Curious about the best tea for PCOS symptom management? Although tea won’t cure your PCOS (PCOS cannot actually be cured!) different types of the delicious drink may have benefits specific to PCOS and your reproductive health. We’ve deep-dived into the scientific evidence to create this ultimate resource on the best tea for PCOS – so keep reading!
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine condition affecting approximately 6-13% of people assigned female at birth. It has many associated symptoms including irregular periods, acne, oily skin, alopecia and hirsutism. PCOS cannot be cured but symptoms can be managed through medication, supplements, nutrition and other lifestyle changes.
What is tea?
Tea is a popular beverage made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, native to East Asia. Its origins date back to ancient China over 5,000 years ago. It is prepared by steeping the plant’s dried and processed leaves in hot water, resulting in a diverse range of flavours and types, such as green, black, oolong, and white tea.
Throughout history, tea has played a significant cultural and social role in many societies, with various traditions and rituals associated with its consumption. Today, tea is enjoyed worldwide for its diverse taste profiles and health benefits by many people.
Can tea help PCOS symptoms?
There are some teas which appear to be beneficial for PCOS due to their potential effect on hormones like testosterone and/or insulin. We discuss the evidence of different teas on PCOS symptoms below.
It is important to remember that although some teas may offer potential benefits for PCOS management, they are not a “cure” or a magic bullet. Tea should not be used as a replacement for medication or health advice from a professional but instead could be used in addition to medicine, supplements, nutrition and lifestyle changes for effective PCOS management.
9 teas for PCOS: origin, benefits and evidence
PCOS teas include spearmint, dandelion root, green, cinnamon, chamomile, peppermint, ginger, turmeric, and liquorice root tea. Let’s break down the evidence and understand whether these teas actually benefit people with PCOS by improving symptoms.
Spearmint tea is a tea made from the leaves of the spearmint plant. It is sweeter and smoother than peppermint. Several studies have suggested that spearmint tea may exhibit anti-androgen effects. It is hypothesised to do this by reducing androgen levels while simultaneously increasing the production of “female” hormones like luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These effects could potentially contribute to the reduction of specific PCOS symptoms, including hirsutism (excessive hair growth), oily skin, acne, and alopecia.
>> Read more | The benefits of spearmint tea for PCOS
Like black and oolong tea, green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. But, it has been minimally processed which retains a more earthy flavour and a higher concentration of certain beneficial compounds including catechins than oolong or black tea. In regards to PCOS, a 2017 study found that green tea may have a significant effect on insulin levels and testosterone levels in people with PCOS. But, the study was small so more, higher quality evidence is required.
Cinnamon tea is a comforting and cosy drink that can be easily prepared in the comfort of your own home using water, cinnamon sticks, and a sweetener of your choice. There are many potential benefits of cinnamon for PCOS including improving insulin levels, reducing AMH levels, improving menstrual regularity and improving cholesterol levels. More research is needed to understand the link between PCOS and cinnamon but the evidence is promising.
>> Read more | Cinnamon for PCOS: benefits, uses and dosage
Dandelion root tea
Dandelion root tea is an herbal drink crafted from the dried roots of the widely found dandelion plant (Taraxacum officinale). Although dandelions are commonly regarded as weeds in gardens, their roots have been used for years in traditional medicine and culinary practices.
Dandelion root tea has been hypothesised to silence the SIRT1 gene which may improve PCOS symptoms by preventing mitochondrial membrane damage in ovarian granulosa cells and hepatic (liver-specific) cells. This is merely a hypothesis at this point and more research is required specifically in people with PCOS – but the evidence so far is interesting!
Chamomile tea is an herbal drink made from the dried flowers of the chamomile plant. It has a mild, sweet and floral flavour. It is naturally caffeine free and often touted for its benefits for sleep and relaxation. As people with PCOS tend to suffer from poor sleep and fatigue, it could be a helpful addition to your diet.
