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Spearmint Tea and PCOS: Does it have significant benefits?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition associated with a variety of symptoms that can greatly affect quality of life. Among these, hirsutism is particularly distressing for many people living with PCOS.

Among the many treatments and remedies touted for PCOS, spearmint tea has been growing in popularity as a suggested natural alternative. It is purported to have benefits for managing PCOS, particularly regarding its influence on excessive hair growth for people living with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Investigations into spearmint tea have sparked interest within the PCOS community, as this herbal beverage is said to possess anti-androgenic properties. Such properties could potentially help to reduce symptoms like unwanted hair growth, a key concern for those affected by PCOS.

So let’s dive in and see the link between spearmint tea and PCOS.

Key Takeaways

  • Spearmint tea is considered a natural remedy with potential anti-androgenic effects for managing PCOS symptoms.
  • Further scientific research is required to substantiate the claims of spearmint tea’s efficacy in reducing hirsutism in PCOS.
  • The consumption of spearmint tea should be approached with an awareness of proper dosage and an understanding of potential side effects.

What is Spearmint Tea?

Spearmint, also known as Mentha spicata or Mentha spicata labiatae, is a sweet, aromatic herb distinct from peppermint. 

Spearmint tea is a herbal tea made from the leaves of the spearmint plant, an evergreen originating from Europe and Asia. Rich in carvone, this herbal beverage is now consumed worldwide. It is brewed into a tea from either fresh or dried spearmint leaves. Spearmint tea, which you can purchase online or in stores will be made from dried leaves in tea bags or left loose for easy brewing.

Spearmint tea is sweeter and smoother than peppermint tea, and it is caffeine-free, ideal for evening consumption. Many teas have been considered potential remedies for PCOS including green tea, marjoram tea, cinnamon tea and spearmint tea.

Potential Health Benefits of Spearmint Tea

Spearmint tea may offer various health advantages, particularly regarding hormonal balance:

  • Anti-androgenic Properties: Regular consumption can lead to decreased levels of androgens, potentially alleviating symptoms related to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), like hirsutism and acne.
  • Hormonal Regulation: Increases in luteinising hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone have been observed, suggesting a favourable influence on hormonal health.
  • Antioxidant Content: The presence of flavonoids and phenolic compounds such as rosmarinic acid implies that spearmint tea might possess antioxidant effects which may lower inflammation.
  • Acne Mitigation: Due to its potential anti-androgen effects, spearmint tea could contribute to managing hormonal acne by regulating skin oil production.

Spearmint Tea and PCOS Research

A small study in Turkey found that twenty-one people with hirsutism (of which twelve people had PCOS) had a significant decrease in levels of free testosterone and an increase in luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone and oestrogen.

Similarly, a 30-day randomised controlled trial was carried out with forty-two volunteers who drank spearmint tea twice a day for one month and found that free and total testosterone levels were reduced.

As of writing this article, these are the only two studies on the effect of spearmint tea on PCOS. There is some evidence to suggest that spearmint tea could have anti-inflammatory properties, and significant anti-androgen effects (i.e. lower high androgen levels). But, in conclusion, more, higher quality research is required to understand the impact of this tea on PCOS symptoms.

Spearmint Tea Dosage for PCOS

Within the literature participants in the studies took two cups of spearmint tea a day. If you choose to take spearmint tea, enjoy it as part of your daily routine. There is no best time to drink it but perhaps have one cup of spearmint tea in the morning and one in the evening to spread the dosage throughout the day.

Side Effects of Spearmint Tea

Drinking spearmint tea may offer relief for symptoms related to hyperandrogenism, such as irregular hair growth. It is typically safe when consumed in standard amounts of 2-3 cups daily. However, certain side effects have been noted with excessive consumption:

  • Skin reactions: High intake could lead to skin issues like hives and rashes.
  • Gastrointestinal distress: May cause stomach upset in larger doses.
  • Allergic Reactions: Cease intake immediately upon signs of an allergic reaction.

You should always approach herbal remedies with caution, as their long-term effects are not always fully explored. If you enjoy the flavour and tolerate spearmint well, it might have a positive impact on your symptoms of PCOS. However, for those who experience adverse effects upon drinking spearmint tea, it is advised to discontinue use immediately and seek medical advice.

Who Shouldn’t Consume Spearmint Tea?

