McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Drink mint tea for research study

Published: April 25, 2007
Dr. Paul Keith
Dr. Paul Keith, an allergist in the Department of Medicine at McMaster.

Volunteers are being sought to drink mint tea to further science.

McMaster University researchers are trying to determine if drinking mint tea helps patients with nasal polyps breathe easier. People with this chronic nasal blockage are being sought as volunteers to take part in the study, which involves drinking two different types of mint teas – one that has been specially cultivated - over the course of 12 weeks.

The study is being conducted by Dr. Paul Keith, an allergist in the Department of Medicine at McMaster, as part of a project being run by the University of Guelph.

"It’s a pretty neat little study because there are not a lot of treatment options for people out there with nasal polyps," said Keith, an associate professor. "Mint tea is a non-caffeinated herbal tea with a great flavour, and if it helps these nasal symptoms it would really be a great thing to suggest to patients."

Nasal polyps are small, benign growths in the inside lining of the nose that often arise from allergic rhinitis, or in people who have recurrent or persistent nasal and sinus infections. They are generally harmless, but can block the airways and make it harder for people to breathe.

Mint tea is one of the most commonly used herbal teas and is a folk remedy for a variety of gastrointestinal problems. Earlier research suggests that a naturally-occurring component found in mint – rosmarinic acid – may also be beneficial in the treatment of allergic disease.

Researchers at the University of Guelph have cultivated a type of mint with extremely high levels of this component and have used it to develop a mint tea that will be tested in the McMaster trial. This is the first time the mint is being tested in a clinical trial.

Mint tea stalk
Mint tea stalk.

The mint tea trial is part of a project being funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Life Sciences and Agri-Food Innovation Fund.
"There’s an awful lot of interest in herbal remedies, so it’s nice to see the scientific community tackling whether or not these products do indeed help people with chronic conditions," said Keith.

Volunteers in the study will drink one type of mint tea twice a day for four weeks, then after a break of four weeks, they will drink the other type of mint tea for another four weeks. The patients will not know if they are drinking the tea made from the University of Guelph’s cultivated mint.

Volunteers will be required to visit McMaster University five times over the course of 14 weeks. Anyone interested in taking part in the trial should call 905-525-9140, ext. 22851.

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