Spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) is a popular aromatic herb that belongs to the Labiateae (Lamiaceae) family. It is widely found in Eurasia, Australia, South Africa, USA, and China. Commonly, used fresh (raw vegetable, spice or flavoring herb) or as dried leaves or powder (herbal tea, dishes, and beverages or medicine). Spearmint essential oils are widely used in the food, cosmetics, confectionery, chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwashes and pharmaceutical industries (1). The benefits of spearmint tea are good for treating PCOS, body pain, anxiety, and insomnia.
Nutritional value of spearmint
According to USDA spearmint contains several important nutrients such as protein, fat, crude fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, Vitamins A, B6, C, and folate (2)
|Compound||Amounts per 100 g.|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.73 g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||8.41 g|
|Fiber, total dietary||6.8 g|
|Iron, Fe||11.87 mg|
|Vitamin C||13.3 mg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.25 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.16 mg|
|Folate, DFE||105 µg|
|Vitamin A, RAE||203 µg|
|Vitamin A||4054 IU|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.19 g|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||0.025 g|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||0.39 g|
Health benefits of spearmint tea
Some of the main benefits of spearmint tea are as follows
1. Treats polycystic ovarian syndrome
Hirsutism is the excessive growth of facial or body hair on women and other psychological problems due to the elevated androgen levels during polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). However, intake of spearmint tea twice a day for a 1 month alter the hormone levels and increases luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and estradiol (3).
2. Improve cognitive function
Daily intake of spearmint extract (900 mg/day) enhances ‘head and brain’ function such as quality of working memory and spatial working memory, improve the ability to fall asleep, vigor-activity alertness, contentedness, and calmness due to the presence of polyphenols including rosmarinic acid in it (4).
3. Reduce the pain of knee osteoarthritis
A high amount of rosmarinic acid in spearmint tea is beneficial against stiffness, physical disability and reduces pain in osteoarthritis. Thus daily consumption of spearmint tea for 16 weeks significantly decreased pain (5).
4. Enhance athlete performance
Presence of rosmarinic acid; phenolic content and another bioactive compound in spearmint tea improve athletic performance by its anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and cognitive improvement properties. Therefore daily consumption of 900 mg of spearmint extract in the form of tea for 90 days improves the ability to react to a stimulus quickly and efficiently, at high speed (6).
5. Anti-inflammatory properties
Rosmarinic acid found in spearmint acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that inhibits acute and chronic inflammation (7).
6. Antimicrobial properties of spearmint tea
Carvone and limonene obtained from spearmint and its oil fight against bacteria such as Vibrio as well as some fungi like Fusarium graminearum, F. moniliforme, and Penicillium expansum (8, 9).
7. Treat anxiety and insomnia
Spearmint tea contains phenolic compounds such as flavonoids and tannins which show a wonderful effect on the treatment of anxiety and increase the sleeping time (10).
8. Protect bone marrow cells
Spearmint is a good source of powerful antioxidants such as polyphenols that protect bone-marrow cells, other chromosome damage and apoptosis against both exogenous and endogenous DNA damage caused by different chemicals (11).
9. Presence of antioxidants
Spearmint has antioxidant properties due to the presence of a high amount of phenolic substances such as eugenol, caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid and alpha-tocopherol which play important role in scavenging harmful radicals from the body and protect against various diseases (12).
10. Antimutagenic properties of Spearmint tea
It contains a bioactive compound that protects against various chemicals that cause mutation thus prevent carcinogen activation or risk of cancer (13).
11. Manage diabetes and cholesterol level
Oral intake of spearmint leaves or spearmint tea reduces blood glucose levels, total cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol level in the diabetic patient due to the presence of the high phenolic compound in them (14).
12. Treat stomach issue
Carmint is a combination of lemon balm, spearmint, and coriander which is effective to reduce the severity and frequency of abdominal pain/discomfort and bloating in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (15).
13. Protect from nicotine induce damages
Nicotine mediates some of the injurious effects like oxidative damage caused by consuming tobacco products which affect liver, testis, brain and other organs however spearmint (rich in phenolic compound) helps to recovery of all these organs in normal levels by increasing good enzyme and decreasing bad enzyme and exhibited interesting scavenging activity (16, 17).
Side effects of Spearmint
1. Risk of allergy
Sometime spearmint causes uvular angioedema (upper airway obstruction/ swelling) therefore a person should avoid both ingestions of fresh mint leaves and exposure to preparations in which mint is used as a flavoring ingredient (18).
2. Risk of infertility
Spearmint does not contain any toxic effect on the reproductive system however high amount of spearmint decreases sperm count, sperm motility and testosterone concentration as well as induce oxidative stress thus precaution should be needed because it may cause adverse effects on male fertility (19, 20).
3. Risk of uterus damage
As we know that spearmint tea show a wonderful effect on digestion but it should be used in the recommended fashion or at the recommended dose because at high dosage it may cause lipid peroxidation and uterine damage (21).
4. Risk of kidney injury
Intake of the high amount of spearmint tea may increase the level of plasma urea and creatinine and affect the kidney and its tissue in various ways, therefore, precaution should be needed (21).