A small study has recently discovered that sweet marjoram tea helps to lower depression and non-motor symptoms when taken daily in combination with the standard antiparkinsonian medication. While larger studies are necessary to confirm this finding, it is still exciting for Parkinson’s disease patients, as it offers another supportive treatment option.
About the Study
Titled “The effect of Origanum majorana tea on motor and non-motor symptoms in patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease: A randomized controlled pilot study,” researchers intended to examine the effects of this tea, commonly referred to as sweet marjoram, on the symptoms of Parkinson’s. While they found that daily consumption of the tea had little to no impact on motor symptoms, it did aid non-motor symptoms, which include sleep disturbances, depression, sexual difficulties, cognitive impairment, and urinary/gastrointestinal issues.
The researchers, from Tunisia, wanted to investigate the effects of sweet marjoram tea, as it is known to have anti-neurodegenerative, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. In the past, it has shown to be a helpful treatment for colds, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, and depression.
To do so, they conducted a small, placebo-controlled trial which enrolled 60 participants with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. The purpose was to investigate the effectiveness and safety of the tea when taken daily.
30 patients were given a placebo tea, while the remaining 30 consumed sweet marjoram tea. Those in the second group had tea that was prepared by steeping five grams of dried leaves in 100 milliliters of boiling water for 15 minutes before filtering it through a strainer. Both groups drank the tea for 30 days without any change in their antiparkinsonian medication. They were also instructed not to take any herbal or nutritional supplements and not to change their typical diet and physical activity levels.
The researchers assessed changes in motor and non-motor symptoms through the Non-motor Symptoms Scale (NMSS), Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), and Beck Depression Inventory.
By the end of the study, 51 participants were still enrolled. 28 in the sweet marjoram group and 23 in the placebo group completed the trial. Upon evaluating their motor and non-motor symptoms, the researchers found that sweet marjoram tea improved non-motor symptoms and depression. This result remained even when considering influencing factors like age and sex.
On the other hand, the tea was not shown to improve motor symptoms. Despite this fact, researchers are excited by the implications of this study, although it must be confirmed by larger trials.
About Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS). It is characterized by its effect on movement through five different stages. As the disease progresses, severity increases. Stage one is characterized by subtle tremors on one side of the body. In stage two symptoms are more noticeable, with tremors and rigidity on both sides of the body. Stage three brings loss of balance and slowed movement. Stage four makes it impossible for one to live independently. Stage five is the most severe, as patients cannot stand or walk. Hallucinations and delusions are common symptoms of this stage.
Parkinson’s disease occurs due to the death of motor neurons, some of which produce dopamine. Dopamine is important in the transmittance of messages to the muscles from the brain, so the loss of dopamine results in the loss of motor functions. Abnormal brain activity occurs when these neurons are lost. Doctors do not know why these motor neurons die, but they do suspect a few factors that play a role, such as genetics, environmental factors like toxins, and Lewy bodies.
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