Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Ivy

Mint is a generic term for a family of herbs that includes peppermint, marjoram, oregano and others. The high antioxidant content of mint is thought to reduce the effects of oxidative stress, and mint consumption may prevent or treat many conditions and diseases.

The Use of Mint to Treat Diseases

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of female infertility, and is characterized by excessive male hormones that result in hirsutism, menstrual irregularities, and ovarian cysts. In one study, two cups of marjoram tea a day for a period of one month produced beneficial effects on the hormonal profiles of women.  But the study did not last long enough to confirm that actual symptoms improved. What is known about PCOS is that reducing one’s intake of dietary glycotoxins may help prevent and treat the disease.

Treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with peppermint oil has also been tested.   Nine randomized placebo-controlled studies have found peppermint oil to be a safe and effective treatment for IBS when compared to medications that carried significant costs and side effects.

Mint as a Colon Anti-spasmodic

Taking a few peppermint oil capsules four hours before a colonoscopy has been shown to reduce colon spasm, which in turn reduces patient pain and discomfort and makes the scope easier to insert and withdraw.

Effects of Mint on DNA and Hirsutism

Laboratory studies have demonstrated the ability of oregano to reduce the DNA-damaging effects of radiation, but the effect of oregano in actual human beings (in vivo) has not been studied.

Excess body hair in women, called hirsutism, is caused by excess testosterone.  Because of the anti-androgenic effects of peppermint tea, women who drink two cups of peppermint tea a day may experience a drop in free testosterone levels by approximately 30%. Caution is recommended however, as heavy mint consumption may adversely affect sexual health by lowering libido.

Placebo Effect

Some reported effects of mint usage appear to be due to the placebo effect, so it is important to consult with a reliable source of information before purchasing mint products or essential oils for personal use.

For substantiation of any statements of fact from the peer-reviewed medical literature, please see the associated videos below.

Image Credit: Darya Pino / Flickr. This image has been modified.

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