Plus, a 2015 study on type 2 diabetics found that drinking chamomile tea significantly decreased HbA1c levels, serum insulin levels and HOMA-IR levels. This indicates it may be beneficial in reducing insulin resistance, a symptom and driver of PCOS. We require more PCOS-specific studies to understand the impact of drinking this tea on PCOS symptoms.
Peppermint tea is an herbal drink made from the dried leaves of the peppermint plant. Taste-wise, peppermint tea is known for its strong, crisp, and menthol-like taste. In regards to PCOS, peppermint tea doesn’t necessarily have specific benefits but it is known to be soothing for the digestive system.
Ginger tea is an herbal drink made from the underground stem of the ginger plant. To make ginger tea, you can peel and slice or grate fresh ginger or use dried ginger root. You then steep the ginger in hot water to make tea.
Ginger contains many phenolic compounds, mainly gingerols, shogaols, and paradols. These contribute to its potential health benefits such being antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. A 2022 study found that ginger supplementation decreased FSH and LH levels in people with PCOS, but more ginger tea-specific studies are required to conclusively recommend ginger tea for PCOS.
Turmeric tea, also known as turmeric infusion or golden milk, is an herbal drink made from the root of the turmeric plant. Turmeric contains curcumin which is known as an anti-inflammatory. As PCOS is a condition associated with chronic inflammation, turmeric may improve symptoms of PCOS. But what does the evidence say?
A 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis found that curcumin has beneficial effects on serum markers of inflammation and glucose and lipid metabolism. We need more studies specifically on turmeric tea for PCOS, but these results are promising.
Liquorice root tea
Liquorice root tea is an herbal infusion made from the dried root of the liquorice plant, scientifically known as Glycyrrhiza glabra. Interestingly, PCOS mice studies have found that liquorice may decrease the amount of ovarian cysts and improve the fertilisation rate of oocyte and embryo development. Of course, as these are mice studies we need more human evidence – but it is an interesting pilot study.
What is the best tea for PCOS?
There are so many different types of tea with varying benefits for PCOS. Our best tea for PCOS is spearmint tea as some studies have shown that you can drink just two cups per day and see reductions in your symptoms such as hirsutism and total testosterone levels. Learn more about spearmint tea in our benefits of spearmint tea for PCOS article.
Best tea for PCOS FAQs
Have questions about the best tea for PCOS? We have answers!
Do I need to drink tea hot for the benefits?
There doesn’t seem to be any evidence to suggest that drinking cold tea reduces its efficacy but more research is needed.
I don’t like tea, can I take the herbs in capsule form instead?
One systematic review and meta-analysis found that tea supplements improve fasting blood glucose and fasting insulin levels in people with PCOS. They looked at a range of different teas as supplements including spearmint and green. Truly, we don’t have enough evidence to understand whether taking the herbs in capsule form gives the same benefits as in tea form but the results so far look promising.
How many cups per day of tea can help with symptoms?
The amount of tea necessary for consumption depends on the type of tea. We advise enjoying a cup or two of your chosen tea daily, but if you are able to, discuss dosage with a nutrition provider.
What should I drink if I have PCOS?
If you enjoy tea then you may choose to drink spearmint or green tea for example. But, there are plenty of drinks you can enjoy if you have PCOS. We have an entire article dedicated to drinks for PCOS with more information.
Key takeaways: best tea for PCOS
For all of the teas mentioned in this article, more research is required to conclusively advise their use for PCOS. We also need more evidence to understand the most beneficial dosage of these teas. But, drinking tea is usually low-risk and low-cost, so if you enjoy a certain type of tea then it may be worth continuing to drink it to see if it does improve your symptoms of PCOS.
Founder and Editor | Registered Associate Nutritionist
Founder of Be The Collective LTD [The PCOS Collective & The Endo Collective] Alex Okell ANutr is a London-based reproductive health nutritionist with experience in research, private practice and digital media. She holds a Master’s degree in Nutrition from King’s College London and has co-authored papers with the University of Cambridge, King’s College London, The Food Foundation and the Food Standards Agency. Alex offers 1:1 PCOS support in our virtual PCOS clinic.