Spearmint tea is generally safe, yet not advisable for all. You should consult your healthcare provider before consumption if you have underlying health issues or are on prescribed medications that might interact.

For pregnant individuals, spearmint tea is generally considered safe but it may be worth seeking medical advice before beginning to take regularly.

Peppermint vs Spearmint Tea for PCOS

Although these mint teas have a similar flavour, peppermint tea contains a higher menthol content making the flavour more pronounced.

In terms of PCOS, peppermint tea hasn’t been shown in the research to help with symptoms of PCOS. Spearmint tea has potential androgen-reducing properties, which may help with PCOS symptoms like hirsutism, alopecia, acne and oily skin.

Where to Buy Spearmint Tea in the UK

It can be challenging to find 100% spearmint tea in the UK. Pure spearmint tea (i.e. one that hasn’t been mixed with other mints like peppermint) can be hard to come by.  In the UK, most supermarkets do not carry 100% spearmint tea, so it may be more helpful to buy it online from retailers. Scroll down for our top 3 best spearmint teas for people with PCOS.

Remember, spearmint tea isn’t guaranteed to help with your PCOS symptoms. Although, if you enjoy drinking mint tea then a couple of cups of spearmint tea a day may be worth a try.

Palanquin Spearmint Herbal Tea (40 Bags)
£6.35
  • Dried spearmint leaves
  • Caffeine free
  • 40 tea bags
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
06/14/2024 12:50 pm GMT
Teapigs Christmas Limited Edition Sweet Spearmint Herbal Tea
  • Dried spearmint
  • Plastic-free packaging
  • 10 tea bags
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Simpli-Special Moroccan Spearmint Tea
£7.95
  • 100% Moroccan spearmint tea
  • Loose tea
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
06/14/2024 12:56 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s answer your frequently asked questions about spearmint tea.

Does it have to be 100% spearmint tea?

To properly replicate the studies on speamint tea in managing symptoms of PCOS, individuals should consume 100% spearmint tea. The tea’s specific properties, which could be diluted in blends containing other herbs, contribute to its potential benefits.

How long does spearmint tea take to work?

The timeframe for experiencing the benefits of spearmint tea can vary. Research has suggested that some changes, such as reduced testosterone levels, may be observed after drinking spearmint tea twice daily for a period of 30 days. We recommend trying spearmint tea for a few months unless you have any side effects.

Do I have to drink spearmint tea or can I take spearmint capsules or spearmint oil?

Spearmint tea is not the only form in which one can ingest spearmint. Capsules and spearmint essential oil are alternatives to spearmint tea. We currently do not have evidence regarding the effect of spearmint extract, spearmint capsules or spearmint oil on PCOS. More research is needed.

Can I drink cold spearmint tea?

Yes, spearmint tea can be consumed cold and may still offer the same potential health benefits as when it’s served hot but more evidence is needed.

Can spearmint tea contribute to hormonal balance in PCOS?

Spearmint tea is linked to hormonal balance in PCOS by potentially lowering androgen levels such as testosterone.

What are the benefits of spearmint tea for managing hirsutism?

Studies suggest that spearmint tea may reduce hirsutism by decreasing testosterone levels, which can lead to lesser hair growth in areas where PCOS sufferers might not want it.

Is there a difference in the effects of spearmint and peppermint tea on PCOS symptoms?

Yes, there can be a difference. Spearmint tea has been studied specifically for its potential to lower testosterone levels, whereas peppermint tea has not been linked to the same extent for managing symptoms of PCOS.

How does spearmint tea influence oestrogen levels?

The research is inconclusive on how spearmint tea may influence oestrogen levels, although its potential to reduce testosterone is noted in some studies.

Is it safe to consume spearmint tea during menstruation?

There is no evidence to suggest that spearmint tea is unsafe to consume during menstruation, but as with any dietary change, it is wise to consult with a healthcare provider.

Will spearmint tea help with facial hair?

Regular consumption of spearmint tea may help in managing facial hair growth associated with hirsutism in PCOS.

What are the disadvantages of drinking spearmint tea?

Spearmint tea is generally considered safe. However, some individuals may experience side effects such as:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Heartburn or digestive issues when consumed in large amounts
  • Possible interactions with medications

Consult a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment. Every individual is different.

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Alex Okell ANutr Founder and Editor

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.

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