Spearmint tea: Benefits, recipe, and side effects
Spearmint tea is a herbal tea that’s made from the spearmint herbal plant, Mentha spicata. Yhe plant is widely cultivated across the world for its strong aroma and huge commercial revenues. It has its origin in Europe but has been grown in different continents of the world. The leaves of spearmint exhibit the shape of a spear. It is from this, and its peppermint-like characteristic that spearmint got its name.
Speaemint has a sweet taste, which makes spearmint tea taste great. Due to its pleasant taste, and sweet aroma, spearmint has been used in cosmetics, and food industries. It is employed in flavoring toothpaste, chewing gum, or candy.
Spearmint tea is usually given to people battling cold, cough, fever, asthma and several other ill health conditions, which we shall discuss and in full details in this article.
How do you make spearmint tea (spearmint tea recipe)?
There are commercialized packaged spearmint leaves that you can purchase from the nearby super market, or order from online stores near you. If you happen to buy such products, what you do is to simply add a spoonful or two, depending on the quantity you would prefer, to a cup of boiling water. Reduce the heat a little bellow boiling and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a cup and add your preferred flavor and honey for a sweeter taste. Serve your tea hot or warm.
How to make your spearmint tea at home
Spearmint tea can be made at home with either the fresh or dried leaves. Whichever one you choose to go by, the method is the same. I would prefer using the dried leaves for some reasons:
The water content of the leaves is negligence in dry spearmint leaves.
The nutritional contents of the bioactive components present is higher in dried leaves than in fresh ones.
Instead of always going out to pluck fresh leaves, i can just grind the dried leaves and store them up for further use.
Having said so, let us now list out the ingredients and methods of spearmint preparation. Do not use synthetic flavors when preparing your tea. Instead, make use of fresh juice of your choice.
- Dried or fresh leaves of spearmint leaves
- Sliced or powdered form of ginger
- Two cups of water
- Honey or orange juice
- Pour the two cups of water into a saucepan, and bring to a boil.
- Add the spearmint leaves and ginger and reduce the heat below boiling point
- Allow the contents to steep for 5 minutes
- Strain into a cup and add your juice or honey
- Serve your tea
Benefits of spearmint tea
Spearmint possess some bioactive compounds which make spearmint tea an outstanding herbal tea. These compounds include Tannins, terpenoids, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides, and steroids.
Spearmint may correct hormonal imbalance
Spearmint tea may be especially beneficial to women suffering hormonal imbalance. It may also benefit men who suffer hirsutism. This is because the tea contains bioactive compounds that significantly suppress the production of the male hormone, testosterone and clears free testosterone in women with hormonal imbalance.
In men with excessive hair growth, spearmint tea may help correct it by balancing the hormone level. However, this should be taken with care, as spearmint has the possibility of increasing estrogen level while decreasing testosterone, thereby affecting male fertility.
A study conducted on 21 female hirsute patients, two cups of spearmint tea. 12 of the patients have polycystic ovarian syndrome while 9 have idiopathic hirsutism. Each of them took a cup of herbal tea which was steeped with M. spicata for 5 days twice a day in the follicular phase of their menstrual cycles. The treatment showed that there was a significant decrease in free testosterone and increase in luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone and estradiol. There were however, no significant decreases in total testosterone or dehydroepiandrostenedione sulphate levels.
Spearmint may correct anxiety disorder
With the high rate of depression and suicides, especially as regards the world economic crisis and untold hardship which it leaves on people, anxiety disorder has become a health condition with great concern. People with anxiety disorder also suffer insomnia, excessive worry, depression, palpitation, nervous breakdown, and fatigue. Luckily, a constant intake of spearmint tea, or corn silk tea have shown to be a great remedy for depression and insomnia, and an agent for treating general anxiety disorder.
In a study conducted rats, spearmint induces a sedative response in rats that was reflected in anxiolytic and hypnotic effects. This supports the claim of Colombian traditional use of spearmint tea to treat insomnia and depression.
Spearmint tea improves diabetic condition
A diabetic patient may find spearmint leaves very helpful as both curative and management agent. The leaves of Mentha spicata is rich in antioxidants that improve the pancreatic beta cells, thereby enhancing insulin secretion and sensitivity.
As an autoimmune disease, diabetes is caused by the autoimmune attack on the beta cells of the pancreas, which leads to the destruction of the cells and subsequent suppression of insulin production. As a result, a type of diabetes known as insulin dependent type of diabetes, or type 1 diabetes mellitus would develop.
