If you’ve seen anyone recommending spearmint tea for PCOS, you’re probably wondering if it’s really all it’s cracked up to be.
If you’re new here, hi! I’m Alyssa, a registered dietitian who specializes in PCOS. I also have PCOS so trust me when I say, I get it! My goal is to deliver research-backed nutrition info to make it easier for you to manage your PCOS symptoms.
This blog post will dive into what the research says about the health benefits of spearmint tea for PCOS. We’ll also talk about how much spearmint tea you should be drinking, the best time to drink it, and other treatment options if you don’t like the taste of spearmint.
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Is Spearmint Tea Good For PCOS?
Mentha spicata Labiatae, more commonly known as spearmint, is a perennial plant. The spearmint leaves are used to make spearmint tea. This herbal tea is frequently discussed in the PCOS community for its significant anti-androgen effects…but is it worth it?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects an estimated 6-12% of women of childbearing age in the United States. This hormonal imbalance is linked to insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, and high androgen levels (aka male hormones such as high testosterone levels).
Common symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, infertility, weight gain, cravings, hair loss, hirsutism (aka excessive hair growth such as unwanted facial hair growth), and acne.
Okay, back to the task at hand: is spearmint tea good for PCOS? Let’s dive into the research.
Lower Testosterone Levels
High levels of androgens, such as testosterone, are usually the culprit for many PCOS symptoms like hair loss, hirsutism, and hormonal acne. Spearmint tea has been shown to be able to significantly reduce testosterone levels and hirsutism specifically.
One randomized controlled trial explored the effects of spearmint tea in those with PCOS. This 30-day study randomized 42 women with PCOS into two groups: one group received 2 cups of spearmint tea daily, while the control group received a placebo tea daily. By the end of the study, PCOS women reported less hirsutism and there had been a significant reduction in free and total testosterone levels (1).
Another study looked at the impact of spearmint tea on androgen levels in women with hirsutism. This study had participants drink 2 cups of spearmint tea daily during the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle. The results found that spearmint tea caused a significant decrease in free testosterone levels (2).
Imagine a tea being able to lower your unwanted hair growth, hair loss from your scalp, and acne?! Pretty amazing, right?
Blood Sugar Levels
Up to 80% of women with PCOS also have insulin resistance, which can cause symptoms such as weight gain and carb cravings. Maintaining balanced blood sugar levels is crucial for lowering insulin resistance.
Animal studies have shown that spearmint can lower blood sugar levels and have an anti-diabetic effect (3). This is great news considering almost half of those with PCOS will go on to develop type 2 diabetes by the age of 40.
Other Hormone Levels
Studies have also shown that spearmint tea can increase follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels.
An animal study found that the combination of spearmint and flaxseed extract improved endocrine function and reduced the number of ovarian follicles. There was also a rise in progesterone levels, and a decrease in testosterone and estradiol levels (4).
Some research suggests that spearmint extract may improve cognitive function and attention span (5). This is especially interesting considering women with PCOS tend to have higher rates of ADHD symptoms (6).
Spearmint also has anti-inflammatory properties because of its rich antioxidant content including polyphenols and flavonoids (7). Since chronic low-grade inflammation is a common driving force in PCOS symptoms, this can be especially helpful.
For a full list of anti-inflammatory foods, check out this blog post: Anti-Inflammatory Foods List PDF.
The Best Spearmint Tea For PCOS
Now that we’ve discussed the many health benefits of spearmint tea, is there one that’s better than the other? Let’s discuss!
There are two ways to consume spearmint tea: either loose leaf tea or a pre-packaged tea bag. If you have the ability to choose between these two, loose leaf may be a better option. While pre-packaged tea bags are convenient, these typically contain microplastics, which are linked to endocrine disruption and hormone imbalances (8).
The Best Spearmint Tea Brand For PCOS
This is my favorite organic spearmint tea bag option.
How To Drink Spearmint Tea
Spearmint tea can be enjoyed either hot or cold…it all comes down to personal preferences! If you prefer to drink cold or iced tea, I’d recommend steeping the tea in hot water then adding ice cubes or transferring it to the fridge for a while to cool.
Best Time To Drink Spearmint Tea
Since spearmint tea doesn’t have any caffeine, you can enjoy it at any time of the day. One study did experiment with consuming spearmint tea during a woman’s follicular phase, so this may be an ideal time to incorporate it. However, it likely will give the most benefits to work this tea into your daily routine and simply drink it everyday.
How Much Daily Spearmint Tea For PCOS?
Drink two cups of spearmint tea daily to get the full potential benefits of this minty drink.
What About Spearmint Capsules For PCOS?
If you don’t love the taste of spearmint, capsules may be a good alternate option. This is my favorite brand for spearmint capsules.
Who Shouldn’t Drink Spearmint Tea?
Like almost anything else, there are some people who should limit or not consume spearmint tea because of its potential side effects.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, have liver disease or kidney disease, or are taking certain medications, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider first.
The Bottom Line
Spearmint has an anti-androgenic effect that may have a positive impact on symptoms for PCOS patients.
Two cups of spearmint tea may be a good complement to a healthy diet and lifestyle changes if you struggle with hirsutism and high androgen levels, specifically high testosterone levels.
It can be consumed either hot or cold. Loose leaf spearmint tea may be a better option if that’s available to you.
Disclaimer: this is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice for polycystic ovary syndrome, or any other medical condition. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized medical advice and recommendations.