8 Energizing Herbal Teas That Will Wake You Right Up—Without a Speck of Caffeine

Photo: Stocksy/Sonya Khegay
Whether it's in the morning to get us mentally prepared for the work day ahead or during the afternoon as the urge to take a nap hits hard, we all need our go-to energizing drink. Many (of course) tend to turn to caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea (hi, oolong tea benefits), but sometimes, caffeine may not be the answer—especially if you find yourself feeling too jittery or anxious after consuming it.

The good news is that tons of types of herbal tea for energy without caffeine that offer naturally energizing compounds that may help improve your focus and alertness. “Herbs work to support your energy levels by providing nourishment where your body needs it most,” says Charley Berdat-Aaeryamo, an herbalist and tea expert. "Herbs are made up of antioxidant-rich phytochemicals that work synergistically to have a beneficial effect on the body. This can include boosting our energy reserves among other things, like fighting inflammation," she adds.

Experts In This Article

But it's not just about the energy-boosting compounds found in herbal tea that can bring mental clarity. "The mere ritual of making a morning cup of tea or other non-caffeinated drink can also be energizing, considering it gives you something smoothing to look forward to,” says registered dietitian Abbey Sharp, RD, creator of Abbey’s Kitchen. “If you find caffeine from coffee gives you a jolt of energy or anxiety that leads to a crash later, switching to a caffeine-free option may help to boost your energy naturally.” After all, the simple act of brewing tea is considered meditative and restorative by many cultures, and there is no doubt that pausing from work (or any draining activity) to do so can help you regain focus.

So what are the top types of herbal tea for energy to add to your beverage rotation? Keep reading for a list from the experts, as well as a few of our favorite brands.

Herbal tea for energy and clarity

According to our findings, we've discovered that there are several teas that help improve cognitive function. This includes options such as peppermint, ginger, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, gotu kola, ginseng, and ginkgo. Ahead we delve into the science of why each of these teas are ideal for boosting clarity and energy without a lick of caffeine. Plus, these herbal options also make the cut for best tea for longevity, and some are additionally potent anti-inflammatory teas. *Mic drop.*

8 types of herbal tea for energy to try

1. Peppermint tea

Peppermint isn’t only for the holidays—this herb may help boost alertness, according to Sharp. “Peppermint is a really popular tea for digestion, but it can also help improve your mood and cognitive functioning,” highlights Berdat-Aaeryamo. “When you make peppermint tea and smell the lovely aromas, it’s [one way] to help improve mental clarity and curb fatigue.”

Although there are no studies on peppermint tea specifically, peppermint essential oils have been found to enhance memory and increase alertness. In another study, researchers found that peppermint oil capsules had a positive impact on cognitive function, with participants experiencing increased focus during cognitive testing.

2. Ginger tea

Ginger is a warming herb that offers various health benefits, from soothing indigestion to bolstering your immune system. But ginger extract has also been shown to enhance attention and cognitive processing capabilities in some populations.

This is largely due to the fact that ginger may help improve circulation in the body, allowing for more oxygen to get to our tissues and diffuse blood flow all over the body. “With more oxygen coming into our body and getting to our tissues, this can supply you with more energy,” says Berdat-Aaeryamo. Ginger tea is also super easy to make—all you need is fresh ginger and hot water—but you can also purchase ginger tea blends at your local grocery store or tea shop.

3. Lemon balm tea

Looking for more healthy morning drinks? Lemon balm tea tastes and looks like a ray of sunshine. Lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb in the mint family that’s been associated with improved mood and cognitive function. “Lemon balm tea may help enhance cognitive performance,” says Sharp. "In one study, participants that ingested lemon balm performed better on computerized tasks than those who didn’t." Lemon balm offers a citrusy flavor with hints of mint that tastes delicious with raw honey or agave syrup.

4. Rosemary tea

Rosemary is an herb that’s a member of the mint family and native to the Mediterranean. According to Berdat-Aaeryamo, rosemary can help increase cognitive performance and improve your memory, focus, and alertness. “Rosemary has been shown to help improve blood circulation, and its antioxidant properties can help neutralize free radicals [that can damage healthy cells],” she says. While there is currently no research on rosemary tea, one study found that healthy young adults that inhaled rosemary aroma for four to 10 minutes before a mental test reported improved concentration, performance, and mood. On that note, if you're looking for another herbal tea packed with antioxidant properties, you may want to check out thyme tea benefits and brew a batch.

5. Sage tea

This powerful herb may also enhance cognitive activity and protect against neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. According to Berdat-Aaeryamo, sage is a brain-boosting herb and may increase oxygen circulation all through your body. “Sage is also used quite extensively for its estrogenic effects and can help women suffering from fatigue related to menopause,” she adds. In one small study, postmenopausal women between the ages of 46 to 58 received capsules of sage extract every day for four weeks. It was concluded that sage was effective in changing the severity of some menopausal symptoms, including fatigue.

