Herbal teas have been used for centuries to treat a variety of health conditions. So it’s no surprise that the idea of PCOS teas are making the rounds across the internet lately too.
So if you’re a tea lover, you may be wondering if there really are any health benefits of tea or what the best teas for PCOS may be. This blog post will discuss 5 PCOS teas and potential health benefits.
If you’re new here, hi! I’m Alyssa, a registered dietitian who specializes in PCOS – I also have PCOS too! My goal is to make PCOS less overwhelming for you and to provide you with realistic, research-backed strategies to manage your symptoms.
This post may contain affiliate links.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that causes metabolic and hormonal imbalances. This common condition affects approximately 1 in 10 women of reproductive age and frequently leads to metabolic syndrome.
In order to know which teas are the best for you, you’ll first need to determine what PCOS symptoms you’re looking to get relief from and why they’re happening.
Common symptoms of PCOS include:
Most women with PCOS tend to have some degree of insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, and/or high androgen levels causing their symptoms.
I’ll get into more detail about each tea below, but here’s my favorite teas for PCOS at a glance:
Mentha spicata Labiatae, aka spearmint, has long been discussed in the PCOS community for its significant anti-androgen effects. In all seriousness, spearmint tea may be the most popular PCOS tea talked about.
The research has included very small sample sizes but the results actually support its use!
One study wanted to look at the impact that spearmint tea would have on androgen levels in women with hirsutism. It showed that 1 cup of spearmint tea twice per day in their follicular phase resulted in a significant reduction in free testosterone levels, and an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and estradiol.
Another study completed in women with PCOS specifically showed that two cups of spearmint tea per day resulted in a significant decrease in hirsutism, free and total testosterone levels, and an increase in FSH and LH versus a placebo group (1).
Two cups of spearmint tea may be a good complement to diet and lifestyle changes if you struggle with hirsutism and high androgen levels, specifically high testosterone levels. You may want to be cautious if you have high LH levels at baseline.
This one has long been regarded as a healthy beverage option. Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is a polyphenol and catechin. EGCG plays an important role as an antioxidant and may help to reduce inflammation.
Two recent meta-analyses looked at the research regarding green tea and PCOS specifically. They found that green tea extract led to reductions in body weight, free testosterone levels, fasting blood sugar levels & insulin levels. Despite green tea being known to have anti-inflammatory properties, no change in serum inflammatory markers (hs-CRP, TNF-α, IL-6) were seen. (2, 3)
It’s important to note that these studies have been conducted using green tea extracts, rather than the green tea drink that you sip on. Green tea extract is a concentrated source of green tea, usually in tablet or pill form..
That’s not to say that drinking green tea isn’t a good choice, but you likely won’t see the same results as quickly and possibly not to the great extent as the studies using green tea extract did.
In my opinion, this is the best green tea option.
Another tea option that has shown potential benefits in those with PCOS is marjoram tea.
One small study showed that drinking 2 cups of marjoram tea daily for one month improved insulin sensitivity and significantly decreased DHEA-S, an androgen produced in the adrenal glands.
Marjoram tea may be helpful especially for someone who has PCOS and elevated DHEA-S levels.
Cinnamon isn’t just a tasty flavor addition to some of your favorite foods. It’s also a research-backed approach to actually help improve your PCOS symptoms.
A systematic review shows that cinnamon supplements led to significant reductions in fasting blood glucose levels, fasting insulin, insulin resistance, and cholesterol levels. It also led to positive effects on menstrual regularity and more ovulatory cycles (6, 7).
Again, similar to green tea, the studies that show positive benefits used cinnamon supplements rather than cinnamon tea. Cinnamon tea may still have some of these health benefits though.
Nevertheless, adding cinnamon in your diet is an easy way to get these beneficial effects. Simply add some cinnamon to your smoothie, oatmeal, yogurt, sweet potatoes, or coffee for added flavor and health benefits.
Ginger has long been regarded as a remedy for upset stomach and nausea. Animal studies have shown that ginger extract (not ginger tea) led to lower fasting glucose, insulin, and androgen levels, as well as weight loss (8).
The following teas have shown numerous benefits for overall health in research studies, however, they have not been credibly studied in PCOS specifically. This doesn’t mean they may not be beneficial for PCOS, it just means that according to current research, we don’t know the exact benefits yet.
Other Teas That May Be Beneficial For PCOS:
As a PCOS dietitian who also has PCOS, of course I was interested to try teas as a way to supplement my diet and lifestyle efforts to manage my own PCOS symptoms.
I decided I’d try spearmint tea, since the research was so strong and I actually am a big mint fan.
My thoughts? Pretty impressive! After about 2 months of drinking spearmint tea nightly I noticed that I didn’t have to pluck those pesky chin hairs as frequently as before. I was able to go several days in between which may seem small but it does wonders for my mental health.
This is the spearmint tea I used.
The good news: different types of tea can be helpful in managing PCOS symptoms.
The bad news: they likely won’t make a big difference if you’re not also addressing diet and lifestyle factors also.
There’s favorable research for spearmint tea and marjoram tea for PCOS.
Green tea extract, cinnamon, and ginger supplements have shown impressive results in the research. The drinkable tea versions of these will likely help PCOS symptoms, however, you may not be able to expect a huge difference in a short amount of time by drinking their tea.
This is for educational purposes only and should not be used as medical advice. This information is not intended to be used to evaluate, diagnose, or treat polycystic ovary syndrome or its associated symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider for personalized medical advice.
Learn the most common nutrition mistakes I see women with PCOS making and what to do instead!