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Monday, August 4, 2008

Rhodiola rosea

I don't believe in adaptogens. The term is too nice and too pat for my tastes. Instead, I do believe that Rhodiola rosea does have beneficial results, I just don't think it works doing everything for everyone, as some sites claim. The fact of the matter is that Chris Kilham rates it as one of the best herbs. Here is a study showing that it can promote mental alertness in medical students.

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of repeated low-dose treatment with a standardized extract SHR/5 of rhizome Rhodiola rosea L, (RRE) on fatigue during night duty among a group of 56 young, healthy physicians. The effect was measured as total mental performance calculated as Fatigue Index. The tests chosen reflect an overall level of mental fatigue, involving complex perceptive and cognitive cerebral functions, such as associative thinking, short-term memory, calculation and ability of concentration, and speed of audio-visual perception. These parameters were tested before and after night duty during three periods of two weeks each: a) a test period of one RRE/placebo tablet daily, b) a washout period and c) a third period of one placebo/RRE tablet daily, in a double-blind cross-over trial. The perceptive and cognitive cerebral functions mentioned above were investigated using 5 different tests. A statistically significant improvement in these tests was observed in the treatment group (RRE) during the first two weeks period. No side-effects were reported for either treatment noted. These results suggest that RRE can reduce general fatigue under certain stressful conditions.

V. Darbinyan, A. Kteyan1, A. Panossian, E. Gabrielian, G.Wikman, and H. Wagner. 2000. Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue – A double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine, Vol. 7(5), pp. 365–371. (Full text pdf.)

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