Spearmint tea has gained popularity as a potential remedy for PCOS symptoms. But what about the oil? Does it hold the same promise?
Well, in this post we’re going to look at what research has to say about spearmint oil and the role – if any – that it could play in a PCOS care plan.
BENEFITS OF SPEARMINT OIL FOR PCOS
1. May Balance Hormones and Improve Hirsutism
Based on the results of a 2017 animal study, spearmint essential oil reduces:
- body weight
- testosterone levels
- ovarian cysts
- degeneration of follicles
The study also showed that spearmint oil increases Graafian follicles (which ultimately increases the number viable eggs in the ovaries).
To achieve these results, spearmint essential oil (diluted in sesame oil) was given orally to PCOS-induced rats for 20 days.
Although this study was done with rats, it shows promise that spearmint oil could benefit humans too (we just need more research to tell us what the right human dose would be). Plus, there’s also research – done with humans – showing that spearmint tea also has anti-androgenic effects (source).
Since spearmint, in various forms, seems to be beneficial when it comes to lowering androgens, this herb is worth considering for your PCOS treatment plan.
2. Supports Restful Sleep
The stress, anxiety and hormonal imbalances that occur with PCOS can cause major sleep disruption.
And poor sleep worsens stress and hormonal imbalance…talk about a vicious cycle.
Spearmint essential oil can give you relief from this cycle because it contains menthol, which calms the nervous system.
More specifically, menthol acts on the receptors for GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter with calming effects that can reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
In fact, many people take GABA supplements specifically to improve sleep. And many sleep meds, like Ambien, also act on GABA.
So, spearmint oil has the potential to be a beneficial, natural sleep aid.
3. Soothes Cramps and Inflammation
Just like its sister oil, peppermint, spearmint oil has anti-inflammatory properties.
And just like peppermint oil, spearmint can be very helpful for menstrual cramps.
One way in which spearmint is thought to ease cramps is by acting on the neurotransmitter GABA (which we discussed in the previous section).
Some studies suggest that GABA is a natural pain reliever that also plays a role in cramps (1, 2).
Therefore, using spearmint oil for pcos can impact GABA activity, which then provides relief from period pain.
4. Improves PMS Symptoms Like Nausea
If your PMS symptoms tend to include nausea and upset stomach, then spearmint oil could offer you some relief.
Spearmint contains a compound called carvone that prevents contractions in the digestive tract.
In fact, one study showed that topical application of spearmint essential oil led to a significant reduction of nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients.
HOW TO USE SPEARMINT ESSENTIAL OIL FOR PCOS
1. Topical Use
For nausea or upset stomach :
- add 3 drops spearmint oil to 2 teaspoons carrier oil (this is a 1% dilution).
- massage the blend on your belly.
For period cramps:
- Add 5 drops spearmint and 4 drops rosemary to 2 teaspoons carrier oil (this is a 3% dilution).
- Massage onto the lower belly and/or back.
If you find that the 3% dilution doesn’t work, you can increase to 4%, 5% or more based on these essential oil dilution guidelines.
You can diffuse a few drops of spearmint by itself or use it in a blend.
Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
Calming and Hormone-Balancing Blend
3 drops spearmint
3 drops clary sage
Mood Boosting Blend
2 drops spearmint
2 drops lemongrass
2 drops grapefruit
Spearmint is a cooling oil, so when using it in a bath it creates a different sensation from your standard warm bath.
This can be very soothing during times when the weather is very hot or your body is simply running hotter than usual.
Just add 3 drops of spearmint to 2 teaspoons of liquid castile soap or a light carrier oil (like fractionated coconut oil).
Add the mix to your bath water and enjoy the cooling soak.
4. Internal Use
As we saw earlier, internal use of spearmint essential oil has been shown to be effective for PCOS-induced rats.
And spearmint oil is on the FDA’s GRAS list (Generally Regarded As Safe), which means the FDA considers it safe for internal use.
That said, if you’d like to use spearmint oil internally for PCOS, it has to be diluted correctly and administered correctly (in a capsule, taken with water or some other medium).
I recommend working with a certified aromatherapist who can guide you on how to take it safely, the right dosage and how long to use it for.
You can also read this article from the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies on the internal use of essential oils.
What tea is best for PCOS?
Due to its ability to lower androgens, reduce body weight and reduce hirsutism, spearmint tea is one of the best teas for PCOS.
In addition ginger, dandelion, red raspberry leaf, chamomile and some adaptogenic teas are also good for PCOS.
How do I get rid of PCOS completely?
In order to beat PCOS, you need a holistic approach that focuses on nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory and hormone-balancing foods/herbs. In particular you want to focus on foods that regulate insulin and all the sex hormones.
For more tips read this guide on how to beat PCOS naturally.
Which exercise is best for PCOS?
Since inflammation is one of the underlying causes of PCOS, it’s important to do exercises that won’t add too much stress to your body (since stress can worsen the inflammatory response).
This means low-intensity activities like walking, gentle hikes, yoga or even, a gentle dance class are all good options.
CONCLUSION: IS SPEARMINT OIL GOOD FOR PCOS?
Based on available research, spearmint oil has anti-inflammatory and potential hormone-regulating properties that could relieve period pain, reduce hirsutism, lower androgen levels and improve egg viability.
However more extensive studies are needed to confirm the oil’s use for PCOS.
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