Often women who have a high level of androgens, male sex hormones, can find themselves plucking stray hairs from their face and body. This is of particular concern with the endocrine disorder, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), where acne, weight gain – particularly around the belly, menstrual irregularity, and fertility issues are other common symptoms.
Often GPs will prescribe an oral contraceptive pill to suppress the production of androgens, however this is far from an ideal solution, not least because it can cause a myriad of additional unwanted side effects. A few years ago, a study showed that taking two cups daily of spearmint tea for less than a week was enough to significantly lower the blood levels of free testosterone in women. This is a wonderful breakthrough for many women who suffer from mild hirsutism as a side effect of hormonal imbalance.
To achieve the results of the trial, you can make spearmint tea by using a teaspoon of dried leaves to a cup of boiled water, twice daily. You can also make a cold infusion from fresh leaves to get optimal benefits from the herb, by chopping about ¼ cup of fresh spearmint leaves and standing them in a pint of pure water for 6 hours or overnight. Once prepared, this infusion can be gently heated if you prefer a hot drink.
Combine the daily spearmint tea with a diet favouring slow-release foods, such as fresh fruits, proteins, and legumes for maximum benefit. Avoid refined carbohydrates, such as sugars, pasta, bread, rice, and processed foods in order to keep insulin release and androgen levels in check. Another herb well worth investigating if you have PCOS is Agnus castus (also known as chaste berry), which has a long history of use in treating endocrine disorders.