Spearmint oil benefits often vary, from reducing stress and anxiety to balancing hormones in women and improving arthritis-related pain.
This perennial plant, which is also known by its botanical name Mentha spicata, is part of the mint family and originally hails from Asian and Europe.
Whilst it is often associated with chewing gums and toothpastes, spearmint contains a host of potential health benefits that are drawn upon by people all over the world.
So, what is spearmint essential oil good for? We offer 10 good reasons why the oil could provide the solution to a host of common health conditions.
Spearmint oil benefits
The many benefits of spearmint oil mean it could:
1. Help hormone imbalances
Studies have shown that spearmint tea could offer some help for women with hormone imbalances, by decreasing testosterone and increasing ovulation-related hormones such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
For example, a study published in 2007 demonstrated how 21 women drinking 2 cups of spearmint tea for a period of 5 days experienced an increase in FSH, LH and oestradiol, whilst testosterone levels were lowered.
A few years later, a randomised 30-day study involving 42 women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) saw an increase in FSH and LH and a decrease in testosterone levels after drinking spearmint tea twice a day.
This was compared to another group of women who were asked to drink a placebo tea.
2. Reduce facial hair
Based on scientific research, it is believed that spearmint tea may also be able to reduce the growth of hair on the face, chest and abdomen of women.
One 5-day study required two groups of women to drink two cups of spearmint twice a day during the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle.
One group of 9 women had facial hair due to unknown causes, whilst the other group of 12 women had PCOS.
Due to the length of the study, researchers were unable to determine whether facial hair could be affected by spearmint tea, although they did find that testosterone levels were lowered.
3. Lower blood sugar
Human-based studies are needed to determine the potential effects of spearmint oil on people, although some progress has been made using animal models.
For example, a 2018 study saw a group of rats given a specific amount of spearmint extract every day.
One group of healthy rats remained unaffected, whilst another group of rats with diabetes saw a significant decrease in blood sugar levels.
One year earlier, researchers conducting a 21-day study in rats with diabetes, also saw a 25% reduction in blood sugar after the animals were given a set amount of spearmint extract every day.
4. Improve arthritis pain
Various studies have shown that spearmint could be used as a natural remedy to ease joint pain caused by arthritis.
In late-2014, researchers published the results of a study that had lasted for 16 weeks.
The tests involved 62 people with arthritis of the knee drinking spearmint tea twice a day.
Participants who drank regular spearmint tea saw a reduction in physical disability and stiffness, whilst those who drank spearmint tea high in rosmarinic acid experienced similar symptoms and less pain.
A conclusion was also reached in a large review of studies that mint-based essential oils offered pain-relieving effects.
5. Ease digestive issues
Many people use spearmint to ease symptoms related to nausea, indigestion, gas and vomiting.
Its ability to ease several digestive issues could be due to the carvone compound, which tests have shown is able to inhibit muscle contractions in the digestive tract.
32 people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) took part in an 8-week randomised trial, which required one group of the participants to take a product containing spearmint, coriander, lemon balm and psyllium for constipation or loperamide for diarrhoea.
The results showed that those who took a placebo did not have the same experience as those who took the spearmint-supplement, which helped to reduce discomfort, abdominal pain and bloating.
6. Increase the intake of antioxidants
Spearmint contains a host of antioxidant compounds, including rosmarinic acid, flavanones and flavones like menthol and limonene.
Antioxidants play a vital role in protecting the body against oxidative stress, which if allowed to build up, can lead to serious conditions such as cancer, diabetes and various heart diseases.
Research has shown that spearmint offers strong antioxidant activity against free radicals.
One study published in 2005 demonstrated that using a spearmint extract helped to prevent fat oxidation, whilst also proving to be as effective as the synthetic antioxidant, Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).
7. Boost memory recall
Both animal and human studies have produced positive results related to the use of spearmint oil as a memory enhancer.
Some studies have shown that the simple act of chewing mint-flavoured chewing could be beneficial for memory.
Additionally, a 2018 study saw a group of older adults experience a 15% improvement in working memory.
This was after they had taken a daily supplement containing 900mg of spearmint.
When mice were given a spearmint extract as part of a maze test, researchers saw that it helped to boost their learning and memory performance.
8. Reduce stress and anxiety
Stress-related spearmint oil benefits are enjoyed by many people as a way to combat negative thoughts and emotions.
It is also believed that the menthol contained in the plant also helps to create a relaxing, sedative effect on the body.
Some scientific studies have investigated spearmints ability to treat stress, with one rat study finding that regular use of a spearmint extract helped to lower anxiety levels and improve sleep.
Although research is ongoing, scientists believe that GABA brain receptors (which help to reduce nerve activity) are affected by the spearmint, which alleviates stress and promotes relaxation.
9. Decrease blood pressure
Animal studies have produced some positive results that indicate spearmint could play a role in decreasing blood pressure.
A study published in 2013 found that the carvone compound contained in spearmint can act in a similar way to some medications that are used to lower high blood pressure.
Another animal study conducted the same year also produced similar results.
It too focussed on the carvone compound, which compared to a commonly used blood pressure medication verapamil, was shown to be 100 times more potent at reducing blood vessel contractions.
10. Fight bacterial infections
Spearmint is often used as a breath-freshening agent in a wide range of toothpaste, breath mints and chewing gums.
However, thanks to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, spearmint has much more to offer, with some studies finding that it could help to eliminate bacteria responsible for causing bad breath.
For example, one study published in 2018 found that using spearmint essential oil was able to combat different forms of harmful bacteria.
Another study published a few years earlier found that spearmint could be effective against bacteria such as listeria and E.coli, which can be responsible for causing foodborne illnesses.
Whether you want to freshen up your breath or ease certain digestive issues, there are lots of spearmint oil benefits that may be able to help.
In answer to the question, “What is spearmint oil good for?”, its high levels of antioxidants and plant compounds could go a long way to resolving a host of mind and body-related health issues.
It is also important to note that if you want to enjoy spearmint oil as a tea drink, be sure only to use a food grade spearmint essential oil (Nikura does not sell food grade spearmint oil) as it is safer to consume.