If the fresh, cooling flavor of spearmint tea is something you savor, there’s plenty of reason to continue enjoying it! Spearmint or Mentha spicata is used in traditional medicine for its many therapeutic properties. And thanks to its excellent phenolic content and antioxidant activity from elements such as carvone, limonene, and rosmarinic acid, this potent caffeine-free brew has many impressive health benefits lined up for you.
1. Fights Bacterial Infection And Boosts Immunity
If you tend to fall sick often, a cup of spearmint tea is just what you need to fortify your immune system and fight bacterial attacks. Lab studies show that spearmint tea has strong antibacterial properties and can counter common pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhi, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These bacteria are implicated in a wide range of illnesses from skin infections to urinary tract, digestive, and respiratory problems. The researchers attributed this effect of spearmint to its rich content of phytochemicals and minerals, which can arrest the growth and metabolism of these pathogens and help destroy them.1
2. Helps Manage PCOS And Eases Symptoms
When you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), your adrenal glands and ovaries produce more male hormones (androgens) than is normal, leading to a hormonal imbalance. Spearmint tea fights PCOS on several levels:
Spearmint is commonly used in the Middle East as a remedy for hirsutism – something studies also vouch for thanks to its anti-androgenic effect.2
- It has significant anti-androgenic effects, helping reduce the level of free testosterone in the body. The tea may also be able to help balance hormones by recalibrating levels of luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and estradiol.3
- Thanks to its antioxidant benefits, spearmint can also fight oxidative stress, which is associated with conditions like obesity and insulin resistance often seen in PCOS.4
Incorporating spearmint tea into your daily diet may not only help address PCOS at an elemental level but also ease problems like cystic acne, weight gain, hirsutism, and fertility issues associated with the condition. In the study above, women who took spearmint tea twice a day saw significant improvements in their condition.5
3. Fights Inflammatory Conditions Like Osteoarthritis
Spearmint tea has anti-inflammatory properties which help fight inflammation and ease symptoms linked to osteoarthritis. In one study, subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee were given high-rosmarinic acid (rosA) spearmint tea twice a day for 16 weeks. This significantly helped reduce stiffness and pain in the subjects. Their mobility and physical function also improved.
While this study used a special breed of spearmint high in rosA, this polyphenol is found in regular spearmint tea as well and has potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory effects – ticking all the right boxes when it comes to fighting inflammatory diseases like arthritis.6 Its chondroprotective effect, helping heal joint lesions and protect cartilage, has also been seen in animal studies.7
4. Tackles Digestive Problems
Having spearmint tea between meals can help rein in gastrointestinal problems like flatulence, vomiting, and stomach cramps.8 Spearmint tea may also help soothe colic in infants.9 Give your little one a spoon or two of weak, diluted tea to alleviate pain and discomfort if they are colicky.
If digestive problems are making you miserable, try having a cup of spearmint tea. The anti-inflammatory components of spearmint tea can help relieve gastrointestinal issues ranging from flatulence and stomach cramps to colic, stomach ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome. Research shows that spearmint can also inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria, considered to be the most common cause of problems like chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers.10 Spearmint is antispasmodic as well, reducing painful stomach cramps by relaxing the muscles of the stomach and intestines.
If nausea or vomiting are problems you are dealing with, spearmint is anti-emetic and can step in there too. In one study, taking spearmint tablets helped reduce the intensity of nausea and frequency of episodes (both vomiting and retching) in subjects who were slated for chemotherapy.11 Spearmint is also suggested as a remedy for morning sickness in traditional medicine thanks to these effects. However, it would be a good idea to consult with the doctor before consuming any kind of herbal tea when you are pregnant.
5. Prevents Bad Breath And Gum Disease
If bad breath has been bothering you, spearmint tea may have some answers. The most common cause of bad breath is the production of odoriferous sulfides and amines.12 The strong antibacterial properties of spearmint help fight bacteria that cause bad breath and prevent halitosis. It can work toward controlling gum disease as well, which is often caused by bacteria. No wonder then that spearmint is a key ingredient in several oral care products.13 Apart from incorporating spearmint tea in your daily diet, use it as a mouthwash to keep dental problems in check.
