Spearmint May Cut Excess Hair in Women

Drinking spearmint tea may spur an hormonal shift that
helps women curb unwanted hair (hirsutism), a Turkish study shows.

If confirmed in other studies, spearmint may become an alternative to
hormonal treatments for the condition, write the researchers at Suleyman
Demirel University's medical school in Isparta, Turkey.

Mehmet Akdogan and colleagues studied 21 hirsute women seen at their
endocrinology clinic.

Twelve of the women had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal
condition that often involves hirsutism. The cause of the hirsutism was unclear
in the other nine women.

The researchers asked the women to drink spearmint tea twice a day for five
days. The tea was brewed by pouring boiling water over a heaping teaspoon of
dried spearmint leaves.

Blood tests showed that the women's levels of androgens -- hormones that
include testosterone -- dipped after drinking the spearmint tea for the five
days.

It's normal for women to have androgens, but having high androgen levels and
hair follicles that are sensitive to androgen can lead to hirsutism, Akdogan's
team notes.

The hormonal shift the women experienced after drinking spearmint tea might
reduce hirsutism, the researchers say.

However that's not certain, since the study lasted only five days and didn't
include any before-and-after measurements of the women's excess hair.

The study appears in the "Early View" online edition of
Phytotherapy Research.

B

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
B)2005-2006 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved