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Spearmint (Mentha spicata,Mentha viridis)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Brook mint, bush mint, Clinopodium douglasii, curly leaf mint, English mint, garden mint, green mint, Kentucky colonel spearmint, Indian mint, lamb mint, Lamiaceae (family), menta verde, Mentha picata, Mentha spicata, Menthaspicata L. var. longifolia L., Menthaspicata L. var. spicata, mentha verde, Mentha veridis, Mentha viridis, menthe de Notre Dame, mint, Moroccan green mint, nana mint, our lady's mint, Ovcon®, pudina (India), sage of Bethlehem, Scotch spearmint, spear mint, spire mint, Touareg tea, yerba buena.
  • Combination product examples: Carmint (Melissa officinalis, Mentha spicata, and Coriandrum sativum); Zahraa (Alcea damascena, Aloysia triphylla, Astragalus cf. amalecitanus, Cercis siliquastrum, Colutea cilicica, Crataegus aronia, Cytisopsis pseudocytisus, Eleagnus angustifolia, Equisetum telmateia, Helichrysum stoechas, Matricaria recutita, Mentha longifolia, Mentha spicata, Micromeria myrtifolia, Paronychia argentea, Phlomis syriaca, Rosa damascena, Salvia fruticosa, Sambucus nigra, Spartium junceum, and Zea mays) (1).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Spearmint (Mentha viridis or Mentha spicata) is a species of mint plant native to Europe and Asia that grows well in nearly all temperate climates. The name is derived from the plant's spear-like pointed leaf tips. Spearmint is grown for its aromatic and carminative essential oil, referred to as oil of spearmint. Spearmint leaves can be used whole, chopped, dried, dried and ground, frozen, or preserved in salt, sugar, sugar syrup, alcohol, or oil.
  • Spearmint is an ingredient in several alcoholic drinks, such as the mojito and mint julep. Sweet tea, iced and flavored with spearmint, is a summer tradition in the southern United States. It is used as a flavoring for toothpaste and confectionery, and is sometimes added to shampoos and soaps. The cultivar Mentha spicata 'Nana', the Nana mint of Morocco, possesses a clear and pungent, but mild, aroma and is an essential ingredient of Touareg tea.
  • In folk medicine, spearmint has been used for gastrointestinal distress, respiratory problems, stomachache, dandruff, bad breath, and chronic bronchitis, and as an sedative, abortifacient, and emmenagogue (2).
  • Several clinical studies have reported that drinking spearmint tea helps reduce hirsutism in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) by suppressing androgen production and decreasing testosterone levels (3;4). There is preliminary evidence that an herbal combination product containing spearmint may be useful in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. There is conflicting evidence regarding whether chewing spearmint-flavored gum improves memory (5;6;7;8); it remains unclear if spearmint itself or the act of chewing improves memory.
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Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.