A soothing cup of mint tea is just what the tummy craves when nausea, indigestion, or other digestive issues make their presence felt.
Around 25 herbs belong to the mint family. Spearmint and peppermint are particularly popular as food flavoring and for their healing properties. In fact, some research indicates that peppermint is among the most commonly used herbs during pregnancy.1
And this rings true especially during pregnancy when a host of tummy problems can come in waves and make you miserable. So can you afford to keep using mint while pregnant? Yes you can, but with a few important caveats. Here’s the lowdown.
Mint Eases Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is common during pregnancy. In fact, more than 80% of women experience nausea during the first twelve weeks while about 50% of pregnant women experience vomiting.2 A cup of peppermint or spearmint tea is commonly used to tackle and ease nausea during this time. Although there isn’t much scientific evidence supporting their efficacy, these are popular remedies and supported by a long history of use.34
Mint Can Also Tackle Indigestion
Indigestion is another common problem during pregnancy. In fact, up to 80% of women suffer from this condition at some point during their pregnancy.5 And both peppermint and spearmint can help deal with indigestion. Peppermint may work by helping relax smooth muscles in your stomach and improve the flow of bile, thus helping you digest food better.6 Spearmint, on the other hand, is also used to tackle indigestion and symptoms such as flatulence though scientific research on its efficacy seems to be limited. 7 8
Do Not Use Peppermint If You Have GERD
If your indigestion is caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it’s best to avoid using peppermint. This is because it can relax the muscles which close off your stomach from the food pipe. This makes it easier for stomach acid to flow into food pipe and cause acid reflux.9
Some research indicates that spearmint does not have this effect. However, high doses can cause stomach problems probably by irritating the mucous lining of your stomach.10 In fact, some experts suggest that it’s best to avoid spearmint tea too if you have GERD.
Limit Intake To 2–3 Cups Of Mint Tea A Day
Excessive use of spearmint and peppermint is not safe during pregnancy. Spearmint in large amounts can damage your uterus while peppermint is an emmenagogue, that is, it can induce menstrual periods and thereby threaten your pregnancy.11 12 This means you need to limit yourself to a maximum of 2 to 3 cups a day.13
If you want to try other remedies for morning sickness or indigestion, try ginger or turmeric tea. Inhaling the fragrance of lemons can also help with nausea.14 15 You can try acupressure as well – stimulate the point 3 finger breadths below the inside of your wrist to ease morning sickness.16
Make Your Mint Tea Just Right!
To make mint tea, add a teaspoon of dried mint in a cup of hot water. Hot water is best for extracting the beneficial oils of mint so make sure you don’t use boiling water for making the tea. Now steep for 5 minutes. You can also combine leaves of both peppermint and spearmint and add a slice of ginger to make a soothing cup of tea. Just be sure not to have more than 2–3 cups a day.
|↑1, ↑12||John, Lisha J., and Nisha Shantakumari. “Herbal medicines use during pregnancy: a review from the Middle East.” Oman medical journal 30, no. 4 (2015): 229.|
|↑2||Nausea and morning sickness. National Health Service.|
|↑3||Pregnancy and birth: What helps reduce nausea in pregnancy?. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑4||Minocha, Anil, and David Carroll. Natural stomach care: treating and preventing digestive disorders using the best of Eastern and Western healing therapies. Penguin, 2003.|
|↑5||Headaches and indigestion during pregnancy. Healthdirect, Australia.|
|↑6||McKay, Diane L., and Jeffrey B. Blumberg. “A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.).” Phytotherapy research 20, no. 8 (2006): 619-633.|
|↑7, ↑11||Spearmint. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑8||Brill, Steve. Foraging New York: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Foods. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.|
|↑9||Jarosz, Mirosław, and Anna Taraszewska. “Risk factors for gastroesophageal reflux disease: the role of diet.” Przeglad gastroenterologiczny 9, no. 5 (2014): 297.|
|↑10||Bulat, R., E. Fachnie, U. Chauhan, Ying Chen, and G. Tougas. “Lack of effect of spearmint on lower oesophageal sphincter function and acid reflux in healthy volunteers.” Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics 13, no. 6 (1999): 805-812.|
|↑13||Bowden, Jonny, and Allison Tannis. The 100 Healthiest Foods to Eat During Pregnancy: The Surprising Unbiased Truth about Foods You Should be Eating During Pregnancy but Probably Aren’t. Fair Winds Press, 2009.|
|↑14||Safajou, Farzaneh, Mahnaz Shahnazi, and Hossein Nazemiyeh. “The effect of lemon inhalation aromatherapy on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial.” Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal 16, no. 3 (2014).|
|↑15||Ernst, E., and M. H. Pittler. “Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.” British journal of anaesthesia 84, no. 3 (2000): 367-371.|
|↑16||Fan, Chin-Fu, Eduardo Tanhui, Sanjoy Joshi, Shivang Trivedi, Yiyan Hong, and Ketan Shevde. “Acupressure treatment for prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting.” Anesthesia & Analgesia 84, no. 4 (1997): 821-825.|