What is it?
Spearmint is used to improve memory, digestion, stomach problems, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
How effective is it?
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:
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...
- Decline in memory and thinking skills that normally occurs with age. Early research shows that taking an extract of a special type of spearmint daily might help with thinking skills in older adults who have started to notice problems with thinking.
- Memory and thinking skills (cognitive function). Taking spearmint extract might improve attention in some people. But any benefit seems to be small. Spearmint extract doesn't seem to improve most other measures of memory and thinking skills. Chewing spearmint-flavored gum doesn't appear to improve any measures of memory of thinking skills in healthy adults.
- 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.
- A long-term disorder of the small intestines that causes stomach pain (irritable bowel syndrome or 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.
- Gas (flatulence).
- Muscle pain.
- Skin conditions.
- Sore throat.
- Other conditions.
How does it work?
Are there safety concerns?
When applied to the skin: Spearmint is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin. It might cause an allergic reaction in some people. But this is rare.
Special precautions & warnings:Pregnancy: Spearmint is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts during pregnancy. Very large doses of spearmint tea might damage the uterus. Avoid using large amounts of spearmint during pregnancy.
Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if spearmint is safe to use when 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.
Are there interactions with medications?
- 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.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
- Herbs and supplements that might harm the liver
- Spearment might harm the liver. Using it along with other natural products that may also harm the liver may increase the chance of liver damage. Some of these products include androstenedione, chaparral, comfrey, DHEA, germander, niacin, pennyroyal oil, red yeast, and others.
- Herbs and supplements with sedative properties
- Spearmint contains a chemical that might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking spearmint and using natural products that also cause sleepiness might cause too much sleepiness and drowsiness. Some of these include 5-HTP, calamus, California poppy, catnip, hops, Jamaican dogwood, kava, St. John's wort, skullcap, valerian, yerba mansa, and others.
Are there interactions with foods?
- There are no known interactions with foods.
What dose is used?
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
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