Mints Have Been Used By Ancient Greeks and Romans

Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians used mints, including peppermint, as medicine thousands of years ago.  But peppermint wasn’t recognized as a distinct subspecies until the late 17th century.

Good for Digestive Upsets

Spearmint is commonly used to help relieve symptoms of indigestion, nausea, vomiting and gas.

The compound (-)-carvone, which is naturally found in spearmint, has been shown to strongly inhibit muscle contractions in the digestive tract, which may explain how this herb helps relieve digestive upsets (1Trusted Source).

In an eight-week randomized study in 32 people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), one group was given a product containing spearmint, lemon balm and coriander along with loperamide for diarrhea or psyllium for constipation (2Trusted Source).

At the end of the study, people who received the spearmint-containing supplement reported less abdominal pain, discomfort and bloating compared to those in the placebo group.

This herb may also relieve nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

In one study, spearmint essential oil applied to the skin significantly reduced the incidence of nausea and vomiting compared to a placebo (3Trusted Source).

Therefore, while studies on the effects of this type on mint on digestion are limited, some evidence suggests that it may be helpful.

Spearmint has been shown to relieve digestive symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and bloating, though more research is needed.

High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are natural chemical compounds found in plants that help protect against and repair damage caused by free radicals, which are harmful molecules that can lead to oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress has been linked to several chronic conditions, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes (4Trusted Source).

Spearmint contains a large number of antioxidant compounds, including rosmarinic acid, flavones and flavanones like limonene and menthol (5Trusted Source).

Two tablespoons (11 grams) of spearmint also provides 2% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C, another potent antioxidant (67Trusted Source).

According to researchers, spearmint shows excellent antioxidant activity against free radicals. In one study, extract from this herb prevented fat oxidation in meat and was as effective as the synthetic antioxidant BHT (8).

Spearmint is high in beneficial antioxidant compounds that help protect against and repair damage caused by free radicals.

May Lower Blood Sugar

Spearmint tea may help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.

While human-based studies on this potential effect are lacking, animal studies have shown promising results.

In one study, rats were given a spearmint extract equivalent to 9 mg per pound (20 mg per kg) of body weight per day. While healthy rats appeared unaffected, rats with diabetes had significantly lower blood sugar (21Trusted Source).

In another 21-day study in rats with diabetes, animals given 136 mg per pound (300 mg per kg) of body weight per day of this type of extract showed a 25% reduction in blood sugar (22Trusted Source).

Though human studies on the effects of spearmint on blood sugar are lacking, animal research has shown that this herb may significantly lower blood sugar in rats with diabetes.

May Improve Memory

There’s some evidence that this herb may help improve memory.

Studies have shown that mice given a spearmint extract experienced improved learning and memory as shown by their performance on a maze test (13Trusted Source).

Previous studies in humans found that chewing mint-flavored gum may help improve memory. However, later studies have failed to confirm its beneficial effects. (14Trusted Source15Trusted Source16Trusted Source).

In a more recent study, older adults with memory impairment who were given daily supplements containing 900 mg of spearmint extract experienced a 15% improvement in working memory (17Trusted Source).

Therefore, the evidence on the benefits of this type of mint for memory is limited but promising — especially for older adults.

Some studies have shown a benefit of spearmint extract on memory in older adults, but more research is needed.

May Aid Women With Hormone Imbalances

For women with hormone imbalances, spearmint tea may provide relief.

Studies in women have shown that it can decrease male hormones like testosterone while increasing female hormones necessary for ovulation, such as luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol.

In one five-day study in 21 women with hormone imbalances, two cups of spearmint tea a day decreased testosterone and increased LH, FSH and estradiol levels (9Trusted Source).

Similarly, in a 30-day randomized study, 42 women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who drank spearmint tea twice a day had lower testosterone levels and higher LH and FSH levels compared to women who drank a placebo tea (10Trusted Source).

Additionally, in a study in rats, spearmint essential oil was found to decrease testosterone and ovarian cysts and increase the number of viable eggs in the rats’ ovaries (11Trusted Source).

Spearmint tea may have beneficial effects on hormones in women, including decreasing male hormones like testosterone and increasing hormones necessary for ovulation.

May Reduce Facial Hair in Women

Drinking spearmint tea may help reduce hirsutism, or growth of dark, coarse hair on the face, chest and abdomen of women.

In fact, it’s a common herbal remedy for unwanted hair growth in Middle Eastern countries (12Trusted Source).

High levels of male hormones, or androgens, are linked to an overgrowth of facial hair in women (9Trusted Source).

Two studies in women with facial hair have shown that drinking spearmint tea may help.

In one five-day study, 12 women with PCOS and nine women with facial hair due to unknown causes were given two cups of spearmint tea twice a day during the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle (9Trusted Source).

While the study was not long enough to determine whether spearmint affected facial hair, the women’s testosterone levels were reduced.

In a longer, 30-day study in 41 women with PCOS, women who drank two cups a day of spearmint tea reported a reduction in their facial hair (10Trusted Source).

However, 30 days may not be long enough to see a definitive difference.

Fights Bacterial Infections

Spearmint is a popular flavoring agent in toothpaste, breath mints and chewing gums.

However, it does more than freshen your breath — it also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which may help kill the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath.

Studies have found that spearmint essential oil is effective against several types of harmful bacteria (18Trusted Source19Trusted Source).

Additionally, it has been shown to work against bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses, including E. coli and Listeria (20Trusted Source).

Spearmint has antibacterial activity against several types of harmful bacteria, including bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses, such as E. coli and Listeria.

May Help Reduce Stress

Spearmint tea may help promote relaxation and reduce stress.

In fact, in South American countries, this tea is commonly used to treat stress and insomnia.

In one study in rats, a spearmint extract was found to decrease anxiety and improve sleep (23Trusted Source).

Additionally, the leaves of this plant contain menthol, which has a relaxing, sedative effect on the body.

It’s believed that spearmint promotes relaxation and alleviates stress by interacting with GABA receptors in your brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter involved in reducing nerve activity (24Trusted Source).

Spearmint tea is commonly used to relieve stress. While studies are limited, this mint contains compounds that have been shown to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

May Improve Arthritis Pain

Spearmint may help relieve joint pain caused by arthritis.

A large review study of both animal and human studies concluded that essential oils made from this mint had pain-relieving effects (25Trusted Source).

Similarly, in one 16-week study in 62 people with arthritis of the knee, regular spearmint tea consumed twice daily reduced stiffness and physical disability, while a spearmint tea high in rosmarinic acid relieved the same symptoms and reduced pain (26Trusted Source).

Spearmint has shown beneficial effects on arthritis pain in both human and animal studies. Additionally, tea made from this herb may help reduce stiffness and disability caused by arthritis.

May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Spearmint may help lower high blood pressure.

Though human studies on this potential property are unavailable, some scientific evidence suggests that this herb may have beneficial effects in this regard.

A compound in spearmint called (-)-carvone has been shown to act similarly to calcium-channel blockers, medications used to treat high blood pressure (1Trusted Source).

In fact, in one animal study, (-)-carvone was shown to be 100 times more potent at reducing blood vessel contractions than verapamil, a commonly used blood pressure medication (1Trusted Source).

While evidence on the effects of spearmint on blood pressure is limited, studies have shown that it works similarly to common blood pressure medications.

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