Herbal Tea Consumption May Reduce Nonmotor Symptom Burden in Parkinson Disease

Patients with idiopathic Parkinson disease given Origanum majorana tea in combination with conventional medication exhibited significant improvements in depressive and nonmotor symptom burden vs placebo, although improvement of motor symptoms was not significant.

Origanum majorana tea consumption in combination with conventional medication may reduce depressive and nonmotor symptom burden in patients with Parkinson disease (PD), according to study findings published in Parkinsonism & Related Disorders.

As an alternative approach in PD treatment, herbal medicine is known to contain active components that could be effective to treat or delay neurodegenerative progression. Notably, Origanum majorana, an evergreen tree of the Lauraceae family, has been shown to have several therapeutic properties, including for depression, gastrointestinal disorders, and dizziness.

“In Tunisia, Origanum majorana is commonly used in traditional medicine in the form of an infusion obtained from the fresh or dried plant,” noted researchers. “Generally, Origanum majorana is not associated with any side effects or health hazards when consumed appropriately, in accordance with the indicated daily dosage.”

With no research to date having investigated Origanum majorana tea consumption in the treatment of motor and nonmotor symptoms in PD, the researchers conducted a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial to explore the potential effects of the infusion therapy.

Sixty patients with idiopathic PD treated with conventional antiparkinsonian medication from the neurologic outpatient clinic of University Hospital Sahloul in Sousse, Tunisia, were randomized to receive Origanum majorana tea or placebo across 30 days. Participants’ motor and nonmotor symptoms were evaluated at baseline and at the 30-day mark via the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) part III motor score, Non-motor Symptoms Scale (NMSS), and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).

“At night of the same day and for 30 consecutive days, participants consumed Origanum majorana tea, prepared by infusion, of 5 grams of dried Origanum majorana leaves in 100 milliliters of boiling water for 15 minutes and filtered through a strainer,” explained the study authors. “The daily dose of Origanum majorana tea was fixed at 5 grams, which is the weight of 2 spoons, in accordance with the traditional use of this plant.”

At baseline, both groups' demographic and clinical variables were cited as being similar. Of the cohort, 9 participants withdrew from the study, in which 51 participants of the intervention group (n = 28) and control group (n = 23) were assessed.

After 30 days of treatment, patients with PD randomized to Origanum majorana tea consumption exhibited a statistically significant improvement in NMSS (P < .0001) and BDI scores (P < .0001) compared with baseline data.

Conversely, patients of the intervention group did not show a significant decrease in the UPDRS part III motor score at the predetermined P value of .07, although mean (SD) improvements were still observed after 30 days (day 0 = 18.76 [8.58]; day 30 = 16.52 [7.96]; P = .069). No significant differences were found in motor and nonmotor scores before and after consumption of placebo tea for 1 month.

Origanum majorana tea was indicated to be well tolerated among participants, with no serious adverse events reported.

“Improvement of motor signs may need an extended treatment period,” concluded the researchers. “However, more research with a large number of participants and lasting longer than 1 month is needed to argue these findings.”

Reference

Chahra C, Anis H, Bissene D, et al. The effect of Origanum majorana tea on motor and non-motor symptoms in patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease: A randomized controlled pilot study. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. Published online August 25, 2021. doi:10.1016/j.parkreldis.2021.08.013