6 Health Benefits of Spearmint Tea & 2 Tips
Spearmint is renowned for its deliciously sweet and tingly flavors. It’s one of the milder mints, yet no less special. In fact, spearmint is the oldest known type of mint, having been used since ancient Babylonian times. Find here all of the health benefits of spearmint tea.
Spearmint can help improve your digestion, oral health, and even your memory. It’s delicious in both hot and iced tea, as well as a range of other yummy drinks recipes.
In this article we’ll explore the health benefits of spearmint tea, its risks, and more. We’ll also be sharing a simple recipe for making spearmint tea at home, plus tips for additional spearmint-based beverages.
What Spearmint Tea Is: Interesting Facts
Spearmint is scientifically known as ‘mentha spicata’, and is the oldest member of the mint family of plants. It’s been enjoyed for 1000s of years.
The ancient Romans revered it for allegedly ‘stirring up the mind’ and probably used it to soothe all sorts of ailments.
The Babylonians used spearmint for digestive issues. This makes sense, as spearmint tea is still a popular natural remedy for stomach problems today.
If you’re looking to add spearmint tea to your diet for this particular reason, you may also wish to try three mint tea. Three mint tea incorporates all of the healthy benefits of the three most popular types of mint.
Fun fact: crossing water mint with spearmint produces the widely enjoyed peppermint.
Origin and Where Spearmint Tea Comes From
Spearmint tea is native to the Mediterranean region, but was already enjoyed by the ancient Babylonians and, later, the ancient Romans.
Today, spearmint is grown in the mountains of Morocco, but can also be grown from Europe to the more temperate regions of Southern Asia. In America, it appears to mostly be grown in the Pacific Northwest.
What Spearmint Tea Is Made Of
Spearmint tea is made of spearmint leaves, which have either been steeped fresh or dried. You can grow your own spearmint in your garden or on a balcony.
Just make sure you use ‘mentha spicata’ and that it cannot be something else, as some members of the mint family are toxic.
Some mint teas are mixed with green tea. These blends will have caffeine, thanks to the green tea, but will also offer green tea’s added health benefits.
In the case of spearmint, adding green tea gives a lovely herbaceousness and more savory flavors.
You can also purchase ‘three mint’ tea, which is a blend of peppermint, field mint, and spearmint. This is mostly lauded for its helpful properties for your digestive system, too. It combines the health benefits of all three of the most popular mint types.
What Spearmint Tea Tastes Like
Spearmint tea tastes similar to other types of mint tea, including peppermint. It’s a little less sharp and has a sweeter natural flavor.
This means you may not need to add as much or any sweeteners. It’s a tasty alternative to peppermint tea, provided you don’t have any contraindications towards it.
Does Spearmint Tea Have Caffeine?
Spearmint tea does not contain any caffeine. If you’re sensitive to caffeine or want a hot tea you can have before bedtime, spearmint is a great choice.
Spearmint tea generally promotes relaxation and helps you sleep.
It may help you have a more restful sleep at night, which could result in better energy levels the following day. Otherwise, it won’t boost your energy levels.
Nutritional Facts and Calories of Spearmint Tea
Spearmint tea is full of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids.
Some of the most useful nutrients include vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin K, flavonoids, iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, and folate.
Spearmint tea only contains negligible calories, provided you don’t add any milk or sweeteners.
Health Benefits of Spearmint Tea
As with other types of mint tea, spearmint also offers plenty of health benefits. Spearmint tastes a little sweeter than peppermint, so you’ll likely also find it more enjoyable without added sugar or sweetener.
Below are some of the top benefits you’ll get from adding spearmint tea to your diet.
May Increase Your Fertility and Help with PCOS
Studies have shown that spearmint can decrease testosterone and other male hormones, while also increasing some of the hormones women need to ovulate.
In other words, spearmint may well boost your fertility. For the same reasons it’s also said to be beneficial for women suffering with PCOS.
Spearmint tea can reduce the effects of hyperandrogenism, including hair loss, abnormal hair growth, acne, and more.
Possibly Helps Improve Your Memory
Spearmint tea may help improve your memory and diminish memory problems in older people.
One study suggested that daily consumption of spearmint extracts gave people a 15 percent improvement on their working memory and 9 percent on spatial working memory.
This would mean a lot to dementia patients and those at risk of developing dementia in particular.
Helps With Digestive Issues Such as Bloating and Constipation
Both spearmint tea and spearmint oil have been shown to help relieve digestive issues. Spearmint tea helps relax the muscles in your stomach, which can ease digestive problems including nausea, flatulence, cramps, and constipation.
This also makes spearmint tea a good idea for PMS symptoms, particularly period cramps. The overall relaxation of your stomach muscles also contributes to an increased sense of wellbeing.
Freshens Bad Breath and Improves Oral Health
All types of mint tea tend to help freshen your breath. Spearmint is full of antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which help fight bacteria in your mouth.
This makes it helpful for ridding your body of the sources of bad breath, as well as easing sores and tooth infections. Spearmint tea is also a good natural addition for treating gingivitis and tooth decay.