6. Fends Off Fungal Infections
Spearmint has strong antifungal properties which can help fight ringworm infections like athlete’s foot and yeast infections. In animal studies, spearmint essential oil has been seen to exhibit anti-fungal properties against pathogenic fungi such as Malassezia furfur, Trichophyton rubrum, and Trichisporon beigelii.14 While spearmint essential oil may be most potent here, washing the area with a strong spearmint tea can also help.
A cup of spearmint may even work as an anthelmintic, helping expel parasitic worms, especially Ascaris lumbricoides.15
Drinking spearmint can also work in your favor. A weakened immune system can increase your chances of getting a fungal infection. The active compound carvone in spearmint possesses strong antioxidant properties, bolstering your body’s immunity and helping fight against fungal infections.16
7. Provides Natural Stress Relief
Need a quick fix to calm yourself down naturally and without any side effects? A brew made with spearmint may just be your cup of tea! Spearmint has a stimulating effect on the nervous system, making it an effective natural remedy to combat stress, promote relaxation, and soothe the mind. Animal studies show that carvone, an active compound in spearmint, has a calming effect on the central nervous system.17 Incidentally, carvone is also responsible for that distinct smell of spearmint.18
8. Boosts Memory And Mood
Thanks to its antioxidant capacity, spearmint tea may also be able to give your memory a boost. In one study, people with age-related memory impairment were given a spearmint extract for 90 days. The quality of working memory as well as spatial working memory, both of which take a hit with age, improved with spearmint supplementation. What’s more, it improved overall alertness and mood as well. The researchers attributed these benefits to the polyphenols in spearmint, especially rosmarinic acid.19
Research shows that the antioxidant limonene found in spearmint tea can help counteract free radicals and increase neurotransmitter activity.20 This may improve concentration, memory, and the ability to learn. So the next time you need to think with a clear head, brew yourself a cup of this wonder tea!
9. Fights Respiratory Problems
The powerful phenolic compounds in spearmint tea can enhance respiratory health, fight inflammation, and even reduce the severity of illnesses such as bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).21 As one animal study showed, spearmint was able to ease symptoms of COPD due to its ability to fight pulmonary inflammation and oxidative stress.22
10. May Protect Against Cancer
Free radicals are considered to be the primary cause of cellular breakdown which leads to chronic diseases. Cancer specifically is linked to free radicals that stimulate cellular mutations. Studies have found that the antioxidants in spearmint tea may be able to eliminate free radicals. Spearmint extract also has antimutagenic properties that can help inhibit the activation of carcinogens, thus displaying anti-cancer potential.23 24
Studies also show that spearmint is one of the best sources of rosmarinic acid. This component has been found to have significant anti-carcinogenic properties and makes spearmint particularly potent when it comes to fighting cancer.25
11. Improves Circulation And Promotes Heart Health
Spearmint’s antioxidant capacity helps it counter oxidative stress, a potential offender implicated in many cardiovascular problems. But it also helps boost heart health in other ways. The iron found in spearmint, with 2 tablespoons of fresh leaves meeting 7.5% of the daily value requirements, makes it a great addition to a heart-healthy diet. It has a positive effect on the circulatory system and boosts red blood cell and hemoglobin production.26
12. May Protect The Liver
A word of caution: consuming spearmint in excessive amounts can have a negative impact on the liver, so have it in moderation and as part of an overall healthy diet.
Research suggests that spearmint tea may also be beneficial for the liver. Animal studies show that spearmint extract contains bioactive compounds with antioxidant potential that protect the liver against nicotine-induced damage.27
Brew Yourself A Perfect Cup Of Spearmint Tea!
While spearmint is readily available in the market, you could try growing your own spearmint plant at home. Fix yourself a nice cup of spearmint tea with either fresh or dried spearmint leaves.
Using Fresh Leaves
- Take a handful or 1 tablespoon of fresh spearmint leaves.
- Wash and tear the leaves and put them in a teapot.
- Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the leaves and steep for 3–7 minutes.
- Sweeten with honey if you like and top up with lemon juice or a wedge of lemon.
- You can have this tea iced as well – just cool and pour over ice.
Peppermint tea and spearmint tea have subtle differences in taste but share many common health benefits. Spearmint tea is sweeter and has a lower menthol and phenolic content than peppermint tea, which has a more pronounced mint flavor. You can take a blend of peppermint and spearmint leaves and infuse them in water to get a healthy cup of double mint tea!
Using Dried Leaves
Dried leaves have a more concentrated flavor than the fresh ones, so it is recommended that you use a third of the amount you would use for fresh spearmint.
