Herbal Profile: Spearmint |

Herbal Profile: Spearmint

Sarena-Rae Santos March 29, 2017

What is Spearmint

Spearmint, also known as Mentha spicata, is a captivating perennial, similar to peppermint and part of the mint family. Common names for this herb include Garden mint, Lamb’s mint, Our Lady’s Mint, Spire Mint, and Sage of Bethlehem (1). This herb has radiant green leaves pointed with lavender flower spikes that can grow up to four inches long and are native to the Mediterranean. Spearmint has a pleasantly sweet flavor and is frequently used to flavor toothpaste, mouthwash, chewing gum, and candy. 

Health Benefits of Spearmint

Spearmint is a highly aromatic plant valued for its culinary, medicinal, and cosmetic uses, including:

May Help with Digestive Upsets

Spearmint is frequently utilized to relieve digestive upsets such as indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and gas. In an eight-week randomized study of 32 people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), one group took a product containing spearmint, lemon balm, and coriander along with loperamide for diarrhea. They also took psyllium for constipation. There was also a placebo group in the study. The study outcomes demonstrated that the severity and frequency of abdominal pain and discomfort were remarkably lower in the spearmint group than in the placebo group (2). In another study, when spearmint essential oil was applied to the skin topically, there was a significant reduction in the incidence of nausea and vomiting compared to the placebo group (3).

Rich In Antioxidants

Antioxidants can help fight damage from harmful free radicals. The buildup of free radicals can lead to oxidative stress, linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease (4). Two tablespoons of spearmint can provide approximately two percent of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C, another potent antioxidant important for overall well-being (5). In one study, spearmint extract prevented fat oxidation in meat and was as productive as the synthetic antioxidant, Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), proving excellent antioxidant activity against free radicals (6).

Antibacterial Properties

An antibacterial property is when a substance, or in this case, an herb, can destroy or suppress the growth and reproduction of bacteria (7). Studies have found that spearmint essential oil is effective against several harmful bacterias, including Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and one Candida species (8). Another study found spearmint essential oil effective against eleven Lamiaceae species, including Coridothymus capitatus L., Lavandula stoechas L., Lavandula angustifolia Mill., Mentha spicata L. subsp. condensata, Origanum syriacum L., Rosmarinus officinalis, Salvia fruticosa Miller., Satureja cuneifolia Ten., Satureja thymbra L., Thymbra spicata L., and Vitex agnus-castus L. (9).

May Help Reduce Stress

Spearmint tea may help promote relaxation. Spearmint alleviates stress because the leaves of this plant contain menthol, which has a relaxing, sedative-like effect on the body. It’s assumed that spearmint encourages relaxation and eases stress by interacting with GABA receptors, the neurotransmitters that reduce nerve activity in your brain (10). In an animal study, spearmint extract reduced anxiety and enhanced sleep quality (11).

May Improve Arthritis Pain

Arthritis is a common disorder characterized by inflammation of the joints (12). Spearmint may help relieve joint pain caused by arthritis. An extensive study review was conducted on a collection of both animal and human studies. The study review concluded that essential oils made from spearmint had pain-relieving effects (13). A 16-week-long study found that 62 people with arthritis of the knee who consumed spearmint tea twice per day had decreased stiffness and physical disability. At the same time, a spearmint tea high in rosmarinic acid alleviated the same symptoms and diminished pain (14).

May Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Spearmint tea may help decrease blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. In an animal study, rats were administered a spearmint extract equal to 9 mg per pound of body weight per day. While healthy rats seemed unaffected, rats with diabetes had remarkably lower blood sugar levels (15). In a 21-week-long animal study, they discovered diabetic rats given 136 mg per pound of body weight per day of this type of spearmint extract showed a 25% reduction in blood sugar levels (16). Although animal studies have shown promising results, human-based studies on this potential effect are lacking.

May Help Lower Blood Pressure Levels

High blood pressure increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death here in America. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of Americans have uncontrolled high blood pressure in America (17). (-)-carvone is a compound in spearmint that has been demonstrated to behave similarly to calcium-channel blockers, the pharmaceutical drug used to treat high blood pressure. This drug has side effects like constipation, dizziness, fast heartbeat (palpitations), fatigue, flushing, headache, nausea, rash, swelling in the feet and lower legs, and more (18). In one animal study, (-)-carvone was proven to be 100 times more potent at easing blood vessel contractions than verapamil, a commonly used blood pressure pharmaceutical drug (19). Although animal studies have shown promising results, human-based studies on this potential effect are lacking.

May Aid Women with Hormonal Imbalances

For women struggling with hormonal imbalance, spearmint can influence every cell in their body with side effects like bloating, fatigue, irritability, hair loss, palpitations, mood swings, problems with blood sugar, trouble concentrating, infertility, and more (20). In an animal study, spearmint essential oil reduced testosterone and ovarian cysts and enhanced the number of viable eggs in rat ovaries (21). This isn’t just in animals; studies in women have also indicated that spearmint can decline male hormones like testosterone while rising female hormones necessary for ovulation, such as luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and estradiol. For instance, in a five-day study, 21 women with hormone imbalances consumed two cups of spearmint tea a day, and their testosterone decreased, and their LH, FSH, and estradiol levels increased (22). In a randomized 30-day study, 42 women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who drank spearmint tea twice a day had reduced testosterone levels and raised LH and FSH levels than women who consumed the placebo tea (23).

