Caffeine, Tea, and Mental Health: Known Side Effects and Moderation

Caffeine is a stimulant that is found in tea. As tea drinkers, we might sometimes consume so much of it to the point of it having a negative effect on our life. Different side effects might occur if we consume more than the recommended amount of caffeine:

  • jitteriness/restlessness
  • insomnia
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • rapid heart rate
  • dehydration
  • frequent urination.[1]

While there are many causes to the above side-effects it is important to note that, when it comes to tea, these side-effects can really be mitigated when we reduce our consumption of tea and/or drink it at the appropriate time. Some teas such as our Houji-Genmaicha do not contain much caffeine at all as it is a roasted tea that is partially mixed with roasted rice pieces. Some people say that the aroma of this tea and actually helps them wind down at the end of the day and helps them sleep.

The humble Houji-Genmaicha

It is also quite important to consider the kind of tea you are drinking, where it was sourced from, etc. Drinking poor quality tea can result in some not-so-good side effects as well. “Poor quality” might include teas that, for example, were sprayed with pesticides or weed killers in an effort to maximize tea production. Such tea might be labelled “GREEN TEA” in large containers with little to no information about the producer and will most likely be inexpensive. The tea will not only taste slightly off or flat but might also not “feel” clean when consumed; you might experience heart palpitations, stomach aches, headaches, and feeling that you’ve consumed something your body didn’t agree with.

One of our contracted gyokuro producers serving up so wakoucha for Den-chan on a winter day.

All of this is not to say that you should never consume tea ever again. Of course, if your primary healthcare provider has told you it is not a good idea then it might be best to listen to their advice. Otherwise, it would not hurt to moderate our tea consumption. In fact, restraining ourselves and not consuming so much tea can help us appreciate the times when we actually do consume tea.

Maybe, most importantly, we can adopt a positive attitude when brewing and drinking tea, like how we might use the refreshing and uplifting nature of tea to serve our friends, family, and community. This gives tea drinking a higher purpose then just trying to grasp at some fleeting pleasure. Then, we can really appreciate tea as a tool to help us relax and therefore improve our ability to communicate with others. Treating tea not as a end but a means can improve the experience of drinking tea.

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[1] “Caffeine.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Accessed 11 Mar. 2024.