Tea-riffic herbal teas for sleep, anxiety, digestion and more

Tea-riffic herbal teas for sleep, anxiety, digestion and more
Cosy up with the best herbal teas from Pukka Herbs, Tea Pigs, Tropical Sun, Kettle Leaf, Natur Boutique, Hot Tea Mama

As a nation of tea drinkers there’s nothing we like better than putting the kettle on. But for anyone trying to keep an eye on their caffeine intake, this can be troublesome.

Decaf black teas often just don’t cut it, and so many of the high street herbal varieties can be underwhelming. Lucky for you we’ve tested enough teas to fill an entire emporium and can confirm that there are some real gems out there waiting to transform your tea time.

From the most mellow mint to the sprightly fruity floral blends and even some cheeky low-caffeine black and green teas thrown into the mix, we feel sure our list of herbal teas will have something to brighten your day.

Whether you’re up for the (slight) faff of loose-leaf, prefer the convenience of an individual bag, or you fancy something to perk you up of an afternoon or are in need of some emotional or physical support from your herbs, read on to discover which teas deserve a place in your tea caddy.

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The best herbal teas for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Pukka Joy: £2.99 for 20, Pukkaherbs.com
  • Best for sweet tooths – Wellfinitea Organic Green: £16.99 for 10, Wellfinitea.co.uk
  • Best for refreshment – Bird & Blend Mojitea: £5.60 for 15, Birdandblendtea.com
  • Best sleepy tea – NaturBoutique Passionflower: £2.99 for 20, Naturboutique.co.uk
  • Best tea for an energy boost – Teapigs Energy Brew: £3.99 for 15, Teapigs.co.uk
  • Best herbal rooibos – PekoeTea Highland Rooibos: £7 for 50g, Pekoetea.co.uk
  • Best mint tea – Kettle Leaf Artisan Tea Emporium Mint Burst: £5.50 for 50g, Kettleleaf.co.uk
  • Best for pregnancy and hormones – Hot Tea Mama Morning Rescue: £6 for 15, Hotteamama.com
  • Best for digestion – Tropical Sun Sorrel & Ginger: £1.60 for 20, Tropicalsunfoods.com
  • Best for relaxation – Be-oom Persimmon Leaf: £13.50 for 30g, Be-oom

Pukka joy

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Pukka teas are all organic, made from painstakingly sourced herbs that have been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries and blended by master herbalist Sebastian Pole. There are many, many excellent teas to choose from in the Pukka tea wardrobe – from wondrous blends to the best quality therapeutic herbs to treat and soothe all manner of ills. But today, we’re all about the new joy blend.

Caffeine and tea-free, this uber-lemony herbal blend contains zesty lemon balm leaf, lemongrass, lemon verbena leaf, lemon vana, tulsi leaf, lavender and rose flowers and vibrant essential oils all tempered with just a hint of liquorice. The result is an uplifting, sunny cuppa with just enough calming properties to balance your mood. All Pukka teas are plastic-free and come in a recyclable envelope to seal in the herbs and oils freshness.

Wellfinitea organic green

Best: For sweet tooths

Rating: 6/10

This tea is misleadingly named, as it contains no green tea at all. Instead, this tea harnesses the benefits of organic gymnema and pandan – two shrubs with a long history of traditional use in Ayurveda to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This tea is great for anyone with a sweet tooth as while it tastes incredibly sweet – thanks to the addition of Stevia, the natural sugar substitute – its therapeutic ingredients also work to help block sugar cravings. It also prevents any sugar that is consumed being absorbed fully by the intestine.

These herbs are also a natural source of antioxidants, iron, vitamin C and free from caffeine. Enjoy it freely throughout the day (hot or cold) for general enjoyment and a wellbeing boost. We like the refreshing, green herbal flavour which is earthy and slightly menthol but the sweetness will surprise anyone who isn’t a sugar fan. We thought the price was high, too, but it reflects the fact each bag can be used five-eight times in one day.

Bird & Blend mojitea

Best: For refreshment

Rating: 9/10

We tried about a dozen of Bird and Blend’s wonderful blends, which are so extensive and diverse that there is sure to be a tea to suit every mood or malaise. Eventually though, we settled firmly on the zingy Mojitea as our standout winner.

This herbal tea is actually a tea, as its main ingredient is a deliciously mellow Chinese green tea which is then blended with peppermint, dried lime, lemongrass and lime leaves to create a thirst-quenching cuppa. We loved the subtle mint flavour tempered by the tropical lime and lemongrass and if you think you don’t like green tea (we don’t) then this is a revelation.

Bird and Blend’s teas are largely in a loose-leaf format and have clever individual pouches you can decant into. However, this particular tea also comes in individually wrapped plastic-free eco-friendly tea bags – be gentle, when opening as our bag split. This tea is also delicious cold-brewed and enjoyed in the sun; who needs rum anyway?

Natur Boutique passion flower

Best: Sleepy tea

Rating: 7/10

We’ve all struggled to drift off to sleep at some point, but regular members of the wide-awake club may like to consider a tea to help instead of the standard “milky drink” suggestions. Valerian and chamomile are commonly used, but you may not have thought to try passion flower tea.

Passion flower is an exotic vine that has traditionally been used as a relaxation aid across the Americas thanks to its mild sedative properties, and today studies back up this anecdotal usage. A double-blind placebo-controlled trial in adults with mild fluctuations in sleep quality found participants reported significantly better sleep quality than when drinking a placebo tea.

This, from Natur Boutique is the only single ingredient passion flower tea we have found. It comes in bags that are simply steeped for a few minutes to make a mild-tasting tea that tastes just generically “herbal” rather than having a standout flavour. It’s certainly worth a try for some shut-eye, we think.

