benefits of spearmint

Benefits Of Spearmint Leaf: Medical Properties & Side Effects

Spearmint leaf is a versatile herb with wide-reaching medicinal benefits. With its natural, refreshing aroma and multiple therapeutic properties, spearmint leaf has long been used in Ayurveda for treating various ailments. Rich in essential oils and minerals, this fast-growing herb can be easily cultivated and prepared in several forms to enrich your health regimen. In this blog post, we will explore the numerous benefits of Spearmint leaf, including medical properties and possible side effects. Stay tuned to understand better how this compound can support overall health!

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What Is Spearmint?

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) is a perennial herb from the mint family Lamiaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia, but now it can be found growing all over the world. The benefits of Spearmint are traditionally used as a flavoring agent in cooking and beverages and for its medicinal properties. Spearmint leaves are rich in essential oils such as carvone, limonene, dihydrocarvone, 1,8-cineole, and a minimal amount of menthol, which give it its distinctive refreshing scent. These compounds also contribute to the herb's therapeutic benefits.

What Benefits Of Spearmint?

Female Health Overall

benefits of speartmint for women overall health

Spearmint contains compounds that can help regulate hormones in the body, making it beneficial for women's health. It is known to have anti-androgenic properties, which means it can reduce the level of male hormones (androgens) in women with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This herb may also aid in promoting regular menstrual cycles and reducing symptoms associated with menopause.

In addition to these benefits of Spearmint, it can also help with other female health concerns, such as hirsutism (excessive hair growth), acne, and hormonal imbalances.

PCOS Benefits An Reducing Facial Hair

spearmint may help with PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a prevalent endocrine disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by small cysts in the ovaries, hormonal imbalances, and irregular menstrual cycles. Research has shown that Spearmint can effectively reduce PCOS symptoms such as excess hair growth, facial hair, and irregular periods.

A study combining spearmint and flaxseed extract found significant improvements in the endocrine and morphological characteristics of the ovaries in the "T" group compared to the PCOS group [2]. Additional effects observed were reduced body weight and testosterone levels, increased estrus, and reduced ovarian cysts and atrophy in PCOS mice treated with spearmint extract [3].

Another review study, which assessed the effects of Spearmint on PCOS, concluded that spearmint tea could be beneficial in managing symptoms related to elevated androgen levels [4]. However, the study noted that a longer treatment duration is required to evaluate the effectiveness of spearmint tea on hirsutism [4].

A 30-day study on 42 PCOS patients using spearmint tea twice a day observed a significant decrease in free and total testosterone levels. However, there was no substantial change in the evaluation of hirsutism [1]. The study also concluded that Spearmint has anti-androgenic effects, but further in-depth studies are needed to evaluate its effectiveness for PCOS [1].

Managing Diabetic Symptoms

Spearmint leaf may manage diabetic symptoms

Spearmint has shown significant potential in managing symptoms associated with diabetes, a chronic health condition characterized by high blood sugar levels. The herb's ability to positively influence diabetes is mainly ascribed to its strong antioxidant properties and its compounds that aid in controlling blood sugar levels.

A study investigating the biological activity of two types of mint, powdered peppermint, and Spearmint extracts, found notable inhibitory effects on key enzymes related to type 2 diabetes (α-glucosidase) and blood pressure (angiotensin-converting enzyme, ACE) [5].

In another study, Spearmint was administered to normal mice at 20 mg/kg of body weight, resulting in improved glucose tolerance. This study focused on the benefits of Spearmint in diabetes induced by streptozotocin [6].

Additionally, the study highlighted the presence of several beneficial compounds in Spearmint, including polyphenols, flavonoids, anthraquinones, tannins, saponins, sterols, glycosides, glycosides, terpenoids, and reducing sugars [6].

Furthermore, a study conducted on Iranian Mentha Spicata Leaves Aqueous Extract in diabetic mice observed effects such as reduced blood glucose levels, lower blood cholesterol, and antioxidant properties when mice were given Spearmint at a dosage of 300 mg/kg of body weight for 21 days [7].

Antimicrobial And Antioxidant

antimicrobial and antioxidant spearmint's properties

Spearmint possesses important properties that contribute to its numerous health benefits, including antioxidant and antimicrobial activity. A study conducted in Pakistan titled "Chemical Composition, and Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activities of Essential Oil of Spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) From Pakistan" identified antimicrobial activity against four bacterial strains:

Staphylococcus aureus (causes staph infection), Escherichia coli (causes diarrhea and infection), Bacillus subtilis (a probiotic), and Pasturella multocida (causes pneumonia), as well as five fungal pathogenic strains [8].

Another study published in the Journal of Microbiology Research corroborated these findings, highlighting the inhibitory effects of Spearmint on various microbial strains, including Candida albicans (which cause fungal and skin infections).

