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Spearmint is a pleasant-smelling species of mint often used in medicine for its claimed therapeutic properties.
The herb is found in health food products, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and cosmetics.
Spearmint is loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and vital nutrients. Despite having a very similar aroma to peppermint, spearmint does not contain as much menthol, but is rich in limonene, dihydrocarvone and cineol.
Along with other herbs belonging to the mint family, spearmint has a square shaped stem. Its leaves are around 5 to 9 cm long and 1.5 to 3 cm broad, the tips of the leaves are pointed (much like spears), hence its name "spearmint".
|Energy - 44 Kcal||Carbohydrates - 8.41 g|
|Fat - 0.73 g||Protein - 3.29 g|
|Iron - 11.87 mg||Manganese - 1.118 mg|
|Copper - 0.240 mg||Potassium - 458 mg|
|Riboflavin - 0.175 mg||Pyridoxine - 0.158 mg|
|Vitamin C - 13.3 mg||Cholesterol - 0 mg|
|Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) - 0.061 mg||Vitamin B6 - 0.041 mg|
|Folate (vitamin B9) - 3 μg||Vitamin C - 4.6 mg|
There are many health claims associated with the consumption of the herb. Some people consume spearmint to help alleviate symptoms of nausea, indigestion, gas, headache, toothache, cramps, and sore throat. Spearmint is also applied topically (to the skin) to help reduce swelling due to nerve or muscle pain.
Health benefits associated with spearmint:
Antioxidant activity - a report, published in the Journal of Chemistry, revealed that spearmint extract has "good total phenolic and flavonoid contents. It exhibited excellent antioxidant activity1, as measured by β-carotene bleaching and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assays."
Antifungal properties - spearmint essential oil is associated with a number of antifungal properities2, according to a study presented at the 2011 International Conference on Environmental and Agriculture Engineering.
Relieving symptoms of digestive problems - spearmint may help relax the stomach muscles, reducing symptoms of nausea and other digestive problems. According to a review of the potential health benefits of spearmint tea, published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, "human studies on the GI, respiratory tract and analgesic effects of peppermint oil and its constituents have been reported".3 However, more research is necessary to back this claim.
Treating hirutism (abnormal hair growth) - There is very promising data published in the journal Phytotherapy Research showing that drinking two cups of spearmint tea a day for five days could reduce the level of androgens in women with hirsutism. Women with hirsutism grow hair on their face, breasts, and stomach. This can cause a great deal of distress. The hair grows because of excessively high levels of the 'masculinizing' androgen hormones.
Other health conditions that spearmint may be effective at treating, include:
Recent developments on the health benefits associated with spearmint from MNT news
Spearmint and rosemary extracts found to improve memory. Prof. Susan Farr, from Saint Louis University School of Medicine, presented findings to suggest that antioxidants from spearmint and rosemary made into an enhanced extract may help improve learning and memory, which could help with age-related cognitive decline.
Spearmint contains a much lower level of menthol than other mint species, which makes it less pungent and more desirable to use in health drinks and cooking.
Below are a few serving suggestions:
Written by Joseph Nordqvist
Copyright: Medical News Today
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Nordqvist, Joseph. "What are the health benefits of spearmint?." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 17 Sep. 2013. Web.
7 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266128>
Nordqvist, J. (2013, September 17). "What are the health benefits of spearmint?." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
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