- Take 1–3 teaspoons of dried spearmint, depending on the intensity of the flavor you like.
- Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the leaves and steep for about 3–5 minutes.
- Sweeten with honey as desired and add some lemon on the side. Enjoy it hot or iced.
Is Spearmint Tea For Everyone?
Spearmint is considered safe for most people in moderate amounts.28 Stick to about 2–3 cups of tea a day so you don’t overdo it.
Although spearmint is a popular remedy to combat morning sickness and nausea, pregnant women and nursing mothers should exercise caution and check with their doctor before including spearmint tea in their daily diet. Excessive amounts of spearmint tea could adversely affect the liver and the kidneys and it is not recommended for people suffering from liver or kidney disorders. For people with an allergy to mint, the beneficial effects of spearmint may actually be reversed. In such cases, it’s best to avoid spearmint since it may cause side effects such as an upset stomach, throat irritation, skin rashes, headache or dizziness.
For most people, though, spearmint tea is a great addition to an overall balanced diet. And with its numerous health benefits, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t brew yourself a soothing cup today!
|↑1||Padmini, E., A. Valarmathi, and M. Usha Rani. “Comparative analysis of chemical composition and antibacterial activities of Mentha spicata and Camellia sinensis.” Asian J. Exp. Biol. Sci 1, no. 4 (2010): 772-781.|
|↑2||ref]Grant, Paul, and Shamin Ramasamy. “An update on plant derived anti-androgens.” International journal of endocrinology and metabolism 10, no. 2 (2012): 497.|
|↑3||Ataabadi, Mahmood Sadeghi, Sanaz Alaee, Mohammad Jafar Bagheri, and Soghra Bahmanpoor. “Role of Essential Oil of Mentha Spicata (Spearmint) in Addressing Reverse Hormonal and Folliculogenesis Disturbances in a Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in a Rat Model.” Advanced pharmaceutical bulletin 7, no. 4 (2017): 651.|
|↑4||Grant, Paul, and Shamin Ramasamy. “An update on plant-derived anti-androgens.” International journal of endocrinology and metabolism 10, no. 2 (2012): 497.|
|↑5||Grant, Paul, and Shamin Ramasamy. “An update on plant derived anti-androgens.” International journal of endocrinology and metabolism 10, no. 2 (2012): 497.|
|↑6||Connelly, A. Erin, Amy J. Tucker, Hilary Tulk, Marisa Catapang, Lindsey Chapman, Natasha Sheikh, Svitlana Yurchenko et al. “High-rosmarinic acid spearmint tea in the management of knee osteoarthritis symptoms.” Journal of medicinal food 17, no. 12 (2014): 1361-1367.|
|↑7||Pearson, W., R. S. Fletcher, and L. S. Kott. “Oral rosmarinic acid‐enhanced Mentha spicata modulates synovial fluid biomarkers of inflammation in horses challenged with intra‐articular LPS.” Journal of veterinary pharmacology and therapeutics 35, no. 5 (2012): 495-502.|
|↑8, ↑15||Brahmi, Fatiha, Madani Khodir, Chibane Mohamed, and Duez Pierre. “Chemical composition and biological activities of Mentha species.” In Aromatic and Medicinal Plants-Back to Nature. InTech, 2017.|
|↑9||Yousuf, Patwary Md Hajjaj, Nusrat Yousuf Noba, Mohammad Shohel, Rajib Bhattacherjee, and Biplab Kumar Das. “Analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effect of Mentha spicata (Spearmint).” British Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 3, no. 4 (2013): 854.|
|↑10||Imai, Hirokazu, Kenji Osawa, Hideyuki Yasuda, Hajime Hamashima, Taketoshi Arai, and Masanori Sasatsu. “Inhibition by the essential oils of peppermint and spearmint of the growth of pathogenic bacteria.” Microbios 106 (2001): 31-39.|
|↑11||Tayarani-Najaran, Z., E. Talasaz-Firoozi, R. Nasiri, N. Jalali, and M. K. Hassanzadeh. “Antiemetic activity of volatile oil from Mentha spicata and Mentha× piperita in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.” ecancermedicalscience 7 (2013).|
