Are you certain that you want to finish that cup of mint tea? Keep reading to learn about the often-overlooked side effects of peppermint and spearmint teas and tisanes.
Positive Side Effects
Mint tea has been drunk for thousands of years for its health benefits. Steeping fresh leaves in pure water is a common remedy for heartburn and indigestion. The chemicals held within mint leaves tend to calm gastrointestinal spasms, reduce feelings of fullness, and promote the production of digestive juices for a healthier digestive system. Teas and mint supplements are frequently given before enemas or radiologic procedures to relax the colon. In addition, the distinct and potent smell of mint can help to relieve headaches.
Negative Side Effects
Despite its benefits, mint oil contributes to several negative side effects. The National Institutes of Health has determined that mint is largely safe when used in small quantities for short-periods, but the effects of long-term exposure are unknown. Some of the most common negative side effects of drinking mint tea include the following:
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): While many tea drinkers enjoy mint’s digestive relaxation properties, these same properties can cause complications in some patients. For example, relaxing stomach muscles too much can allow stomach acid to flow up the esophagus and aggravate symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Complications During and After Pregnancy: Doctors at the National Institutes of Health recommend that large quantities of mint be avoided for women who are pregnant or nursing. While the existing studies are not conclusive, mint tea may increase the chance of miscarriages.
Allergies: Menthol is one of the active chemicals in mint tea, so anyone who is allergic or has asthma should avoid mint and food products that contain mint. Generally menthol helps to clear sinuses and fights against bad breadth but for some people it causes negative effects.
The essential oil in mint tea can disrupt the intake of certain medications. It can cause too little medicine to be absorbed by the body, rendering the drugs ineffective, or too much absorption, resulting in an overdose. Patients should be cautious if they take any of the following drugs.
- Calcium carbonate
- Dihydroxyaluminum sodium carbonate
- Magnesium sulfate
- Aluminum hydroxide
Mint Tea Side Effects from Excessive Use
Like any other herbal supplement, OTC medication, or prescription drug, mint tea can have undesirable side effects if taken in larger-than-recommended quantities. Even in healthy individuals, the consumption of too much mint can lead to heartburn, diarrhea, cramps, headaches, mouth sores, flushing, tremors, drowsiness, and slow heart rate.
Doctors advise that the maximum mint tea strength should consist of no more than 1.5 tablespoons of mint leaves per cup of water. This infusion should be consumed no more than two or three times per day.
Mint tea can bring substantial benefits, but each of us must also understand the hidden consequences. By assessing your current health, understanding your reasons for drinking mint tea, and consulting with a physician, you can be able to enjoy this beverage hot or iced without compromising your health.