Spearmint Tea May Be Able to Help Your PCOS Symptoms

Spearmint tea has been shown to have anti-androgen properties, which can help balance high levels of testosterone. Testosterone is an androgen found in both sexes — in women, it’s produced in skin and fat cells, adrenal glands and ovaries, and plays a role in reproductive and overall health. High levels of the hormone can lead to oily skin, acne, excessive facial hair, and blood sugar problems, and can affect the menstrual cycle. It’s also linked to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which affects more than 1.4 million Canadian women.

There are many medical treatments for high testosterone levels, but spearmint tea has a history of being used as herbal remedy in the Middle East for women with excessive have growth, and has been gaining attention for its potentially helpful properties.

We talked to Nadine Khoury, a registered dietician at NAD Nutrition in Toronto, and Erica Nikiforuk, a naturopathic doctor at White Lotus Clinic in Toronto, to see what they think.

What are the benefits of drinking spearmint tea?

Spearmint tea is an herb with ample antioxidant and nutritional benefits, says Khoury. She and Nikiforuk say it’s great for the digestive tract, making it an easy at-home remedy for an upset stomach, indigestion, bloating, nausea, gas, IBS, or feelings of being overly full after a meal. What’s more, it can even give your brain a boost, says Khoury, as “it can reduce stress and improve memory.”

(Related: 8 Herbal Teas With Unbelievable Health Benefits)

What causes testosterone fluctuations?

High testosterone in women is caused by medical conditions such as Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), Hirsutism, and, most commonly, PCOS. But women who are going through menopause may also see fluctuations in their testosterone levels. “They stop ovulating, meaning they’re not getting rises in estrogen,” says Nikiforuk, “so testosterone, specifically, could be relatively higher.”

Who might benefit from drinking spearmint tea?

While Khoury doesn’t recommend specifically spearmint tea to her patients, she often suggests they incorporate herbs and spices into their diets to regulate hormones. “I look at the diet as a whole, so it’s not about adding one ingredient or removing one ingredient,” says Khoury. She also encourages her patients to eat whole, pesticide-free foods, which includes eating more vegetable, nuts, seeds, fish, and healthy fats.

Nikiforuk sometimes recommends spearmint tea to her patients with PCOS, “as they’re typically the ones who have high levels of androgens—specifically, DHEA and/or testosterone,” she says. One to two cups of spearmint tea a day could help with “things like acne, hair loss, and hirsutism [unwanted facial hair growth], and regulate the menstrual cycle.” But not all women with PCOS have high DHEA or testosterone, she notes. A simple blood test can determine if a patient’s androgen levels are considered too high, and therefore if spearmint tea is worth trying.

(Related: Can You Really Manage PCOS Symptoms With Diet?)

Is there anything else to know before drinking it?

With all these benefits, you may be wondering why shouldn’t someone drink it? First of all, it can be a trigger for heartburn and acid reflux, says Khoury. Second, some people won’t benefit from lower levels of testosterone. “Having just one cup probably wouldn’t be harmful,” says Nikiforuk, but if you’re looking for a type of tea to drink regularly, she suggests reaching for peppermint or chamomile instead.

Any efforts to alter hormone levels should be done in consultation with a doctor, and include regular bloodwork. “Those hormones do offer benefits for us, so we don’t want to drive them completely down,” says Nikiforuk.

Next: Why You May Want to Start Drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea This Year

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