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Drinking two cups of spearmint tea each day may help women with excessive hair growth, reports a Turkish study. Hirsutism in women is caused by too many "masculinizing" androgen hormones; the result is hair growth on the face, breasts, and stomach.
In a study at Suleyman Demirel University, researchers made a cup of spearmint tea by pouring one cup of boiling water over one heaping teaspoon of dried spearmint and allowing it to steep for five to 10 minutes. Twenty-one female volunteers with hirsutism drank the tea twice a day for five days of their menstrual cycle, reported the BBC.
Results showed a significant decrease in active testosterone in the blood and an increase of several female hormones, including the reproductive follicle-stimulating hormone.
Researchers suggest that spearmint may affect the metabolism of hormones such as testosterone or directly affect the production of androgen hormones.
"Current therapies [for hirsutism] use either oral contraceptives to suppress androgen production, or medications such as spironolactone that prevent the body responding to androgen," said lead researcher Mehmet Numan Tamer in a statement. "But this study shows that spearmint could be a good natural alternative for women who have mild symptoms. We now need to do further studies to test the reliability of this finding."
Tamer and associates decided to study the effects of spearmint on hirsutism after previous reports showed extracts of the spearmint plant reduces libido in men, possibly as a result of lower androgen levels. (The Advocate)