In some other cases, high glucose levels may negatively affect the sensitivity of insulin to the cells of the body, making it hard to transport glucose across the membrane bilayers. This also results in excess glucose being circulated in the blood. Excess glucose can be toxic to the body.
Aside its antioxidant activity, spearmint also suppress the enzymes responsible for carbohydrate metabolism, thereby inhibiting the production of excess glucose.
Spearmint tea improves obesity
A regular cup of spearmint tea would help you keep you weight in check. But if you want to add some weight, you may stop drinking spearmint tea. In fact, all herbal teas will just shade off some weights from your body.
Spearmint boosts memory and learning
Spearmint, like coffee powder is famous for boosting your memory capacity. This include your working and memory and also spatial working memory capacity. The tea is a great help for both the kid that going to school as well as the older lady that’s battling memory lost due to age related diseases.
Spearmint is rich in polyphenols, including rosmarinic acid. It also improves your mood and helpbyou maintain a strong focus.
A study shows that spearmint tea would especially be helpful to dementia patients. It helps them have a good sleep our, maintain a good mood and improves their working memory and cognitive capacity.
May improve fertility in women
Through its hormone balancing effect, spearmint also improves female fertility by increasing the fertility hormone in women. This effect would however have a negative impact on male fertility spearmint tea decreases testosterone secretion. Testosterone is linked to spermatogenesis and male fertility, in general.
Improves skin health
Spearmint is rich in antioxidants, which improve your skin health and give your skin a youthful texture and tone. The major cause of skin aging and death is oxidative stress, which increases free radicals in the body. when there are more free radicals in the body than the natural antioxidant, glutathione can successfully scavenge and remove from the body, they would start attacking the cellular component including the DNA. This would eventually result in cell death and skin aging. With regular intake of a cup of spearmint tea, your skin health is guaranteed.
May protect your vital organs
Spearmint tea also offer protection to your vital organs such as your heart, liver, kidney, and lungs, from oxidative stress related diseases such as cancer, kidney failure, hepatocellular carcinoma, dementia, and several other diseases associated with autoimmune disorder. Eating enough vegetables and fruits can make live longer and, also younger. This is what spearmint tea does to your body: remove skin blemishes and restore your natural skin tone.
Improves gastrointestinal diseases
Spearmint tea is very good for stomach upset and irritable bowel diseases. It is also a good remedy for constipation and ulcer. If you have stomach pain or gastric ulcer, you may take a cup of spearmint tea in the morning before breakfast, to calm your stomach. But if you are treating ulcer, cabbage juice may just be a great help, in addition to spearmint tea. Cabbage juice have been noted as a strong remedy for treating ulcer and constipation, including gastritis.
What are the side effects of spearmint?
Spearmint tea is relatively safe when taken in moderation. However, for some people there may be some mild effects such as drowsiness during the day and general weakness. Other side effects include:
When taken in excess amount, and for a long period of time, spearmint tea may be toxic to your liver and thereby cause liver diseases. Do not take spearmint tea if you are treating liver related diseases.
The abuse of every food or drug usually have an adverse effect. Spearmint tea isn’t exceptional. If you really want to remain healthy, do not abuse any food or drug. When you abuse spearmint tea, you might likely battle kidney failure.
Infertility in men
Spearmint tea suppresses the production of the male androgen, testosterone. Testosterone is required for sperm production. When this hormonal secretion is hampered, it may affect the quality and volume of sperm produced by the epididymis. In the long run, it may affect the male fertility. A couple expecting to have a baby might avoid it, except for the woman. This is because spearmint tea improves females’ fertility. If you are treating a particular health challenge with spearmint tea, you may add hotleaf tea to your menu, so as to ameliorate the effect of spearmint tea on fertility.
Mahendran G, Verma SK, Rahman LU. The traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology of spearmint (Mentha spicata L.): A review. J Ethnopharmacol. 2021 Oct 5;278:114266.
Akdoğan M, Tamer MN, Cüre E, Cüre MC, Köroğlu BK, Delibaş N. Effect of spearmint (Mentha spicata Labiatae) teas on androgen levels in women with hirsutism. Phytother Res. 2007 May;21(5):444-7.
Caro, D. C., Rivera, D. E., Ocampo, Y., Franco, L. A., & Salas, R. D. (2018). Pharmacological Evaluation of Mentha spicata L. and Plantago major L., Medicinal Plants Used to Treat Anxiety and Insomnia in Colombian Caribbean Coast. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 5921514.