Spearmint Tea: Are There Health Benefits

Spearmint is an herb commonly used in infusion products like chewing gum, essential oil, mints, perfumes, and teas. The mint flavor is tasty and freshens breath. It’s also incorporated into many dishes around the world, including main dishes, sauces, and desserts.

But in addition to the minty flavor, spearmint tea has several properties that contribute to our health.

As with any herbal tea, spearmint tea hydrates your body and offers a more exciting alternative to water. Staying hydrated can improve your sleep quality, cognition, and mood. Drinking enough water also helps your body carry out necessary functions such as:

  • Regulating body temperature
  • Lubricating joints
  • Preventing infections
  • Delivering nutrients to cells
  • Maintaining organ functionality

Because spearmint tea doesn’t contain caffeine, it’s a good option if you have a sensitivity to caffeine.

Research shows that spearmint contains antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent free radicals from causing damage to your cells that can lead to serious diseases such as cancer.

Research supports some health benefits associated with drinking spearmint tea; however, additional research into some of its properties is required.

Nutrition Information

Here’s a look at the nutrition facts for one cup of herbal tea, brewed:

There are very few calories in spearmint and other herbal teas, and no fat, making tea a healthy drink to sip morning or night.

The following minerals and nutrients are found in spearmint tea:

Although present, these nutrients and minerals are found in incredibly low concentrations in spearmint tea. The dehydration process necessary to make spearmint tea leaves and the boiling water used to make a cup of tea remove significant amounts of nutrients.

Potential Health Benefits of Spearmint Tea

Spearmint tea is known to help improve memory, digestion, and relaxation. However, more research is required to understand the full health benefits of spearmint tea. Here are several ways in which spearmint tea is thought to contribute to human health, based on early research.

Lower Blood Pressure

Spearmint contains the compound (-)-carvone. Studies have shown that this compound behaves in ways similar to ingredients found in high blood pressure medication. One study on animals showed that (-)-carvone reduces blood vessel contractions, though it may be too soon to tell if the same would be found in humans.

Help with Digestive Issues

Spearmint may also contribute to a healthier stomach and alleviate symptoms like nausea. Spearmint tea may be able to help your stomach muscles relax, helping these and other digestive problems subside.

Improved Memory

Spearmint tea may also help improve your memory. One study showed that older people with memory issues who were given daily spearmint extract supplements saw a 15 % improvement in their memory.

Lower Blood Sugar

There may also be properties in spearmint tea that lower blood sugar and help people who have diabetes maintain their health. While no extensive study has been done on humans to investigate these benefits, studies on rats with diabetes have shown lower blood sugar levels when given spearmint.

Antioxidant-Related Benefits

Spearmint has been found to have high antioxidant properties. Antioxidants provide many health benefits to humans. They have been associated with reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses.

Potential Risks of Spearmint Tea

It’s important to remember that many of the health benefits linked to spearmint tea are still in the early stages of testing. There are currently minimal risks associated with drinking spearmint tea, especially when consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Acid Reflux

It’s recommended that people who suffer from gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) don’t consume spearmint. This is because spearmint is thought to relax the sphincter between the esophagus and stomach which can cause acid reflux and heartburn. However, there is conflicting information available on the effects of spearmint on heartburn. One study found that spearmint does not affect the lower esophageal sphincter function.

Sources:

  1. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics: “Lack of effect of spearmint on lower oesophageal sphincter function and acid reflux in healthy volunteers.”
  2. ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Tea.”
  3. Fitoterapia: “(-)-Carvone: antispasmodic effect and mode of action.”
  4. Food and Bioproducts Processing: “Comparison of different extraction methods for the extraction of major bioactive flavonoid compounds from spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) leaves.”
  5. Gastroenterology: “The Action of a Carminative on the Lower Esophageal Sphincter.”
  6. Harvard Health Publishing: “By the way, doctor: What can you tell me about peppermint oil?”
  7. Harvard T.H. Chan: “The importance of hydration.”
  8. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal: “Effects of Pomegranate and Spearmint Syrup on Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.”
  9. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: “Spearmint Extract Improves Working Memory in Men and Women with Age-Associated Memory Impairment.”
  10. Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders – Drug Targets: “Antidiabetic Effect of Spearmint in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats.”
  11. Food Chemistry: “Antioxidant potential of mint (Mentha spicata L. in radiation-processed lamb meat.”
  12. Mayo Clinic: “Slide Show: Add antioxidants to your diet.”

Important Notice: This article was originally published at www.webmd.com where all credits are due. Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD.

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