People with PCOS find their symptoms troubling. This may cause them to seek out doctor prescribed treatments and supplements. They will typically also look at as many reviews as they can from people who have taken them.
Supplementing with spearmint is something that has come up as an alternative way to treat PCOS. This post will go into the plant, what the limited amount of research says about it in regards to PCOS/hormones and anecdotal experiences of people who have supplemented with it.
*See my medical disclaimer at the end of the post*
Spearmint in general
This plant is native to Europe and Asia. These days though, the production of it is highest in the United States.
Spearmint is part of the mint family of plants (hence, the name!). People may not know that there are actually well over 100 different types of mint. That’s a lot! The other common varieties include peppermint, water mint, chocolate mint, pennyroyal, apple mint, wild mint and pineapple mint.
Mint plants are perennials (last more than two years) and are pretty easy to grow in your garden. They are extremely fast growing though so you must watch out for that! They also cross-pollinate so keep them apart if you are growing different types.
Every variety of mint tastes a bit different but they are all very aromatic. Other plants in the mint family include catnip, hyssop, lavender, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, patchouli, and sage.
The mint plants contain a good amount of nutrients-especially vitamin A. They are used in cooking (Middle Eastern uses a lot of it), drinks (i.e. mint juleps), candy, teeth/mouth products (i.e. toothpastes), insect repellent and aromatherapy.
Mint has also been used for its possible health benefits as well for a very long time. The following are things that the plants may be able to do:
- Provide antibacterial effects
- Provide antioxidant effects
- Serve as a decongestant- This may be due to the menthol that it contains; peppermint has the highest amount of it.
- Provide analgesic effects
- Boosts cognition
Remember that there hasn’t been enough research done on plants for them to be considered definitive treatments for certain ailments. It is also important to note that plants may have negative interactions and side effects. For example, peppermint can cause the following issues:
- Stomach pain and burning
- Burning feeling when put on skin
- Increasing side effects of certain medications
When it comes to buying mint plants-they can be bought in different forms. These include tea bag (peppermint and spearmint), liquid extract (peppermint and spearmint), capsules, oil extract, seeds, dry leaf, fresh leaf and powder (peppermint and spearmint) form.
Consuming too much of any kind of mint is not a good thing as it can be harmful. If you are planning on getting it in supplement form, make sure to go by the serving size on the container and monitor yourself for bad side effects.
Spearmint for PCOS
Many people with PCOS have to deal with excess hair and acne. This is due to having androgen levels that are too high. These two characteristics can cause self esteem issues and even embarrassment in some cases.
To treat these issues, something that reduces androgen levels and balances hormones is usually sought out. There are prescription options (i.e. Spironolactone) and then there are herbal supplements that some say have antiandrogen effects.
Spearmint is one of the supplements that is taken for its proposed antiandrogen effect.
There has actually only been one study done on spearmint that showed some promise for androgen blocking though. It was a Turkish study done years ago that has since kept circulating around on various sites. This has prompted some naturopathic practitioners and people in PCOS groups to tout it.
The results of the lone study showed that drinking two cups a day of spearmint tea for five days, reduced free and total testosterone levels by a good amount. It also increased LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). The unfortunate thing about the study is that it was not done long enough to see what kind of physical results the participants got from drinking the tea.
The anecdotal evidence of spearmint supplementation includes positive and negative experiences. Here are things that have been reported:
- Complete control of acne
- Reduction of acne
- Reduction of oily skin
- Reduction in hair growth
- Softening of hair
- Gave periods after a long time of not having one
- Reduction of bloating
- Caused deep cysts
- Increased liver enzymes
- Caused kidney damage that prompted a hospital stay
- Caused periods to come too frequently
- Caused some to bleed for too long
- Decreased blood pressure
- Caused dizziness and lightheadedness
- Caused tiredness
Also, for some people it did absolutely nothing leading to disappointment.
When it comes to the form and dosage of spearmint, there was some variance. Taking it in tea form, two times per day (two cups) was the most common way. It was also taken in the form of capsules, two to three times a day. The capsules proved to be better for people who didn’t like drinking the tea and/or would forget to make it on a regular basis.
Here is a list of the spearmint products people have taken:
- Bulk Supplements Spearmint Extract– Bulk Supplements offers many pure supplements at great prices. They also offer empty capsules to put the powders in if you want to.
- Traditional Medicinals Organic Spearmint Tea– This is what people who like tea have taken. The brand is reputable and has a great products.
- Swanson Spearmint Leaf capsules– These are premade capsules. Each capsule contains 400 mg of spearmint leaf.
My experience with spearmint
I, like many others, read about spearmint being like the natural version of Spironolactone years ago. This intrigued me. Spironolactone didn’t do much for me at all and I wasn’t in favor of the side effects that could occur if I were to go up to a higher dosage.
I thought that maybe spearmint would be a good thing to try because of the success others were having with it. So, I bought some capsules one day and was excited to try it out.
The first capsule I took had me feeling like I was on caffeine for whatever reason. I was jittery with nervous energy. I am still not sure why it did this to me but I powered through it because I was a little bit desperate for improvement of my excess facial hair and acne issues.
I kept taking the capsules-getting up to twice a day. The weird caffeine feeling went away after around three days. At the two week mark of supplementing with the spearmint I actually noticed a reduction in facial hair. No longer was I shaving my upper lip a lot and the hair was indeed softer. My skin was also clearer.
I was so happy to be one of the ones that got good results from the spearmint!
I kept taking the capsules for a month or so after those first two weeks. Unfortunately, when it came to time to get more of them- I put it off too much and eventually forgot about them.
I haven’t taken them since.
While I did enjoy the benefits that the capsules gave me, I am just too lazy and don’t have the budget for more supplements than I already take. Also, the possible negative effects on the liver and kidney kind of scares me to be honest.
Is it worth it or not?
In my opinion, you really need to be careful with spearmint. Don’t just jump into taking it head first. Just because something is natural, doesn’t mean that it won’t cause negative effects.
Some people (like me) have seen benefits from it though and maybe you will, too. If you are going to try it, make sure to talk to your doctor first. If you aren’t going to do that, at least stick to the dosage that is recommended on whatever spearmint product you end up getting for yourself.
Spearmint is another thing out there that may work but there just isn’t much in the way of evidence for it. While some people have reported improvements in PCOS symptoms, it is not without it’s risks.
Since there is no definitive statement that can be made about spearmint and it’s role in the fight of excess hair and acne, it is probably best to err on the side of caution-mentally(getting hopes up) and physically (possible negative effects).
Have you taken spearmint for excess hair and acne before? How did it go?
Thanks for reading!
Medical disclaimer: I am not a doctor or any kind of medical professional. I am not to be relied on for medical advice because of that. I am not telling you to take anything-merely just reporting information I have read. It is always a good idea to speak to your doctor if you are wanting to make a health-related change. Your health is your own and I am not liable for any medical issues that may arise from your choices.
Affiliate disclaimer: I am part of an affiliate program. This means that I may receive a commission off of any clicks and buys you make from my site.
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