This post was updated on July 16th, 2022
By Kym Campbell, BSc. | Updated July 16th, 2022
As the creator and host of the free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge, I’ve been asked many times about spearmint tea.
If you’re curious about spearmint tea and polycystic ovarian syndrome, this short article tells you everything you need to know.
Can Spearmint Tea Lower Testosterone?
Yes. But maybe not as much as you’d like.
I recently reviewed the science behind various PCOS teas. Spearmint tea was one of only three teas studied in PCOS-specific randomized controlled trials.
In fact, there’s just one study that investigated spearmint tea in women with PCOS.
In this now-famous trial by Paul Grant, women took either spearmint tea or a placebo herbal tea. Each group consumed a cup of tea, twice a day, for one month.
This study demonstrated that spearmint tea reduces androgen levels in women with PCOS . This finding is further supported by research done on rodents .
Androgens like testosterone, are often elevated in women with PCOS. This is what causes acne, hair loss, and hirsutism.
While statistically significant, the strength of the effect appears to be small. In the study by Grant, there was a clear change in hormone levels among tea-drinkers. There was also a reduction in the self-reported degree of hirsutism. But there was no significant improvement when using an objective clinical rating system. Grant explains that this is likely due to the trial not being long enough for hirsutism to resolve. But we can’t know for sure either way without a longer-duration trial.
The take-home here is to keep your expectations realistic. Drinking spearmint tea may help on the margins, but it’s unlikely to make a meaningful difference on its own.
Better Ways To Lower Testosterone
If you’re drinking spearmint tea to lower testosterone, then it’s worth keeping this intervention in perspective. In isolation, drinking tea is a tiny part of your total diet. The impact of everything else you consume is much more significant.
This is why a complete PCOS diet is better for lowering testosterone levels.
Studies have shown that insulin resistance aggravates the symptoms of hyperandrogenism. This forms a vicious cycle that promotes PCOS development [3, 4]. A PCOS diet improves insulin regulation. This then leads to lower androgen levels. A PCOS diet is also rich in foods that directly decrease androgen levels. This includes ingredients like flaxseeds [5, 6], nuts , and fatty fish .
Here are a few examples of the results achieved by women that have completed my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge.
I get that overhauling your diet is often overwhelming, but it all begins with your first step. That’s why many people find that my free 3-Day PCOS Meal Plan is the easiest place to start.
Other Benefits Of Spearmint Tea
Some people claim that spearmint tea may help with cognitive function. It might, but it’s a bit of a stretch of the evidence. Most studies looking into this potential benefit use a proprietary extract made from spearmint. That’s a much more powerful supplement than a couple of cups of tea. The studies also tend to be in people over 60 with age-associated memory impairment. Not exactly a good match for most women struggling with PCOS.
But there’s a big benefit of spearmint tea that isn’t immediately obvious.
Spearmint tea can be a great way to displace other beverages that are less PCOS-friendly.
As I’ve written about before, sugar is number one on the list of foods to avoid with PCOS. This is because sugar drives both insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. These are underlying mechanisms that cause PCOS [4, 9, 10]. Dairy can be a problem too as it may negatively impact gut health in some people. Yet, it’s pretty normal to add sugar and dairy to hot drinks. Many people feel like they NEED it with their coffee for instance.
But unlike many other drinks, spearmint tea tastes best served on its own. Spearmint is sweet and aromatic without being overpowering. Compared to sweet coffee with cream, a cup of spearmint tea provides health benefits beyond the sum of its parts.
Spearmint Tea & PCOS Tips
How much spearmint tea to lower testosterone? The ability of spearmint tea to lower testosterone is likely to be dose-dependent. The more you consume, the greater the effect (to a point). In the study by Grant described above, two cups of spearmint tea per day for a month was enough to lower hormone levels. Because hirsutism takes a long time to resolve, several months may be needed before the benefits are noticeable.
What is the best spearmint tea for PCOS? There’s no published research to show that any one brand of spearmint tea is better for PCOS than others. But, I recommend buying only organic tea products.
How to make spearmint tea for PCOS? To make a hot tea, steep a spearmint tea bag in 6 oz (180 mL) of boiled water for 5-7 minutes. For iced tea, follow the steps above, before pouring over a tall glass filled with ice.
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.
Quick Disclosure: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. This means that when you use them to purchase something, it won't cost you more but I may get paid a commission for referring you. In order to avoid any prejudice, I only recommend products that I personally use or would have recommended anyways.
1Grant, P., Spearmint herbal tea has significant anti-androgen effects in polycystic ovarian syndrome. A randomized controlled trial. Phytother Res, 2010. 24(2): p. 186-8.
2Sadeghi Ataabadi, M., et al., Role of Essential Oil of Mentha Spicata (Spearmint) in Addressing Reverse Hormonal and Folliculogenesis Disturbances in a Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in a Rat Model. Adv Pharm Bull, 2017. 7(4): p. 651-654.
3Zeng, X., et al., Polycystic ovarian syndrome: Correlation between hyperandrogenism, insulin resistance and obesity. Clin Chim Acta, 2020. 502: p. 214-221.
4Wang, J., et al., Hyperandrogenemia and insulin resistance: The chief culprit of polycystic ovary syndrome. Life Sciences, 2019. 236.
5Mehraban, M., G. Jelodar, and F. Rahmanifar, A combination of spearmint and flaxseed extract improved endocrine and histomorphology of ovary in experimental PCOS. J Ovarian Res, 2020. 13(1): p. 32.
6Nowak, D.A., et al., The Effect of Flaxseed Supplementation on Hormonal Levels Associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: A Case Study. Curr Top Nutraceutical Res, 2007. 5(4): p. 177-181.
7Kalgaonkar, S., et al., Differential effects of walnuts vs almonds on improving metabolic and endocrine parameters in PCOS. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2011. 65(3): p. 386-93.
8Nadjarzadeh, A., et al., The effect of omega-3 supplementation on androgen profile and menstrual status in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized clinical trial. Iran J Reprod Med, 2013. 11(8): p. 665-72.
9Popovic, 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.
10González, F., Inflammation in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: underpinning of insulin resistance and ovarian dysfunction. Steroids, 2012. 77(4): p. 300-5.