Spearmint - What is it & How to use

The oil in spearmint contains chemicals that reduce inflammation (swelling) and change levels of chemicals called hormones, such as testosterone, in the body. Some chemicals might also harm cancer cells and kill bacteria.

Effectiveness

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for SPEARMINT are as follows:

Possibly ineffective for…

  • Memory. Chewing spearmint-flavored gum does not appear to improve memory in healthy adults.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Male-pattern hair growth in women (hirsutism). Early research shows that drinking spearmint tea twice daily for up to one month can decrease levels of male sex hormone (testosterone) and increase levels of female sex hormone (estradiol) and other hormones in women with male-pattern hair growth. But it doesn’t seem to greatly reduce the amount or location of male-pattern hair growth in women with this condition.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Early research shows that using 30 drops of a product containing lemon balm, spearmint, and coriander after meals for 8 weeks reduces stomach pain in people with IBS when taken along with the drug loperamide or psyllium.
  • Osteoarthritis. Early research shows that drinking spearmint tea reduces pain and stiffness by a small amount in people with knee osteoarthritis.
  • Nausea and vomiting after surgery. Use of aromatherapy with oils of ginger, spearmint, peppermint, and cardamom seems to reduce symptoms of nausea in people after surgery.
  • Cancer.
  • Colds.
  • Cramps.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Gas (flatulence).
  • Headaches.
  • Indigestion.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Skin conditions.
  • Sore throat.
  • Toothaches.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of spearmint for these uses.

Dose

The appropriate dose of spearmint depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for spearmint. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Safety Concerns

Spearmint and spearmint oil are LIKELY SAFE when eaten in amount commonly found in food. Spearmint is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts or when applied to the skin.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Spearmint is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used in excessive amounts during pregnancy. Excessive use of spearmint tea might cause damage to the uterus. Avoid using in large amounts of spearmint during pregnancy.

There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking spearmint if you are breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using in amounts greater than those found in food.

Kidney disorders: Spearmint tea might increase kidney damage. Higher amounts of spearmint tea seem to have greater effects. In theory, using large amounts of spearmint tea might make kidney disorders worse.

Liver disease: Spearmint tea might increase liver damage. Higher amounts of spearmint tea seem to have greater effects. In theory, using large amounts of spearmint tea might make worsen liver disease.

Interaction with medication

Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Medications that can harm the liver (Hepatotoxic drugs)
Spearmint might harm the liver when used in large amounts. Some medications can harm the liver as well. Using large amounts of spearmint along with these medications might increase the risk of liver damage. Don’t use large amounts of spearmint if you are taking a medication that can harm the liver.

Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), amiodarone (Cordarone), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), erythromycin (Erythrocin, Ilosone, others), phenytoin (Dilantin) , lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and many others.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants)
Spearmint contains a chemical that might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness and drowsiness are called sedative medications. Taking spearmint and sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.