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Spearmint may reduce excess female hair
Ian Sample, science correspondent
Tuesday February 20, 2007
.co.uk/science/ story/0,, 2017055,00. html
Drinking two cups of spearmint tea a day could help women lose excessive
body hair by lowering levels of sex hormones in their blood, scientists
Women who drank tea leaves from the spearmint plant, Mentha spicata, for
five consecutive days had reduced levels of a sex hormone believed to
trigger hirsutism, a condition where thick, dark hairs sprout on the face,
stomach and breasts.
The disorder is linked to a hormonal imbalance and is common among women
with polycystic ovary syndrome, which affects 5-10% of women of
childbearing age. It is usually treated with drugs that block the hormones
working, or the contraceptive pill, which cuts the available testosterone
in the bloodstream.
The study focused on 21 women aged from 18 to 40. Twelve had polycystic
ovary syndrome. Blood tests revealed that after drinking the tea,
testosterone was cut by 29%, while factors thought to impair hair growth
"Current therapies use either oral contraceptives to suppress androgen
production, or medications such as spirolactone that prevent the body
responding to androgen, but this study shows that spearmint could be a
good natural alternative for women who have mild symptoms," said Mehmet
Tamer, an endocrinologist at Suleyman Demirel University in Isparta,
Turkey. The study appears in the journal Phytotherapy Research.
The team decided to study the effects of spearmint after reports emerged
of men experiencing reduced libidos after consuming the drink over long
"For many women with hirsutism, it is an exceptionally distressing
problem," said Valerie Randall, an expert in hormones and hair growth at
Bradford University. "The difficulty with natural remedies is knowing how
much, if any, of the active ingredient is in a batch of leaves."
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