A guest blog by Ashley Rogers
The blog below is written by Ashley Rogers. Ashley is one of my Admins on our PCOS Facebook support group. She has spent many years researching and reading studies in order to help her own PCOS symptoms. Like many of us Ashley does also see her doctor regularly, but also is aware that Natural treatments seem to sometimes be are best bet with ridding ourselves of certain symptoms. We both love spearmint and when I requested she write a guest blog for me, we both instantly said Spearmint! I also firmly support the use of spearmint tea and capsules and have seen the benefits. You can grow your own, as it grows very easily in a planted in a pot or outside in a garden, purchase the dry leaves or tea online and/or get the spearmint in capsule form. The best price I have found is from Swanson brand vitamins. To talk more with Ashley, please click the tag above to join our private Facebook group. She always makes herself available for advice.
“When I first started looking at natural ways to treat PCOS, I came across Spearmint. Spearmint can help with PCOS? I asked myself and I dug into some research. I started taking capsules and drinking tea last year. My total testosterone levels went from an 89 to a 31 and the amount of hirsutism has reduced to the point I still get some stray hairs but nothing like I was getting or any new growth.
I used to get capsules from Swanson vitamins online and sometimes still do if I run out of fresh at home. And I used to buy leaves from natural grocery, sprouts or a local place. Or I'd buy leaves online in bulk and organic. The tea is just the leaves so make sure you get one that is just the leaves or you won't get enough. I sometimes black or green tea to my spearmint, but always focus on the correct amount of spearmint before adding other things. To make the tea I usually fill up typically between 3-4 tablespoons in a steeper and seep in a gallon of water for a few hours. And drink at least two cups a day (and/or take two capsules twice a day) At this point in time I have a hydro set up for my Spearmint plants so I have a source year round. Spearmint is very easy to grow, and actually becomes like a noxious weed once established. I once planted some in my pallet garden and it took over my pallet. So just be aware of that.
I believe it is extremely important to point out that the leaves are the only beneficial part of spearmint for PCOS and the use of oil can actually be detrimental as the oil doesn’t contain the right oil extracted from the plant (there are several different oils and compounds from the plant) the oil and compounds they extract for essential oils is actually used by body builders to increase testosterone and gain muscles. Which is actually the exact opposite of what we use spearmint for right? But just like many plants, there are different parts of the plant that are beneficial for different things.
Why does it work? It reduces our androgen levels....see the below study.
"Hirsutism in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), consequent to elevated androgen levels leads to significant cosmetic and psychological problems. Recent research in Turkey has shown that spearmint tea has antiandrogenic properties in females with hirsutism. No research has yet been undertaken to assess whether a reduction in androgen levels brought about by spearmint tea, translates to a clinical improvement in the degree of hirsutism. This study was a two centre, 30 day randomized controlled trial. Forty-two volunteers were randomized to take spearmint tea twice a day for a 1-month period and compared with a placebo herbal tea. At 0, 15 and 30 days of the study serum androgen hormone levels and gonadotrophins were checked, the degree of hirsutism was clinically rated using the Ferriman-Galwey score and a questionnaire (the modified DQLI = Dermatology Quality of Life Index) was used to assess improvements in the level of self-reported hirsutism. Forty-one of 42 patients completed the study. Free and total testosterone levels were significantly reduced over the 30-day period in the spearmint tea group (p < 0.05). LH and FSH also increased (p < 0.05). Patient's subjective assessments of their degree of hirsutism scored by the modified DQLI were significantly reduced in the spearmint tea group (p < 0.05). There was, however, no significant reduction in the objective Ferriman-Galwey ratings of hirsutism between the two trial groups over the trial duration (p = 0.12). There was a clear and significant alteration in the relevant hormone levels. This is associated clinically with a reduction in the self-reported degree of hirsutism but unfortunately not with the objectively rated score. It was demonstrated and confirmed that spearmint has antiandrogen properties, the simple fact that this does not clearly translate into clinical practice is due to the relationship between androgen hormones and follicular hair growth and cell turnover time. Simply put, the study duration was not long enough. The original studies from Turkey were in fact only 5 days long. The time taken for hirsutism to resolve is significant and a much longer future study is proposed as the preliminary findings are encouraging that spearmint has the potential for use as a helpful and natural treatment for hirsutism in PCOS."
For more information on spearmint please see this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17310494
Photo credit is also to Ashley Rogers – this is her very own hydro garden of spearmint.