Drinking one kind of tea will sharpen your mind, sipping another will dull it. That’s what British (of course) researchers found in a recent study they presented at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Nottingham.
In the randomized study, 180 senior citizens where given peppermint tea, chamomile tea or hot water. Before they started sipping, they completed questionnaires relating to their mood. After a 20-minute rest, the participants completed tests that assessed their memory and a range of other cognitive functions. After that, they completed another mood questionnaire.
Researchers from North Umbria University analyzed the results and found that the peppermint tea significantly improved long term memory, working memory and alertness compared to both chamomile tea and hot water. Their results echo a Swiss study that found that green tea extract enhanced working memory.
On the other hand, chamomile tea significantly slowed memory and attention speed compared to both peppermint and hot water.
"It's interesting to see the contrasting effects on mood and cognition of the two different herbal teas,” Mark Moss, PhD, Head of the Psychology Department at North Umbria University, said in a release from the British Psychological Society. The enhancing and arousing effects of peppermint and the calming/sedative effects of chamomile observed in this study are in keeping with the claimed properties of these herbs and suggest beneficial effects can be drawn from their use."