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My favourite herb for stress-related fatigue

Studies show significant improvement in fatigue.

These days in my practice in this busy city, it’s hard to find a patient that doesn’t complain of fatigue. While there can be many medical reasons for fatigue, stress-related fatigue tops the list. My favourite herb to remedy this is Rhodiola rosea, a plant native to Europe and Asia.

A recent double blind placebo controlled study showed that after 28 days of taking 576mg extract per day, those taking rhodiola had significant improvements in fatigue (according to a Pines’ burnout scale), attention, and salivary cortisol response. The authors of the study concluded that Rhodiola rosea has an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental performance (1).

In another study involving 56 physicians on night call, researchers found a reduction in stress-induced fatigue with 170mg/day of Rhodiola after just two weeks of supplementation. They measured improvements in cognitive and memory function such as calculation, short-term memory and associative thinking, while no side effects of rhodiola were reported (2).

In addition to aiding fatigue, Rhodiola rosea has also been shown to enhance physical performance, regulate ovulation in women with amenorrhea, and help with sleep disorders. The average dose of R. rosea is between 200 mg and 400 mg per day of an extract that is standardized to contain rosavins and salidrosides in a 3:1 ratio.

References: 1. Olsson EM, et al. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. Planta Med. 2009 Feb;75(2):105-12. Epub 2008 Nov 18. 2. Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, et al. 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. 2000 Oct;7(5):365-71.

Dr. Nari