Mild cases of atopic dermatitis (AD) generally improve with standardtreatment. However, standard treatment fails many patients with recalcitrantAD skin lesions. Study results in animal models have demonstrated that theadministration of tea (ie, green, black, or oolong) has suppressed type Iand type IV allergic reactions.
To test the effectiveness of oolong tea in the treatment of recalcitrantAD.
Although 121 patients with recalcitrant AD were enrolled in the study,118 patients completed the open study.
Patients were asked to maintain their dermatological treatment. However,they were also instructed to drink oolong tea made from a 10-g teabag placedin 1000 mL of boiling water and steeped for 5 minutes. This amount was thendivided into 3 equal servings and 1 serving was drunk daily after 3 regularmeals. Photographs of 2 or 3 representative lesion sites were taken at baselineand at 1 and 6 months and the severity of pruritus was assessed on a 6-pointLickert-like scale ranging from markedly improved (>50% improvement) to worsened.
After 1 month of treatment 74 (63%) of the 118 patients showed markedto moderate improvement of their condition. The beneficial effect was firstnoticed after 1 or 2 weeks of treatment. A good response to treatment wasstill observed in 64 patients (54%) at 6 months.
The therapeutic efficacy of oolong tea in recalcitrant AD may well bethe result of the antiallergic properties of tea polyphenols.