Teapigs energy brew

Best: For an energy boost

Rating: 8/10

If you rely on your afternoon latte a little too much, this could be a good alternative. Teapigs yerba mate tea is made to give a natural energy boost – the South American way. Yerba mate is drunk all over Argentina where it is hailed as a magic tea thought to support metabolism and help mental focus. Though not a tea in the real sense, as it does not come from the tea plant, the yerba mate leaf shares many of tea’s benefits: it’s high in antioxidants and contains caffeine so will perk you up but in a gentler, more sustainable way.

Teapigs energy brew comes in their usual tea “temple” form (they were the first company to have certified plastic-free tea) and is brewed for three minutes or more to give a smooth, smoky, green taste that’s a bit like a cross between green tea and Lapsang Souchong. It’s polarising – mostly due to the harsh aroma – but the flavour on drinking is smooth, melodious and rejuvenating.

PekoeTea highland rooibos

Best: Herbal rooibos

Rating: 9/10

PekoeTea began as an Edinburgh market stall, growing today into a global tea importer, tea shop and blending factory in the historic port of Leith. The family-owned business source single estate teas from some of the best growers in the world before blending them by hand in-house for their customers.

Each blend is made from scratch and inspired by their Scottish heritage: this Highland Rooibos was inspired by the highly fragrant lavender and native berries growing across the Highlands in summer. Rooibos tea can taste, shall we say “challenging”, but this tea is on another level. PekoeTea’s version is a thoroughly elegant tea using fine South African rooibos tea expertly blended with rosehips, lavender rose, blueberries, currants and raspberry leaf.

This tea really does smell like a summer breeze and tastes like a strawberry cake-filled afternoon tea. Gently sweet and perfectly harmonious, this tea feels like a real treat to drink and would be lovely as part of a fancy afternoon spread; the more ceremony the better. It is available in bag format but we’d stick with the loose-leaf for best effect.

Kettle Leaf artisan tea emporium mint burst

Best: Mint tea

Rating: 9/10

Kettle Leaf is a small artisan tea company based in Cambridge borne out of a husband-and-wife team’s shared passion for tea. They source high-quality teas, herbs and whole leaves from across the world to make delicious, refreshing loose-leaf blends that are a pure pleasure to drink.

We really like the mint burst blend which uses American peppermint and spearmint leaves alongside pretty blue cornflower for a subtle yet sumptuous and heady cup of mint tea. Sometimes mint teas can taste a little grassy and too “green”, but this is so mellow and chilled you’re sure to love it. All of Kettle Leaf’s ingredients and packaging are sourced in an eco-friendly, ethical way as possible too.

HotTea Mama morning rescue

Best: For pregnancy and hormones

Rating: 8/10

The two women behind HotTea Mama combined their experiences and expertise of motherhood and tea to bring a range of teas to market aimed at supporting women at different stages of their reproductive life. From PMS to pregnancy stages and right through to the menopause, there is a very tasty but thoroughly therapeutic tea to accompany you.

We thought the morning rescue – which is designed to combat morning sickness – was utterly delicious. Uplifting and zingy, this award-winning blend of whole lemon verbena, lemon balm, African mint leaves with lemongrass and root ginger pieces is soothing on the stomach and good enough to drink even if you’re not suffering. Using three types of lemon-based ingredients, this tea allows the anti-inflammatory citrals to really come through and help reduce nausea, while the traditionally used ginger does its thing. Whole leaves release fewer tannins so as not to aggravate churning stomachs, and each plastic-free, biodegradable bag can be used two-three times to take you through the whole morning.

Tropical Sun sorrel & ginger

Best: For digestion

Rating: 7/10

Independent family-owned food brand Tropical Sun specialise in food and drink from what they call “sunshine countries” and are on a mission to bring the tropics into our homes. And their tropical teas are certainly a good place to start. This sorrel and ginger variety is a tasty infusion of sorrel (also known as hibiscus) and ginger root in a tea bag format that is brewed for two-five minutes for a refreshing, juicy and sun-drenched hot drink.

Drunk across the Caribbean and Americas, sorrel tea’s traditional usage is as an anti-inflammatory, digestif and immune booster. But it’s also a delicious – and often celebratory – drink simply because it tastes so good (it boasts a Great Taste Award, after all). The addition of ginger is great for digestion and gives a welcome brightness and warming spice, but this tea is good to drink any time of day. We also found their fennel tea to be just as sweetly smooth and high quality as teas many times the price.

Be-oom persimmon leaf tea

Best: For relaxation

Rating: 9/10

Be-oom became London’s first Korean tea house when it opened on Exmouth Market last March. Founded by Korean tea connoisseur and wellness enthusiast, Sooji Im, its tranquil tea house and garden celebrates the independent, creative café culture of Korea. All while showcasing the many natural, organic teas they hand-sourced from some of the oldest tea-growing families in the country.

Londoners will enjoy Be-oom’s workshops on tea blending and an introduction to Korean tea, but happily the loose-leaf teas can be shipped in bags or pretty caddies and enjoyed nationwide in the tranquillity of your own home. We like the handpicked persimmon leaf which is naturally sweet with notes of caramel and hazelnut and delivers a deliciously meditative, calming cup of tea. Best sipped slowly using your best ceramics as you watch the leaves unfurl luxuriously.

The verdict: Herbal teas

We were spoilt for choice with all these incredible teas, but we’re opting for Pukka’s new joy tea as our winner. With impeccable eco and ethical credentials, this tea also manages to be at once utterly delicious and widely therapeutic, delivering a cheerful, balancing herbal tea just bursting with citrus and floral flavour.

An honourable mention also goes to the truly beautiful Be-oom persimmon leaf tea, which turns the everyday notion of tea drinking into something special with their pretty packaging and fine quality herbs.

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