This article explores the subject of using green tea’s calming compound, L-Theanine, for anxiety relief.
Anxiety is a very personal issue for those who suffer from it. It may be difficult to predict when your anxiety level will rise and interfere with everyday activities and enjoyment of life. If you are experiencing anxiety, it is important to find a source of effective, safe relief.
The pharmaceutical industry has gone to great lengths to reinforce the belief that the best anxiety treatment is prescription medication. While some severe and chronic cases of anxiety may be best remedied with medication, many individuals are able to find relief without a prescription.
History of L-Theanine
L-Theanine is an amino acid commonly found in tea leaves (Camellia sinensis), but is present in higher concentrations in green tea than black. It is also found naturally in the edible Boletus badius mushroom, which is found in the late summer and fall in the United States.
The calming effects of green tea have been well-known for hundreds of years. The compound L-Theanine was discovered in Japan in 1949, and scientists there proved the link between the amino acid and the calming effect it produces.
The origins of brewing green tea began in ancient China. Tea has a long history in China, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam for a variety of uses, including bleeding and wound control, treating fever, regulating blood sugar, and helping digestion.
A book titled Tea Classic, written by Lu Yu of China sometime between 600 and 900 AD, during the Tang Dynasty, describes the methods of preparing and enjoying green tea. In 1191, How To Stay Healthy By Drinking Tea was written by a Zen priest named Eisai, which detailed the beneficial effects green tea has on one’s organs. The medicinal properties of green tea mentioned include being a natural stimulant, preventing fatigue, relieving thirst, helping digestion, as well as helping with alcohol symptoms. It is believed that green tea allowed Buddhist monks to sit in meditation for hours while remaining calm and alert.
L-Theanine as an Alternative for Anxiety Relief
There have been a number of studies that link L-Theanine with reduced anxiety levels.
Researches in the Department of Psychiatry at The Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology set out to determine if L-Theanine had any psychological benefits. Their study found that when subjects took L-Theanine, they did, in fact, report decreased anxiety levels. The complete study can be viewed here.
Another significant study was conducted by the Laboratory of Nutritional Biochemistry of the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at Japan’s University of Shizuoka. The researchers concluded L-Theanine reduces anxiety and lowers the blood-pressure in adults who respond to stress with higher blood pressure rates. The complete study can be viewed here.
These are only two examples of the numerous studies that have connected L-Theanine with anxiety relief. Drinking green tea throughout the day is one way to benefit from low levels of L-Theanine, but taking a natural supplement containing L-Theanine is the most effective way to generate a strong anxiety-reducing effect.