Notably, Spearmint demonstrated its strongest effects against E. coli [9]. These findings underscore the significance of Spearmint essential oil and Spearmint in general as an antimicrobial, antiseptic, and preservative agent [9].

Furthermore, a study by Ram Swaroop Verma and colleagues demonstrated that the decanted essential oils of Spearmint were rich in monoterpene and sesquiterpene hydrocarbons compared to the recovered essential oils. Both types of Spearmint in the study also exhibited antimicrobial activity against five bacterial strains [10].

Furthermore, an examination of the chemical makeup and antioxidant attributes of essential oils derived from peppermint, native Spearmint, and scotch spearmint produced favorable findings for Spearmint.

These results included free radical scavenging activity, reduction of Fe3+, minimized lipid peroxidation, and maximum cellular antioxidant activity (CAA) observed at levels of 100 µg/mL and 25 µg/mL for Spearmint, indicating enhanced endogenous antioxidant defense [11].

Benefits of Spearmint For Digestive Health

Several studies have examined the benefits of Spearmint on digestive health, specifically addressing issues like nausea, bloating, and indigestion. Spearmint essential oil, mainly carvone, has effectively alleviated bloating associated with indigestion, postoperative discomfort, and menstrual cramps.

It has also been found to reduce pain during endoscopy or menstrual cramps. Research indicates that M. spicata could benefit gastrointestinal conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) [12].

Moreover, when consumed orally, spearmint leaves stimulate pancreatic lipase and intestinal mucosal lipase activity while also enhancing intestinal amylase activity [13].

Good For Liver Health

Spearmint is good for liver health

Spearmint (M. spicata) can have both positive and negative effects on the liver, depending on its use and dosage. Numerous studies have shown the remarkable effectiveness of M. spicata in promoting liver health.

In a group of mice, consuming M. spicata extract resulted in improvements in disorders such as oxidative stress, increased white blood cell count, and decreased red blood cells. These improvements can be attributed to the extract's antioxidant activity and ability to protect the liver against nicotinamide-induced damage [14].

Furthermore, the analysis of liver cells in Wistar mice revealed a recovery of various antioxidant enzyme activities, providing further support for the therapeutic effects of Mentha spicata in traditional medicine [15]. This highlights the importance of M. spicata and its potential in promoting liver health.

Anti-Androgen Properties and Hormonal Balance

Multiple studies agree on the anti-androgen effects of Spearmint. Women with high concentrations of androgens may experience excessive hair growth, particularly in areas like the chin, neck, chest, back, and facial hair development.

Research has shown that spearmint tea can reduce androgen hormone levels in mice. A review of four articles on the effects of Spearmint on androgens recognized its effectiveness in reducing these hormones [16].

The benefits of Spearmint tea are also believed to extend to endocrine disorders and the formation of ovarian cysts. A study on mice concluded that Spearmint can alleviate problems associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome, including high testosterone levels and ovarian cysts [3].

In a study by Paul Grant, the free androgen levels of 42 participants were observed to decrease significantly, contributing to hormone balance and improving excessive hair growth [1].

Managing Arthritis

spearmint benefits for arthritis

Although not plentiful, there are still studies that mention the impact of Spearmint on arthritis. In one study titled "Ethnopharmacological profile of anti-arthritic plants of Asia - A systematic review," Metha spicata (Spearmint) was listed as one of the Asian medicinal herbs with benefits for arthritis [17].

Moreover, the presence of rosmarinic acid in Spearmint is believed to alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis effectively. This component primarily functions through its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, offering multiple advantages in reducing pain and inflammation for arthritis patients [18].

Spearmint Benefits for Improving Memory and Cognitive Function

According to a study conducted by Kelli A. Herrlinger et al., the consumption of 900 mg of spearmint extract daily improved working memory quality and accuracy [19].

Another study, which also utilized a daily dose of 900 mg of spearmint extract, concluded that the extract was well-absorbed and had the potential to enhance certain cognitive functions [21].

Additionally, a study focusing on traditional Danish plants for memory function disorders, related explicitly to acetylcholinesterase inhibition, observed a moderate inhibitory effect on the enzyme and its impact on memory function [20].

Traditional Uses Of Spearmint

Beyond its scientifically researched effects, Spearmint boasts numerous benefits that have been passed down through traditional medicine. While some of these benefits of spearmint are mentioned in a few studies or only referenced in terms of Spearmint's traditional use, their significance may be limited, necessitating further scientific validation.

One area where Spearmint shines is the benefits of spearmint leaf to weight loss. Believed to aid digestion and curb unhealthy cravings, spearmint tea is thought to assist in weight management.

Additionally, Spearmint has long been used to soothe coughs, thanks to its antispasmodic properties that relieve persistent coughs and colds. Its pleasant aroma further helps clear nasal passages.

