Safety and tolerability of a dried aqueous spearmint extract
Spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) and spearmint extracts are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use as flavoring in beverages, pharmaceuticals, and confectionaries. Studies of spearmint extracts in humans and animals have reported conflicting results with respect to toxicity. Since the chemical composition of these extracts was not reported and the spearmint source material was different, the relevance of these existing data to evaluating the risks associated with ingestion of a dried aqueous spearmint extract standardized to rosmarinic acid is not clear. Hence, the safety and tolerability of the dried aqueous spearmint extract was evaluated as part of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in healthy adults with age-associated memory impairment. Ingestion of both 600 and 900 mg/day for 90 days had no effect on plasma levels of follicular stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, or thyroid stimulating hormone, or other safety parameters including vital signs, plasma chemistry or whole blood hematology values. Additionally, there were no reported severe adverse events, no significant between-group differences in the number of subjects reporting adverse effects and the adverse events reported could not be attributed to ingestion of the extract. These results therefore show that ingestion of the aqueous dried spearmint extract is safe and well-tolerated.