Reduces Swelling and Inflammation in Your Body
Spearmint tea is full of anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation in your body. This, paired with the tea’s high levels of antioxidants, make it a helpful choice for protecting against some illnesses.
It’s said to offer a level of protection against heart disease, diabetes, and more, and reduce inflammation associated with many ailments.
Enjoy spearmint tea alongside traditional treatments, just be mindful that it may have negative interactions with medications such as sedatives and hepatotoxic drugs.
May Reduce Anxiety and Help with Sleep
In South East Asia, this delicious tea is popular for reducing levels of stress and anxiety, and promoting a good night’s sleep.
This is largely due to the presence of menthol, which helps calm your body and promotes a sense of refreshment and relaxation.
Menthol can help you breathe more easily, which also adds to a sense of wellbeing and better sleep. Breathing easily will decrease adrenaline and promote the production of melatonin, which in turn, again, helps you sleep.
As with any herbal tea or supplement, spearmint tea also comes with a range of risks. Most of these will only affect you if you consume far too much spearmint tea or have underlying health issues. Regardless, if you’re at all concerned, speak to your doctor before adding spearmint tea to your diet.
Excessive Amounts May Harm Your Liver
Spearmint tea could potentially worsen liver disease or increase the effects of hepatotoxic drugs. This may be because of its high content on vitamin A.
Up to two cups of spearmint tea per day should give you the benefits of this tea minus any side effects.
With that said, if you suffer from liver disease or take drugs that may already affect your liver, proceed with caution or talk to your doctor first.
May Cause Slower Breathing and Sleepiness
As spearmint tea is widely known to promote relaxation and sleep, it may also cause this in an unhelpful way. If you take sedatives, adding spearmint tea to your diet may cause you to become overly sleepy.
Spearmint tea is also said to cause slower breathing, which could become problematic when paired with sedatives.
Could Increase Kidney Damage
There is a chance that consuming too much spearmint tea may increase damage in those who already suffer from kidney problems. Spearmint could make some kidney disorders worse. The same goes for extracts or oils made from spearmint plants.
Is Spearmint Tea in Pregnancy Good For You?
Sadly, this one’s a no. Spearmint is on the ‘possibly unsafe’ list of foods to consume in pregnancy. In very large amounts, spearmint is said to potentially damage your uterus.
In small doses, spearmint is probably ok, but we’d recommend speaking to your doctor first if you really crave it.
A safer alternative is peppermint tea, which is fine to have during pregnancy. Just avoid it in the first trimester if you’re being extra cautious, and then enjoy peppermint for its helpful effects on digestion, nausea, and headaches.
One thing to consider is that some pregnant women appear to be really sensitive to herbal teas and supplements, particularly in the first trimester.
You’ll also want to be mindful of using homegrown mint, as some can be toxic. Always make sure you know what you’re using, use the highest quality available to you, and speak to a doctor if in doubt.
Simple Guide for Making the Perfect Spearmint Tea
Spearmint tea couldn’t be easier to make at home. It’s particularly lovely if you have fresh spearmint growing in your garden or on a balcony.
Fresh herbs are always more nutritious than dried ones. Drying spearmint tea does mean it loses some nutrients in the process.
With that said, you should always make sure you know exactly what herb you’re working with. The mint family is generally safe, with the exception of deadly toxic pennyroyal and the more easily distinguishable perilla mint.
This recipe uses luscious, fresh spearmint with all of its zingy and sweet flavors. Experiment by adding a mix of spearmint and peppermint, honey, and/or lemon.
- 2 cups of water
- 2 sprigs of fresh spearmint
And here’s how you do it:
- Gently bring the water to a boil. In the meantime, add a sprig each of spearmint to cups or serving glasses.
- Pour the hot water into each cup and allow it to steep for up to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Tips for Drinking and Serving Spearmint Tea
Spearmint tea is flavorful and fragrant all on its own, but you may be wondering how else you could enjoy it. Here are some helpful tips and hacks to incorporate spearmint tea into delicious beverages… and more.
Combine Spearmint with Ginger and Lemon
Lemon is known for its large content of vitamin C, while ginger can soothe nausea and help with cold symptoms.
Add these to spearmint tea for a powerhouse of nutrients, which are particularly helpful when you’re feeling under the weather. This combination is also delicious cold, for a sugar free iced tea alternative.
Make Gunpowder and Spearmint Lemonade
You can make a refreshing yet healthy lemonade at home using spearmint and a handful of other ingredients. Steep a mixture of gunpowder green tea and spearmint tea and cool to room temperature.
Mix in sugar, lemon juice, a few fresh sprigs of spearmint, and ice. Enjoy. Just be sure to make a large batch if you’re entertaining, as this will be a popular drink on a hot day.
Make a Refreshing Spearmint-Based Sorbet
Sorbets make a delicious dessert, but they can also be added to drinks and cocktails to cool them and give them a bit of extra flavor. Spearmint pairs beautifully with refreshing cucumber or fruity raspberries.
You’ll get all the benefits of spearmint tea, but in a vibrant new way. For an extra special treat, add homemade spearmint sorbet to both alcoholic and virgin mojitos.