In a double-blind cross-over trial researchers from Armenia, Sweden and Germany investigated the effect of repeated low-dose treatment with a standardized extract of Rhodiola rosea 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 percept n. Results showed that a statistically significant improvement in these tests was observed in the treatment group during the first two week period. No side-effects were reported. These results suggest that Rhodiola extract can reduce general fatigue under certain stressful conditions.
Comment – I am pleased to see more evidence for the pertinent use of herbal medicines in the treatment of modern, lifestyle diseases. Rhodiola is part of the Adaptogen family of plant medicines that are, with careful prescribing, capable of improving our response to the constant stressors of daily life. Where better to trial this sort of medicine but in a pressurised, stressful, time-poor environment such as the public health system. Hard-working nurses take note!
Darbinyan, V., Kteyan, A., Panossian, A., Gabrielian, E., Wikman, G., Wagner, H (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