The typical British person's solution to any disaster, whether they are a textile care professional or not, is to have a cup of tea, and the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has done nothing to change that. In fact, the national obsession with tea could actually be doing us good in the crisis, according to the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP).

Stress, anxiety and worry may be dominating your life right now, but just pop the kettle on and brew a cuppa, says TAP dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton and GP advisor, Dr Gill Jenkins.

A new study published in the scientific journal, Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, has discovered that a natural substance found in tea, called L-theanine, improves our ability to manage stress and anxiety. The study analysed the results from nine separate studies looking at the effects of L-theanine in human subjects under stressful conditions. Significant improvements in stress handling, anxiety and mood were seen when L-theanine was compared with a placebo (dummy).

Dr Ruxton notes: “We all know that putting on the kettle and sitting down to a comforting mug of tea is one of the best ways to feel calm and in control. However, this is due to much more than our love of a traditional cuppa – there’s a lot of science in there. Both black and green teas contain polyphenols – plant compounds that help increase the flow of blood to the brain. This brings much-needed oxygen and nutrients when we are under stress.

“There’s a little boost of comfort and wellbeing in each mug of tea that can help us manage stress and anxiety during these trying times.”

So, when things get too much, whether in lockdown or at work, reach for the kettle…