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Calming Tea

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"Nanny always said sweet tea is the thing for frayed nerves. Don't know why it has to be sweet, I couldn't tell you."
Lady Violet, Downton Abbey

Since the earliest days of its introduction, tea has been known for its health benefits and is used in traditional Chinese healthcare as a cure for various ailments. One of tea's most obvious health benefits is to soothe frazzled nerves and keep stress and anxiety at bay. This calming effect is primarily attributed to theanine, an amino acid that studies have found to directly influence the central nervous system to relax the mind and improve alertness.

Thus, a person facing a stressful or traumatic experience (or just plain nervous jitters) might drink tea to ease their nerves and clear their minds enough to hopefully deal with the situation and move forward with better judgment and clarity.

Compare Hot Drink Cure, where hot tea (or any other fluids) is used to ease physical rather than mental conditions. See also Comfort Food, Drowning My Sorrows, and Heartbreak and Ice Cream for other instances of characters eating and drinking to deal with negative emotions.

Contrast Must Have Caffeine and Klatchian Coffee, where caffeine is used to stimulate activity. Compare and contrast I Need a Freaking Drink, where someone facing a difficult situation tries to get wasted instead.

See also Brits Love Tea, as the calming effect of the drink apparently contributes to the stereotypical British Stiff Upper Lip.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Case Files of Jeweler Richard: Seigi takes very quickly to Richard's royal milk tea and even makes it for himself in his own apartment when he needs calm and comfort.
  • Maki from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is a big fan of tea, with it being implied that she drinks it to help soothe her constant love problems. Her second focus chapter even has Ishigami offer her passion flower tea specifically because the high alkaloid content makes it a good anti-depressant.
  • Moriarty the Patriot: In the wake of Sherlock's presumed death, Ms. Hudson takes to milk tea to bring herself comfort, a habit which Mycroft also adopts to ease his grief.
  • My-HiME: In episode 2, as Mai is being interrogated by Haruka about the "crop circle" she created, Reito suggests everyone calm down and offers Mai a cup of tea for that purpose. An incensed Haruka snatches it away from Mai and drinks it herself.

    Fan Works 
  • The Kedabory Verse:
    • In Healin' Good 💖 Host Club, Mori makes ginger tea for a sick Honey.
    • In he sees your dreams, Julieta heals Bruno's fever with some peppermint tea.
    • In the Punch-Out!! fanfic Ma Fille, Joe offers Narcis some ginger tea to make him feel better when he expresses reluctance to come back to the ring after throwing up during a match the previous day.
  • The MLP Loops: At one point a visiting Iroh manages to de-nightmare Nightmare Moon with a cup of tea. Judging by his reaction, this hadn't actually been the plan. Nor had Luna going slightly catatonic from the sheer serenity.

    Films — Animation 
  • Encanto: At one point, Camilo hands Pepa a cup of tea when she's nervous about the house breaking down. She accidentally zaps him with some lightning from a cloud above her and this causes him to rapidly shapeshift.
  • Turning Red: When Ming believes Mei got her first period (when in reality it’s actually her red panda transformation surfacing), she sends her to school with some herbal tea to help her daughter calm down and to help ease potential cramps. Once she gets to class, Mei stops to take a drink of it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Cradle of Fear, Melissa spends the day seeing demonic faces all over the streets. She visits her friend Nikki and explains the story, who then offers her a cup of tea to calm down.
  • Hook: Subverted. After the kids are kidnapped, Wendy tells Moira to make tea for everyone, stating it's the English way of calming down. She really just wants to be alone with Peter to tell him about his past, and who he really is: Peter Pan.

