All About Spearmint

Breath-freshening is just the start of this herb’s superpowers.

By Kellee Katagi

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What is it?

A popular and tasty herb—native to Europe and Asia but naturalized throughout most of the world—that’s stocked with antioxidants and antifungal components.

Use it for:

Fighting nausea and other digestive issues, reducing excessive hair growth, improving memory and sleep.

The science:

Spearmint extract (900 mg per day) might boost short-term memory and the ability to fall asleep, suggest a few studies, including a recent one with older adults, published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. A few preliminary studies also hint that drinking two cups of spearmint tea a day could reduce hormones that lead to excessive male-pattern hair growth in women. Various research also indicates that mint can relax stomach muscles, relieve nausea and possibly provide other digestive benefits.

How to take it:

Spearmint is available in capsules, as an extract or essential oil, and in the form of tea.

Spearmint vs. peppermint

The peppermint plant is a hybrid of spearmint and the lesser-known water mint. Peppermint has more menthol, which makes it a stronger anti-inflammatory but also irritating to some.

Why “spear”-mint?

The name derives from the plant’s pointy leaves.

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