Feminized by mint tea?
December 18, 2011 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Will mint tea significantly affect levels of free testosterone if I (male) drink it a few times a week? Is there more than a hypothetical risk of some sort of endocrine disruption?
posted by phrontist to Science & Nature (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We have had major complaints about the adverse effects of these herbs on the male reproductive system such as diminished libido. Clinicians have investigated whether the men who live in Yenisar Bademli town and the Anamas high plateau of Isparta city have been admitted to hospitals with complaints of a diminished libido. They found that daily consumption of 4 cups of tea steeped with M. spicata or M. piperita (2 cups each morning and evening) resulted in this symptom.

This detail is provided without citation. I'd contact the authors of the paper and see if they can elaborate with other data.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:51 PM on December 18, 2011

Best answer: The whole article is here (I don't know if that's behind a paywall or not.) From the last paragraph:
The mean daily water consumption of rats has been found to be 10 to 12 mL/100 g/day. Therefore, in the present study, the consumption level of the teas for a rat could be estimated at 1.5 g/kg body weight daily in the 20 g/L M. piperita group, 2.2 g/kg body weight daily in the 20 g/L M. spicata group, and 4.4 g/kg body weight daily in the 40 g/L M. spicata group. The differences in the daily tea consumption of the rats was thought to be a result of the taste differences between M. piperita and M. spicata. One cup of peppermint tea includes approximately 5 g peppermint as dried leaves. Thus, when considering the body weight of humans in proportion to rats, the risk of toxicity does not appear to be valid for people who drink M. piperita and M. spicata tea. However, if large amounts of these herbals are consumed as fresh food supplement, the levels of intake could be increased and the risk should be considered."

A quick search revealed this isn't a well-studied topic . Still, mint tea's been a cornerstone of social life in Arab countries for centuries, so I might not worry too much.
posted by gingerest at 9:32 PM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: To elaborate on gignerest's response, the smallest amount of tea tested in that study (1.5 g/kg) is quite large. For a 80 kg person (176 pounds), that would be 120 grams of tea per day, or 4.2 ounces. A normal big mug of tea uses 6 grams of tea, so the experiment was like drinking 20 mugs a day.
posted by exogenous at 5:03 AM on December 19, 2011

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