Spearmint Tea for PCOS: Benefits, Brands, and Dosage
Learn the evidence-backed benefits of spearmint tea for PCOS.
Spearmint tea is an internet-famous remedy for treating acne and excess facial hair.
Particularly if you have PCOS, spearmint tea has likely grabbed your attention. You might have heard it works wonders for regulating hormones naturally.
But does this magic herb deliver on any of these promises?
I sifted through academic research and expert opinion to discover what the science says about spearmint tea’s most widely publicized benefits.
Know this: research backs up a lot of the praise for spearmint tea. Because spearmint works to decrease excess androgens, it can provide relief from acne and unwanted body hair. But it’s by no means a cure-all for PCOS or hormonal acne.
Does spearmint tea help with PCOS?
Spearmint tea may provide relief from many common PCOS symptoms, from hormonal acne to weight gain, and excess facial hair. Research shows it’s effective at lowering androgens and insulin levels. Even if you don’t have PCOS but suffer from hormonal acne, spearmint can alleviate your breakouts.
In other words, spearmint tea decreases the excess androgens (male hormones) that cause hormonal acne.
Let’s explore a few of the evidence-backed benefits below.
4 benefits of spearmint tea for PCOS, according to research
A major part of spearmint tea’s appeal is that it's a natural, affordable PCOS treatment.
Proven benefits of spearmint tea include:
- Supplies antioxidants and lowers blood sugar, according to medical writers at WebMD
- Acts an anti-inflammatory, according to the Industrial Crops and Products journal
- Reduces androgens, finds Plant Foods for Human Nutrition
While acknowledging these benefits, multiple researchers also called for further studies to monitor the effect of regulating hormones using spearmint tea. Also note, a couple of the more recent studies I reference below are animal trials.
1. Reduces facial hair
Reducing facial hair is one of spearmint tea’s most advertised benefits. Excess facial hair, or hirsutism, is a common PCOS symptom. Research shows spearmint tea may be helpful to slow the growth of unwanted body hair, but hard evidence to support this claim is limited.
As far back as 2009, a trial tested the impact of spearmint tea on androgen levels. The 30-day randomized controlled trial involved 42 women. One group took spearmint tea twice a day while the other drank a placebo herbal tea.
After 30 days, researchers found women in the spearmint group, testosterone levels were “significantly reduced”. Patients in the spearmint group also self-reported that their hirsutism improved.
But here’s the thing: when researchers objectively scored the women’s facial hair, they found no change. Here’s what they wrote:
“There was a clear and significant alteration in the relevant hormone levels. This is associated clinically with a reduction in the self-reported degree of hirsutism but unfortunately not with the objectively rated score.”
Researchers suspect the study was too short to produce more concrete evidence:
“The time taken for hirsutism to resolve is significant and a much longer future study is proposed as the preliminary findings are encouraging that spearmint has the potential for use as a helpful and natural treatment for hirsutism in PCOS.”
An older study similarly examined the effect of spearmint tea on hirsutism, arriving at a similar conclusion. Spearmint tea decreased testosterone but further trials were necessary.
One Reddit user shared her own experience using spearmint tea to reduce facial hair.
“I started drinking 3 cups of spearmint tea from 4 weeks and it’s done so much for me my main problem area was my mustache it was so dark with ingrowns and grew within 2 days and I had to thread every 4 days but now I can go almost a week without worrying and Also don’t feel the prickly feeling when I go over my upper lip I am so happy!!!!”
Important note: the poster also started exercising, eating healthier, and losing weight. In short, spearmint tea was one of a number of other lifestyle changes. I can relate. My hormonal acne and hirsutism drastically improved after drinking mint tea. But, like the Redditor, I followed a healthy diet and started an exercise regime. Notably, yoga for PCOS, improved my overall strength, energy levels, and emotional well-being.
2. Improves hormonal acne
Spearmint tea’s ability to treat hormonal acne is one of its biggest selling points.
Medical experts believe spearmint tea improves acne due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-androgen properties.
In the New York Magazine, Crystal Martin writes that spearmint tea improved her acne.
“After two months of drinking, I was getting fewer cysts, down to one a month compared to two or more. Now, after almost a year on spearmint, a cyst sighting is rare.”