May Improve Memory

There’s some evidence that spearmint may help improve memory. Animal studies have indicated that mice given a spearmint extract encountered enhanced learning and memory, as revealed by their adequate execution on a maze test (24). In a study focusing on seniors with memory impairment, those offered daily supplements containing 900 mg of spearmint extract experienced a 15 percent improvement in their available memory (25).

Safety Concerns

As per Dr. Axe, spearmint is safe for most people when consumed in amounts commonly found in food. When taken as a medicinal substance or applied topically to the skin, it is generally considered safe when used appropriately.

If you are pregnant, it’s important to know that excessive use of this herb in tea or any other form, such as a spearmint supplement, may damage the uterus. Therefore, avoiding large amounts of this herb during pregnancy is recommended.

Spearmint may harm the liver or kidneys in large doses. If you already have liver or kidney disease, it’s important to know that this herb may increase liver or kidney damage, especially in large quantities. Even spearmint tea’s side effects may include liver and/or kidney damage if the tea is drunk in excess (26).

Spearmint could reduce milk supply in breastfeeding mothers. Although it’s not as common as people think, it’s important to note for those with a spearmint sensitivity. Additionally, I do not recommend ingesting essential oils; for more information regarding oil ingestion, check out our post, Why You Shouldn’t Ingest Essential Oils.

How to Use Spearmint

You can find spearmint in dried bulk, teas, capsules, powders, extracts, essential oils, and even herbal tinctures. Tinctures always contain the most concentrated amount of herbs.  Teas are also options. If you’re a DIY person, some great starter recipes are:

Follow the recommendations of any supplement; some of my recommendations include:

    • Earthley’s Charcoal Facial Bar is an all-natural facial bar to help cleanse and detox your skin. Charcoal is all the rage, and for a good reason. We added plant-based butter to balance any potential drying effect to create the perfect cleansing bar, even for sensitive skin. Earthley makes this unique soap unscented or with spearmint essential oil for added tingle and benefits. This facial bar can also be used for the whole body.
    • Earthley’s Energy Plus {Herbal Iron} is made with herbs rich in iron and vitamin C to increase energy naturally. This tincture supports a natural energy boost, endurance throughout the day, and restful sleep at night. Unlike synthetic vitamins, our herbal iron provides natural energy from the earth in amounts your body can adequately absorb. Plus, there are no unwanted side effects!
    • Earthley’s Eucalyptus-Spearmint Dish Soap Bar provides a pure, low-waste clean for dishes. This soap can effectively hand-wash dirty dishes using natural and effective ingredients. 
    • Earthley’s Nourish Her Naturally is formulated specifically for women, Nourish Her Naturally is an herbal multivitamin made to fortify, improve, and nurture the female body. This tincture includes herbs packed with vitamins and minerals to help balance hormones, boost energy levels, and promote overall wellness. Herbal multivitamins use the power of nature rather than isolated mega-doses (which can create imbalances in the body). It is safe for ages 1+ and can also be used as a prenatal.
    • Earthley’s Nourish Me Naturally is an herbal multivitamin for everyone providing an organic way to help your body get the nutrients it needs. It is formulated to provide your body with safe and adequate vitamins and minerals it can adequately absorb, made from actual, whole herbs (not isolates or synthetics). Don’t guess the nutrition you need; use what the earth provides!
    • Earthley’s Remineralizing Tooth Powder (Mint) is a 100% natural and fluoride-free option for healthy, clean teeth. This tooth powder is whitening and remineralizing, so it will help improve the look, strength, and health of your gums and mouth. It is not recommended for people with metal-based tooth fillings.
  • Earthley’s Tummy Soothe Essential Oil Blend is designed for unhappy tummies. Soothe upset stomachs with a gentle massage. We’ve combined dill weed, bergamot-mint, and spearmint oils to fight bloating, gas, and indigestion.

Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and nothing in this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything. If you have questions, please do your own research or seek advice from a health professional.

If you have spearmint in your natural medicine cabinet, how do you use it?

This is the writings of:

Sarena-Rae Santos
Sarena-Rae Santos' journey to natural health began in 2019 when she swayed away from allopathic medicine after becoming wheelchair-bound due to the side effects of 20+ medications. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and dizziness due to nystagmus were the sources of her many health complications. Sarena's symptoms diminished after adopting a healthier lifestyle surrounding whole foods and herbs, leaving her a fantastic quality of life and a passion for educating people.

1 Comment

  1. […] based, but even more ideally… whole-plant based.Herbs like dandelion, nettle, catnip, spearmint, and red raspberry leaf are powerhouses of micronutrients that contain a plethora of vitamins and […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

Meet My Family
Love our content? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get our FREE Nourished Living Cookbook!