This post was updated on August 15th, 2022
By Kym Campbell, BSc. | Updated August 15th, 2022
Various compounds found in tea have health benefits for women with PCOS. But the strength of the effect is small. Drinking tea has other benefits though, so it makes sense to enjoy it.
While certain PCOS teas may help a little, dietary change can be huge. The mechanisms of action are similar, but the size of the effects greatly differ.
The Best Teas For PCOS
In 2021, a team of researchers conducted a PCOS tea systematic review. They looked at all the randomized controlled trials on all kinds of PCOS tea. They also conducted a meta-analysis. This is a method of combining multiple studies to see if there’s a consistent “signal”.
The researchers found that green tea supplements and marjoram tea beverages reduced weight and improved insulin resistance in women with PCOS . The effect size was small, but it was statistically significant.
Green tea and spearmint tea also appeared to reduce free testosterone levels. But the evidence supporting this finding was very limited. I explore the potential health benefits of spearmint tea for PCOS here.
The most valuable aspect of this systematic review was that only six studies met their eligibility criteria. These controlled trials all used either green tea, marjoram tea, or spearmint herbal tea. This tells us that there are very few high-quality studies investigating the health benefits of tea in PCOS populations.
Other teas may have health benefits, but only green tea, marjoram, and spearmint tea have PCOS-specific credentials. At least as far as body weight, metabolic health, and hormone parameters are concerned.
Green Tea For PCOS
It’s also worth noting that all the green tea for PCOS studies included in the meta-analysis, used supplements rather than a beverage. Because of this, it’s not clear that a hot cup of green tea will produce significant results. The dose of active ingredients may be too low.
Essentially, the green tea studies are an argument in favor of green tea supplements, rather than drinking more tea.
Other PCOS Herbal Teas
A similar argument can be made about several other PCOS-relevant teas. A 2020 literature review found a range of medicinal herbs that may help in the treatment of PCOS . Many of these can be made into teas. Examples include aloe vera, chamomile, cinnamon, fennel, and many more.
This isn’t to say that other PCOS herbal teas like peppermint tea, raspberry leaf tea, and matcha don’t “work”. It’s just they don’t have meaningful studies supporting their efficacy. Any health claims should be consumed with a teaspoon of caution.
A non-biased review of the scientific literature reveals the following key takeaways:
- There is very limited data showing that tea (as a beverage) is good for PCOS.
- Any direct health benefits from PCOS teas are likely to be small.
- Skepticism is warranted regarding any health claims made by tea salespeople.
Indirect Benefits Of PCOS Teas
Randomized controlled trials aside, there are other reasons why tea is good for PCOS. For a start, tea is hydrating. More importantly, though, tea can be a powerful ally for forming better habits.
As I’ve written about before, sugar is at the top of the list of foods to avoid with PCOS. Dairy isn’t great either. By displacing sugar and dairy-containing beverages, the health benefits of tea go well beyond the antioxidants they contain.
We can also use tea to improve our sleep and help us relax. Both of which are evidence-based PCOS natural treatments.
Diet Is The Best PCOS Treatment
So, it’s true that certain teas can help with PCOS symptoms. But the direct benefits are small.
Making other changes to your diet will get you much better results. This is because chronic inflammation and insulin resistance are underlying mechanisms that drive PCOS [3-5]. Your gut health, and the foods you eat push on these mechanisms for good or for bad.
While PCOS teas may help a tiny bit, fixing the rest of your diet can make a big difference.
Here are a few examples of what’s possible from women that have completed my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge.
Click here to learn more about the foods to avoid and foods to include in a PCOS diet. This free 3-Day PCOS Meal Plan can also help you put theory into practice.
Green tea, marjoram tea, and spearmint tea have small direct health benefits for women with PCOS. But drinking tea has other indirect benefits too. It improves hydration and can displace other, less healthy beverages.
If you want to take back control of your health and fertility, then changing your diet is key. A PCOS-friendly diet is much more powerful than tea or tea extract supplements.
Ready To Take The Next Step?
Since 2010, Kym Campbell has used evidence-based diet and lifestyle interventions to manage her PCOS. After getting her symptoms under control and falling pregnant naturally, Kym now advocates for dietary change as part of any PCOS treatment plan. Combining rigorous science and clinical advice with a pragmatic approach to habit change, Kym is on a mission to show other women how to take back control of their health and fertility. Read more about Kym and her team here.
1Shen, W., et al., Effects of Tea Consumption on Anthropometric Parameters, Metabolic Indexes and Hormone Levels of Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne), 2021. 12: p. 736867.
2Ashkar, F., et al., The Role of medicinal herbs in treatment of insulin resistance in patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A literature review. Biomol Concepts, 2020. 11(1): p. 57-75.
3Popovic, M., G. Sartorius, and M. Christ-Crain, Chronic low-grade inflammation in polycystic ovary syndrome: is there a (patho)-physiological role for interleukin-1? Seminars in Immunopathology, 2019. 41(4): p. 447-459.
4González, F., Inflammation in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: underpinning of insulin resistance and ovarian dysfunction. Steroids, 2012. 77(4): p. 300-5.
5Wang, J., et al., Hyperandrogenemia and insulin resistance: The chief culprit of polycystic ovary syndrome. Life Sciences, 2019. 236.