6. Ginseng tea

Ginseng is a well-known herb that’s often used in various energy drinks for its energy-boosting properties. “Ginseng is an adaptogen that may enhance physical performance, which is used often by athletes for that reason,” shares Berdat-Aaeryamo. One small study examined how single doses of 200 or 400 mg of ginseng impacted mental performance and fatigue before and after taking a 10-minute mental test. (FYI, the 200 mg dose proved to be more effective at improving mental performance and fatigue during the test than the 400 mg dose.) Berdat-Aaeryamo recommends drinking ginseng tea in the morning as opposed to the evening, as it can have an overstimulating effect and impact your sleep.

7. Gotu kola tea

Gotu kola, also referred to as the “herb of longevity,” is a popular herb used in traditional Chinese, Indonesian, and Ayurvedic medicine. “Gotu kola is often said to bring balance to the brain and can support normal mental alertness,” shares Berdat-Aaeryamo. “It’s also an herb that’s used to help with meditation since it can help you focus.” In a study that looked at the effects of gotu kola on subjects who had strokes, researchers found the extract could be effective in improving cognitive function.

8. Ginkgo tea

Ginkgo is considered one of the oldest species of tree in the world. Although there are mixed reviews as to whether or not ginkgo can improve cognitive function, the herb’s ability to promote good blood circulation to the brain leads some researchers to believe it may help improve one’s ability to perform everyday tasks.

Shop our favorite brands that offer herbal tea for energy

Buddha Teas — $7.00

“Buddha teas are really great because they offer individual teas versus exclusively tea blends, and have almost any type of herb available,” says Berdat-Aaeryamo.

Rishi Tea (for 2.82 ounces) — $17.00

Rishi Tea offers deliciously fresh organic teas in the form of tea bags or loose leaf. The rich aromas of the turmeric ginger option will wake you right up.

Traditional Medicinals — $6.00

Traditional Medicinals can be found at your local grocery store, and has plenty of organic tea blends to choose from. “My personal favorite is the organic peppermint tea with a splash of almond milk creamer,” says Berdat-Aaeryamo.

Berdat-Aaeryamo also suggests checking out your local herb store (if you have access to one) to find exactly what you need. “You can discover the background of the herbs and where it’s sourced from,” she says. You’ll also be supporting a local business, which is always a plus.

On the flip side, if you're looking for something to help you sleep, these options relaxing herbal teas will help do the trick.

BTW, do you get tea headaches? You may have an intolerance or sensitivity.

This herbal tea recipe will help prep you for a good night's rest:

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.
  1. Moss, Mark et al. “Modulation of cognitive performance and mood by aromas of peppermint and ylang-ylang.” The International journal of neuroscience vol. 118,1 (2008): 59-77. doi:10.1080/00207450601042094
  2. Kennedy, David et al. “Volatile Terpenes and Brain Function: Investigation of the Cognitive and Mood Effects of Mentha × Piperita L. Essential Oil with In Vitro Properties Relevant to Central Nervous System Function.” Nutrients vol. 10,8 1029. 7 Aug. 2018, doi:10.3390/nu10081029
  3. Saenghong, Naritsara et al. “Zingiber officinale Improves Cognitive Function of the Middle-Aged Healthy Women.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2012 (2012): 383062. doi:10.1155/2012/383062
  4. Prasad, Sahdeo, and Amit K Tyagi. “Ginger and its constituents: role in prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal cancer.” Gastroenterology research and practice vol. 2015 (2015): 142979. doi:10.1155/2015/142979
  5. Scholey, Andrew et al. “Anti-stress effects of lemon balm-containing foods.” Nutrients vol. 6,11 4805-21. 30 Oct. 2014, doi:10.3390/nu6114805
  6. Moss, Mark, and Lorraine Oliver. “Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma.” Therapeutic advances in psychopharmacology vol. 2,3 (2012): 103-13. doi:10.1177/2045125312436573
  7. Lopresti, Adrian L. “Salvia (Sage): A Review of its Potential Cognitive-Enhancing and Protective Effects.” Drugs in R&D vol. 17,1 (2017): 53-64. doi:10.1007/s40268-016-0157-5
  8. Dadfar, Fereshteh, and Kourosh Bamdad. “The effect of Saliva officinalis extract on the menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: An RCT.” International journal of reproductive biomedicine vol. 17,4 287–292. 28 May. 2019, doi:10.18502/ijrm.v17i4.4555
  9. Reay, Jonathon L et al. “Single doses of Panax ginseng (G115) reduce blood glucose levels and improve cognitive performance during sustained mental activity.” Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England) vol. 19,4 (2005): 357-65. doi:10.1177/0269881105053286
  10. Farhana, Kun Marisa et al. “Effectiveness of Gotu Kola Extract 750 mg and 1000 mg Compared with Folic Acid 3 mg in Improving Vascular Cognitive Impairment after Stroke.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2016 (2016): 2795915. doi:10.1155/2016/2795915

The Wellness Intel You Need—Without the BS You Don't
Sign up today to have the latest (and greatest) well-being news and expert-approved tips delivered straight to your inbox.
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

Loading More Posts...