliminate factors such as the comforting effect of drinking a cup of tea. Both groups were subjected to “challenging” tasks, while their cortisol, blood pressure, blood platelet and stress levels were measured.

“Drinking tea has traditionally been associated with stress relief,” said Professor Andrew Steptoe, of the college’s department of epidemiology and public health. “However, scientific evidence for the relaxing properties of tea is quite limited.

“This is one of the first studies to assess tea in a double-blind placebo controlled design; that is, neither we nor the participants knew whether they were drinking real or fake tea.”

(By Sydney Morning Herald, October 2006)
Article URL: http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/stressed-put-the-billy-on-the-boil/2006/10/08/1160246011124.html

 

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