Lettuce tea is exactly what it sounds like: a few leaves of lettuce steeped in boiling water. It might not seem like the most appetizing beverage, but fans across social media claim it can help induce sleep.
We’ve certainly written about some surprising brews before, like tea made from banana or onion peels. Still, the idea of sipping lettuce flavored warm water had us scratching our heads. Like most trends these days, the idea started making the rounds on TikTok. Many users who suffer from insomnia said the tea worked better than chamomile and basically described it as a magical sleep elixir.
Some science backs them up, too. An animal study from 2017 focused on romaine lettuce because it has a higher level of lactucin — an antioxidant phytonutrient known for its calming effects — than other types of lettuce. Researchers said it helped to “protect from the oxidant stress caused by sleep disturbance” and could be “an interesting and valuable source of sleep [inducing] material.”
Another study from 2019 found that lettuce extract improved animal subjects’ ability to fall asleep and their sleep duration. On top of the beneficial antioxidant properties, researchers added that it promoted GABA function. This amino acid plays an important role in our nervous system and is often taken in supplement form to ease anxiety and insomnia.
However, it’s important to keep in mind both studies were small and observed mice rather than humans. They also involved high concentrations of lettuce extract rather than the minimal amount we’d get from brewing a few leaves in a tea.
Still, there should be no harm in trying it out if even a small amount of lettuce’s calming effect can rub off on you before bedtime. Just be sure to thoroughly wash your produce before steeping it. There doesn’t seem to be a particular recipe or recommended amount of lettuce to use, but adding three or four leaves to a cup of boiling water should suffice. Some TikTok users also suggested combining it with other teas like peppermint to improve the flavor. It’s probably a good idea to take the lettuce out after it’s had time to brew so it’s easier to sip, too.
Even if it’s just a total placebo effect or simply the ritual of brewing a warm beverage that helps us snooze, it’s all worth it for a good night’s sleep!