There’s nothing more agreeable than afternoon tea, according to Henry James’ novel The Portrait of a Lady, but no hot beverages can achieve for women what some online posts are claiming.
A Facebook post circulating among Pacific Islands pages says an onion and lemon tea recipe helps remedy irregular menstruation, thereby preventing early menopause. But women’s health experts told AAP FactCheck there is no evidence the brew can achieve either claim.
Changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle can be a symptom of early menopause, but are not a cause. Early menopause is defined as a woman’s periods stopping before the age of 45, whether naturally or as a side effect of some medical treatments or other factors.
But the post (screenshot here) suggests women can delay menopause by regulating periods with a cup of onion tea. The post’s text reads: “Onion Tea For Missed Period: This remedy is for those that have missed their periods. If your period is irregular not forth coming for long and you are seeking natural ways to bring them back try this recipe, do not go to early menopause.” The tea’s ingredients are onion, lemon and water.
Earlier versions of the post (see here) have generated thousands of shares with other examples here and a similar claim features on this blog. The posts originated in Africa and were debunked by Africa Check in October 2020.
Associate Professor Alex Polyakov, a gynaecologist and fertility specialist based at the University of Melbourne, told AAP FactCheck irregular periods cannot be equated to menopause.
“There are multiple common causes of irregular and infrequent periods,” Dr Polyakov said in an email.
“One of them is pregnancy, but there are others such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or hormone imbalance, such as thyroid dysfunction. Premature menopause is a rare cause of absent periods, while other causes are very common and do not themselves lead to premature menopause. The suggestion that irregular or infrequent periods lead to premature menopause is simply wrong.”
Experts also told AAP FactCheck there’s no evidence to support the claim that onion tea can regulate menstruation.
Rodney Baber, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Sydney, said in an email: “I do not personally know of any evidence to suggest onion tea might regulate menstruation. I did a quick search using medical search engines to check for any published data and could find none. So, I think the answer is no.”
Dr Polyakov said it was implausible that drinking onion tea with lemon juice would have any impact on either the timing or frequency of periods.
He says irregular and infrequent periods are serious problems and “the advice should be to seek medical help and to undertake appropriate investigations”.
For the claim the tea can delay menopause, both experts say it’s not possible.
Professor Baber said he was not aware of any research showing any tea could delay menopause. He said the age for menopause can be influenced by “the number of eggs you are born with or … the rate at which (ovarian follicles) get used up”.
Dr Polyakov said: “(Drinking onion tea with lemon juice) would certainly have no impact on the timing of menopause or its likelihood.”
A 2018 study from Leeds University investigated the relationship between diet and when menopause occurs. It found diet is associated with age at natural menopause in study participants, but there’s no mention of onion and lemon tea in the paper.
Study co-author Yashvee Dunneram told AAP FactCheck in an email: “We looked at the association between herbal tea and age at onset of menopause, but this was not statistically significant.”
Dr Dunneram said she had not found any studies to support the post’s claims.
A Facebook post’s claim onion tea can remedy irregular periods is false. The post links irregular periods with early menopause, but experts also say this is wrong.
Medical experts told AAP FactCheck the purported remedy won’t regulate menstrual cycles and advised women experiencing irregular periods to seek medical advice.
False – The claim is inaccurate.