|↑12||Porter, S. R., and C. Scully. “Oral malodour (halitosis).” Bmj 333, no. 7569 (2006): 632-635.|
|↑13||Rasooli, I., S. Shayegh, and S. D. A. Astaneh. “The effect of Mentha spicata and Eucalyptus camaldulensis essential oils on dental biofilm.” International journal of dental hygiene 7, no. 3 (2009): 196-203.|
|↑14||Adam, Konstantia, Afroditi Sivropoulou, Stella Kokkini, Thomas Lanaras, and Minas Arsenakis. “Antifungal activities of Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum, Mentha spicata, Lavandula angustifolia, and Salvia fruticosa essential oils against human pathogenic fungi.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 46, no. 5 (1998): 1739-1745.|
|↑16||Elmastaş, Mahfuz, Ibrahim Dermirtas, Omer Isildak, and Hassan Y. Aboul‐Enein. “Antioxidant activity of S‐carvone isolated from spearmint (Mentha Spicata L. Fam Lamiaceae).” Journal of liquid chromatography & related technologies 29, no. 10 (2006): 1465-1475.|
|↑17||De Sousa, Damião Pergentino, Franklin Ferreira De Farias nóbrega, and Reinaldo Nobrega De Almeida. “Influence of the chirality of (R)‐(−)‐and (S)‐(+)‐carvone in the central nervous system: A comparative study.” Chirality: The Pharmacological, Biological, and Chemical Consequences of Molecular Asymmetry 19, no. 4 (2007): 264-268.|
|↑18||Kee, Leong Ay, Amal Bakr Shori, and Ahmad Salihin Baba. “Bioactivity and health effects of Mentha spicata.” Integrative Food, Nutrition and Metabolism (2017).|
|↑19||Herrlinger, Kelli A., Kristin M. Nieman, Kristen D. Sanoshy, Brenda A. Fonseca, Joanne A. Lasrado, Arianne L. Schild, Kevin C. Maki, Keith A. Wesnes, and Michael A. Ceddia. “Spearmint extract improves working memory in men and women with age-associated memory impairment.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 24, no. 1 (2018): 37-47.|
|↑20||Zhou, Wenjun, Miyuki Yoshioka, and Hidehiko Yokogoshi. “Sub-chronic effects of s-limonene on brain neurotransmitter levels and behavior of rats.” Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology 55, no. 4 (2009): 367-373.|
|↑21||SAGE, CLARY. “ESSENTIAL OILS FROM THE GARDEN.”|
|↑22||Zhao, C. Z., Yan Wang, F. D. Tang, X. J. Zhao, Q. P. Xu, J. F. Xia, and Y. F. Zhu. “Effect of Spearmint oil on inflammation, oxidative alteration and Nrf2 expression in lung tissue of COPD rats.” Zhejiang da xue xue bao. Yi xue ban= Journal of Zhejiang University. Medical sciences 37, no. 4 (2008): 357-363.|
|↑23||Yu, Tian‐Wei, Meirong Xu, and Roderick H. Dashwood. “Antimutagenic activity of spearmint.” Environmental and molecular mutagenesis 44, no. 5 (2004): 387-393.|
|↑24||Sakarkar, D. M., and V. N. Deshmukh. “Ethnopharmacological review of traditional medicinal plants for anticancer activity.” Int J Pharm Tech Res 3, no. 1 (2011): 298-308.|
|↑25||Shekarchi, Maryam, Homa Hajimehdipoor, Soodabeh Saeidnia, Ahmad Reza Gohari, and Morteza Pirali Hamedani. “Comparative study of rosmarinic acid content in some plants of Labiatae family.” Pharmacognosy magazine 8, no. 29 (2012): 37.|
|↑26||Arzani, A., H. Zeinali, and K. Razmjo. “Iron and magnesium concentrations of mint accessions (Mentha spp.).” Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 45, no. 5 (2007): 323-329.|
|↑27||Ben Saad, Anouar, Ilhem Rjeibi, Hichem Alimi, Sana Ncib, Talel Bouhamda, and Nacim Zouari. “Protective effects of Mentha spicata against nicotine-induced toxicity in liver and erythrocytes of Wistar rats.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 43, no. 1 (2017): 77-83.|
|↑28||Lasrado, Joanne A., Kristin M. Nieman, Brenda A. Fonseca, Kristen D. Sanoshy, Arianne L. Schild, and Kelli A. Herrlinger. “Safety and tolerability of a dried aqueous spearmint extract.” Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 86 (2017): 167-176.|