Spearmint's impact on heart health should not be overlooked. Rich in potassium, a mineral essential for heart and nerve functions, consuming Spearmint can contribute to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

Moreover, Spearmint plays a significant role in oral health. Its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties make it a popular ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwashes, combating bad breath and promoting oral hygiene. The versatility of this flavorful herb is underscored by its utilization in these various health spheres.

Spearmint Side Effects

Spearmint is widely recognized as a safe herb with minimal side effects. Numerous studies have confirmed its safety and tolerability, highlighting the health benefits of spearmint extract without any adverse symptoms.

Indeed, Spearmint has been classified as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for incorporation as a flavoring component in beverages, pharmaceuticals, and confectionery products [22]. It's worth mentioning that isolated instances of minor side effects have been reported, although there is no substantial evidence backing these assertions. Nevertheless, it is prudent to take note of the following potential effects.

Acid Reflux

Excessive consumption of spearmint tea may cause acid reflux in some individuals. This is because Spearmint contains oils that can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, releasing stomach acid into the esophagus.

Imbalances Androgen When Taking Overdose

As discussed earlier, Spearmint has anti-androgen properties that can reduce levels of male hormones. However, these effects are only beneficial when consumed in moderation. Overconsumption of Spearmint could result in an imbalance of androgens, leading to potential adverse effects on hormonal balance.

Pregnant Should Be Aware

Pregnant women are advised to consult with their healthcare provider before consuming Spearmint in any form. While no evidence suggests that it is harmful, it is better to err on the side of caution and avoid potential risks.

Pregnant should be aware

Recommended Dosage of Spearmint

The appropriate dosage for Spearmint varies depending on the form, whether it be dried leaves, capsules, or extracts. Experts recommend a daily intake of 3-5 grams of dried leaves or 2-3 mL of liquid extract.

For pregnant women and children, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider for appropriate dosages and any potential risks.

How To Use Spearmint?

Spearmint can be easily incorporated into your daily routine in various forms. One of the most popular ways to consume Spearmint is by drinking it as a tea. Simply steep dried spearmint leaves in hot water for several minutes and enjoy a refreshing cup of spearmint tea.

Using spearmint tea

Another way to use Spearmint is by adding it as a flavoring ingredient in foods such as salads, smoothies, or yogurt. Dried spearmint leaves can also be used as a seasoning for meat dishes or soups.

For those looking for a more concentrated form of Spearmint, extracts, and capsules can be taken according to the recommended dosages on the packaging.

How To Store Spearmint?

To preserve the freshness and potency of Spearmint, it is best to store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Dried leaves should be stored in an airtight container, while fresh leaves can be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

If using an extract, follow the specific storage instructions on the packaging. It is essential to check expiration dates and discard any expired products.

Conclusion

Spearmint has a long history of traditional use for its numerous health benefits. From improving memory and cognitive function to aiding digestion and promoting oral health, this versatile herb has much to offer. Scientific research has supported many of the traditional benefits of spearmint, highlighting its effectiveness and safety as an herbal remedy.

