Spearmint Tea May Reduce Hirsutism in PCOS
Researchers at the Suleyman Demirel University Medical School in Isparta, Turkey had been receiving "major complaints" from the local men that drinking mint tea was interfering with their libido and reproductive function.
To find out what might have been the problem, the medical school added peppermint to the drinking water of rats. The rats drinking the peppermint had a significant reduction in their testosterone and an increase in follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
Bear in mind that elevated testosterone and disordered FSH and LH levels are primary sources of difficulty for women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Just recently, the medical school completed a study of 21 women who had excessive hairiness. Twelve of them had PCOS and the other 9 had hirsutism of unknown origin.
The women took a cup of spearmint tea twice a day for 5 days in the follicular phase (first half) of their menstrual cycles. The tea was made by pouring boiling water on 1-2 teaspoons of dried spearmint and leaving it for 5-10 minutes, then straining and drinking the tea.
After treatment with the spearmint tea, the women had a significant decrease in free testosterone and increase in LH, FSH and estradiol hormones. There were no significant decreases in total testosterone.
The distinction between "free" and "total" testosterone is important. Testosterone hormone is either bound to a carrier protein, or it is not. The unbound testosterone is biologically active while the bound hormone is not active. "Total" testosterone includes both bound and unbound hormone.
The interesting point about this study is that the spearmint tea reduced the "free", biologically active testosterone. It is the free testosterone that contributes to hirsutism, acne and other PCOS problems. If free testosterone can be reduced, the symptoms will tend to diminish.
The researchers state that "spearmint can be an alternative to antiandrogenic treatment for mild hirsutism."
Although we haven’t yet seen the details of these studies, it wouldn’t hurt to drink spearmint or peppermint herbal teas to see if they have any beneficial effect on your symptoms.