Dermatologist Dr. Carl Thornfeldt tells the magazine why spearmint works so well. It contains compounds that are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral.
“It has now been documented that spearmint is the most potent of the different mints in killing skin-disease-causing bacteria and yeasts,” said Thornfeldt.
A medical student at the University of Queensland Courtney Haller examined spearmint tea and acne, focusing on the case of one woman’s acne treatment.
“...as she had read about testimonials in the media, the patient made the decision to start drinking two cups of spearmint tea daily, in addition to continuing her usual routine of benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin.
“After six months of drinking spearmint tea, the patient subjectively stated she believed her acne had decreased by 50%, in both the size and number of nodulocystic lesions on her face. This case is interesting, as there is no scientific evidence to support spearmint’s use in acne treatment.”
Sam Wood, a skincare blogger, writes in GoodGlow.co about the link between spearmint tea and hormonal acne, explaining that sex hormones like testorone are “only one component of hormonal acne”.
“While we’re quick to assume that sex hormones are the only reason people get acne, the truth is that dietary-driven hormones like insulin and IGF-1 have much more to do with adult acne than we’d like to think.”
Wood adds that a low-carb diet is a more effective way to treat hormonal acne, but that mint tea can reduce testosterone levels.
Again, this mirrors my experience. While I'm a devotee of tea for PCOS, I know diet, exercise, and PCOS supplements played a major role in my results.
In one animal study, researchers found spearmint lowered the number of cystic follicles in the ovaries. With PCOS, these cysts are actually follicles filled with incomplete eggs.
The Journal of Ovarian Research published a paper examining the use of spearmint and flaxseed extract in rats with PCOS. Beyond a reduction in cysts, the rats had more progesterone and decreased testosterone.
“In the current study level of testosterone decreased tremendously in the PCOS rats treated with a combination of spearmint and flaxseed extracts, which is four times lower than our previous report when flaxseed was administered alone. The reason behind it may be due to the anti-androgenic effect of spearmint…”
Again, it’s another study that underscores the spearmint’s role in stabilizing hormones.
4. Promotes ovulation
PCOS frequently results in irregular ovulation, and one animal study indicates spearmint may boost fertility.
In a 2017 study published in the Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin, researchers administered spearmint oil to rats with PCOS while another group of rats didn’t receive spearmint oil. After the study, they compared the rats’ hormone levels and body weight. Their findings align with many of spearmint’s purported benefits:
“According to our results, spearmint oil decreases body weight in the PCOS condition, and since it has antiandrogenic potential, its administration leads to decrease of androgen production.”
Rats in the spearmint group also had higher rates of ovulation. Higher testosterone may suppress ovulation, so it lines up that reducing testosterone improves ovulation.
Best spearmint tea brand for PCOS
Now that you know the benefits of spearmint tea, you’re wondering: which is the best spearmint tea? Since it's such a popular product, wading through the options to find the right brand can be overwhelming.
I’ve sorted through the highest rated spearmint tea brands. Below, I’ve listed the spearmint tea brands with the best average customer ratings on Amazon:
- Traditional Medicinals Organic Spearmint Herbal Tea: Traditional Medicinals is one of the most well-known spearmint tea brands; this one is certified organic.
- Davidson's Tea Spearmint Leaves: Another organic spearmint tea brand filled with only spearmint and free from any additives.
- Bigelow Mint Medley Herbal Tea: A blend of spearmint and peppermint, this tea is also gluten-free.
So, how much spearmint tea should you drink for PCOS? One recommendation is two cups a day for 1 weeks. WebMB warns that spearmint tea can interact with some medications. If you’re concerned, contact your healthcare professional. While the internet’s an amazing resource, it’s no substitute for professional advice.
Take advantage of spearmint tea’s science-backed benefits
PCOS wreaks havoc on your self-esteem. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
Many of the benefits of spearmint tea for PCOS are widely studied. This herbal tea could help you regulate your hormones, easing your worst symptoms. Even then it’s not a quick fix.
Spearmint tea works best as part of a broader PCOS treatment plan. Ideally that plan’s developed in partnership with a trained medical professional and based on your unique PCOS factors.
My research-backed guide on tea for PCOS can help you learn more about other natural remedies.