Mild cases of atopic dermatitis (AD), an allergic skin disorder that may be caused by allergies in certain foods or in the environment, generally improve with standard treatment. However, standard treatment fails many patients with recalcitrant (stubborn) AD skin legions.
Study results in animal models have demonstrated that the administration of certain teas has suppressed certain allergic reactions.
In this study, 118 patients suffering from various severity of AD were observed. All patients had received either topical corticostaroids, oral antihistamines or avoidance of aggravating factors for at least six months prior to being included in the study. Patients were asked to maintain their standard dermatological treatment. However, they were also instructed to drink oolong tea daily after three regular meals, which they did for six months. Photographs of representative lesion sites were taken and the severity of itch was assessed at periodic intervals.
After one month of treatment 63% of the patients showed moderate improvement of their condition. The most beneficial effect was noticed after the initial weeks of treatment. However, a good response to treatment was still observed in more than 50% of the patients at six months.
Conclusion: The therapeutic benefit of oolong tea in recalcitrant AD may be the result of the antiallergic properties of tea polyphenols (acidic compounds).
Uehara M, Sugiura H, Sakurai K. A trial of oolong tea in the management of recalcitrant atopic dermatitis. Archives of Dermatology 2001: Vol.137, pp 42-43.