  • A Boy Made of Blocks: After Alex is laid off, the secretary Jeanette keeps trying to cheer him up by making cups of tea.
  • Geronimo Stilton: In the Thea Stilton spin-off, Violet's "secret" is that she likes to unwind by listening to classical music and drinking green tea.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the zoo director makes Mrs. Dursley a cup of sweet tea to calm her nerves after the vanishing glass incident.
    • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Ron offers to make Hagrid tea after he tells them about Buckbeak's prosecution, saying that's what his mum does when anyone is upset.
    • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Professor Moody invites a distressed Neville to his office after the Unforgivable Curse lesson in order to make him some tea. Subverted since this later turns out to be a pretense for Barty Crouch Jr., disguised as Moody, to plant to idea of Neville assisting Harry in the second task. It's possible he used the lesson to trigger Neville on purpose, since he himself was the one who cast an Unforgivable Curse on Neville's parents and caused them to go insane.
  • Joel Suzuki: In Fable of the Fatewave, after Seaberry has one of her panic attacks, Fireflower makes her some warm tea.
  • In The Mermaid's Mirror, Lena's mom responds to most problems by making a cup of hot, milky tea. Lena has to admit that she feels better after drinking it.
  • Portrait in Sepia: In protagonist Aurora's own words, how she deals with awkward moments: "In our family we serve tea when a situation is slightly uncomfortable, and since I feel self-conscious almost all the time, I serve a lot of it. That beverage has the virtue of helping me steady my nerves."
  • Sunshine: When Rae kills a hostile vampire, the friendly SOF agents who talk her out of a breakdown and interview her make sure to get her a cup of good tea first. When she's better grounded, they graduate to single-malt scotch.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon will often offer a hot beverage, usually tea, if someone is feeling down. He considers it non-optional.
  • In Breaking Bad Lydia Rodarte-Quayle's signature drink is chamomile tea with soy milk and stevia sweetener. Subverted in that the tea does not seem to help the high-strung Lydia relax. If anything, it shows her as rigid and inflexible; it must be chamomile and the sweetener must be stevia. Walter White takes advantage of her predictability to switch a stevia packet with ricin.
  • Discussed in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when Giles is drinking coffee because "Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense."
  • Downton Abbey: The characters' go-to solution whenever something bad happens is to offer tea.
    • Your estranged wife suddenly appears to ruin any sliver of happiness you might have had. Have some tea.
    • Sorry, you'll never walk again. Tea?
    • Mary points this out when she first discovers Sybil and Branson's relationship and says, "What do you think would happen, you'd marry the chauffeur and you'd invite us over for tea?"
  • Parodied in Monty Python's Flying Circus. A filmed quickie showed John Cleese as the BBC announcer, getting increasingly furious about Communists until he's just screaming incoherently and throwing his microphone...and then immediately calms down when his wife calls him for tea.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: When Dr. Bashir has a surprise meeting with Enabran Tain, The Dreaded former head of the Cardassian Secret Police, Tain serves him a nice cup of Tarkalean tea to put him at ease — and to show that he knows Bashir's precise drink order.
  • Strike (2017): Robin drinks tea to calm herself after finding a severed leg in her mail.
  • Whitechapel: The standard response to any traumatic experience. In fact, in the finale episode of series three, the mother of a recently dead serial killer asks for a cup of tea from the nearby policemen on duty. As soon as they're gone, she uses their absence to murder her son's final targeted victim.
  • Years and Years: In episode one, Muriel shakily makes tea when an emergency broadcast announces that Trump has launched a nuclear missile at China.

  • Implied with "Right Said Fred" by Bernard Cribbins; verses each describing a fruitless attempt to move an item of furniture that simply refuses to budge mostly end with the following pair of lines, and the ones that don't still describe a tea break:
    We was getting nowhere
    And so we had a cuppa tea

    Video Games 
  • 80 Days: Often Passepartout is called upon to brew some tea for his master, which usually serves to calm him in otherwise stressful situations.
  • In Hidden City, the player meets Isabelle for the first time after rescuing her from an anomaly attack. She's so tired/shaken after the ordeal that she could hardly speak, but gets much better after the player gives her some hot sweet tea, allowing her to tell her story without any trouble.
  • My Cafe:
    • Alluded in "Home Smart Home" story. After barely surviving an encounter with robbers, Koffsky asks the player what is the best thing to calm down nerves, and the answer options are "tea", "sweet stuffs" and "good music". The "correct" answer is actually "good music", which in-story signifies his reconciliation with his former housemate and musician Clyde, but he acknowledges that tea does indeed help calm down if the player picks that option.
    • In one of the limited event quests, Watson tries to borrow Elsa's profile to gain access to a high-society club to solve a case. Elsa agrees, but when Watson reveals that she has to physically infiltrate the club, she starts to panic. Watson has to calm her down with mint tea before she can proceed.

  • Lies Within: When Lys is Welcomed to the Masquerade after his first encounter with the supernatural, Faraday brews a pot of tea to help him relax. Lys isn't interested, not least because Faraday keeps dodging the issue of Lys' new case of Demonic Possession.
    Lys: Jesus, you're still fucking around with me?
    Faraday: It's good tea, that's all. Very calming.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Studies prove that herbal teas such as chamomile tea help ease anxiety and depression.