References

1. Grant, P. (2009). Spearmint herbal tea has significant anti-androgen effects in polycystic ovarian syndrome. a randomized controlled trial. Phytotherapy Research, 24(2), 186–188. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2900
2. Mina, M., Gholamali Jelodar, & Farhad Rahmanifar. (2020). A combination of spearmint and flaxseed extract improved endocrine and histomorphology of ovary in experimental PCOS. Journal of Ovarian Research, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13048-020-00633-8
3. Sanaz Alaee, Mohammad Jafar Bagheri, Mahmood Sadeghi Ataabadi, & Farhad Koohpeyma. (2020, November 11). Capacity of Mentha spicata (spearmint) Extract in Alleviating Hormonal and Folliculogenesis Disturbances... ResearchGate; Journal of World’s Poultry Research. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/345724411_Capacity_of_Mentha_spicata_spearmint_Extract_in_Alleviating_Hormonal_and_Folliculogenesis_Disturbances_in_Polycystic_Ovarian_Syndrome_Rat_Model
4. Donnelly, R. (n.d.). Anti-Androgenic Effects of Spearmint Tea (Mentha Spicata) Anti-Androgenic Effects of Spearmint Tea (Mentha Spicata) Anti-Androgenic Effects of Spearmint Tea (Mentha Spicata) Anti-Androgenic Effects of Spearmint Tea (Mentha Spicata). https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/86427512.pdf
5. Mustafa Çam, Bülent Başyi̇ği̇t, Hamza Alaşalvar, Murat Yılmaztekin, Ahhmed, A. M., Osman Saǧdıç, Yusuf Konca, & İ̇sa Telci. (2020). Bioactive properties of powdered peppermint and spearmint extracts: Inhibition of key enzymes linked to hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Food Bioscience, 35, 100577–100577. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fbio.2020.100577
6. Farid, O., Ahmed El Haidani, & Eddouks, M. (2018). Antidiabetic Effect of Spearmint in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats. Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders, 18(6), 581–589. https://doi.org/10.2174/1871530318666180517101708
7. Bayani, M., Ahmadi-Hamedani, M., & Jebelli Javan, A. (2017). Study of Hypoglycemic, Hypocholesterolemic and Antioxidant Activities of Iranian Mentha Spicata Leaves Aqueous Extract in Diabetic Rats. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research : IJPR, 16(Suppl), 75–82. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5963648/
8. Chemical Composition, and Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activities of Essential Oil of Spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) From Pakistan. (2023). Journal of Essential Oil Research. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10412905.2010.9700269
9. Abdel, Abdelrahman, S. E., & Awad. (2011). Phytochemical Analysis of Local Spearmint (Mentha spicata) Leaves and Detection of the Antimicrobial... ResearchGate; Scientific and Academic Publishing. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282855454_Phytochemical_Analysis_of_Local_Spearmint_Mentha_spicata_Leaves_and_Detection_of_the_Antimicrobial_Activity_of_its_Oil
10. Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Potential of Aqueous Distillate Volatiles of Indian Peppermint (Mentha piperita) and Spearmint (Mentha spicata). (2023). Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10496475.2011.591519
11. Wu, Z., Tan, B., Liu, Y., Dunn, J. L., Patricia Martorell Guerola, Tortajada, M., Cao, Z., & Ji, P. (2019). Chemical Composition and Antioxidant Properties of Essential Oils from Peppermint, Native Spearmint and Scotch Spearmint. Molecules, 24(15), 2825–2825. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24152825
12. Mohaddese Mahboubi. (2021). Mentha spicata L. essential oil, phytochemistry and its effectiveness in flatulence. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 11(2), 75–81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2017.08.011
13. J.N.N. Sharathchandra, Platel, K., & Srinivasan, K. (1995). Digestive enzymes of rat pancreas and small intestine in response to orally administered mint (Mentha... ResearchGate; unknown. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292542438_Digestive_enzymes_of_rat_pancreas_and_small_intestine_in_response_to_orally_administered_mint_Mentha_spicata_leaf_and_garlic_Allium_sativum_oil
14. Protective effects of Mentha spicata against nicotine-induced toxicity in liver and erythrocytes of Wistar rats. (2018). Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/full/10.1139/apnm-2017-0144
15. EBSCOhost | 138764977 | EVALUATION OF THE THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS OF MENTHA SPICATA ESSENTIAL OIL AT THE LIVER LEVEL IN DEVELOPING WISTAR RATS CO-EXPOSED TO LEAD AND MANGANESE. (2019). Ebscohost.com. https://web.s.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=20666845&AN=138764977&h=jGEI2ZLnmIkOn58oGEvyhrsFKx6Kkb63as8FTvL9wwjtQJHqw5Y6xr5wyIvSuUNJcZq2CkzQ3BBNA%2b3ma46%2bCg%3d%3d&crl=c&resultNs=AdminWebAuth&resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d20666845%26AN%3d138764977
16. Donnelly, R. (n.d.). Anti-Androgenic Effects of Spearmint Tea (Mentha Spicata) Anti-Androgenic Effects of Spearmint Tea (Mentha Spicata) Anti-Androgenic Effects of Spearmint Tea (Mentha Spicata) Anti-Androgenic Effects of Spearmint Tea (Mentha Spicata). https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/86427512.pdf
17. Sadia, S., Tariq, A., Shaheen, S., Malik, K., Khan, F., Ahmad, M., Qureshi, H., & Brian Gagosh Nayyar. (2018). Ethnopharmacological profile of anti-arthritic plants of Asia-a systematic review. Journal of Herbal Medicine, 13, 8–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hermed.2018.08.003
18. Bagchi, Debasis, et al. Arthritis. 2011.
19. Spearmint Extract Improves Working Memory in Men and Women with Age-Associated Memory Impairment | The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. (2021). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/acm.2016.0379
20. Adsersen, Anne, et al. “Screening of Plants Used in Danish Folk Medicine to Treat Memory Dysfunction for Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitory Activity.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 104, no. 3, Apr. 2006, pp. 418–422, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2005.09.032. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.
21. Nieman, Kristin M, et al. “Tolerance and Cognitive Function Effects of a Proprietary Spearmint Extract in Men and Women with Self‐Reported Memory Impairment ‐ a Pilot Study (LB402).” The FASEB Journal, vol. 28, no. S1, 1 Apr. 2014, https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.28.1_supplement.lb402. Accessed 4 Nov. 2023.
22. Lasrado, Joanne A., et al. “Safety and Tolerability of a Dried Aqueous Spearmint Extract.” Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, vol. 86, June 2017, pp. 167–176, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yrtph.2017.03.005. Accessed 29 June 2020.
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Author

Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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