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A herb used in Europe for over 3,000 years as a remedy for many diseases could be useful in the treatment of depression, according to the results of a new research.
The study was published in Phytomedicine. Dr. Jun J. Mao, an associate professor of epidemiology, family medicine and community health at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania led the research
Rhodiola rosea, also known as roseroot, has been used in traditional folk medicine to enhance work endurance, increase longevity and as a cure for several health conditions including altitude sickness, fatigue and depression.
Previous research have discovered that roseroot could boost mood by stimulating receptors of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Other studies also suggests that roseroot affects beta-endorphin levels in the body.
The new study was the first ever randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind comparison trial of roseroot extract. The doctors compared its effects on mild to moderate major depressive disorder with a commonly prescribed antidepressant therapy, called sertraline.
More than 19 million Americans estimated to develop depression each year. Depression is also associated with a high risk of suicide and with other disorders and physical illnesses.
Around 70% of patients with depression are not fully responding to therapy with conventional antidepressants. These drugs can often have serious side effects that prevent patients from completing their treatment.
”It is not surprising that depressive symptoms are among the most common reasons cited by consumers to choose alternative therapy,”, said the author of the study.
The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the preliminary safety and efficiency of roseroot for treating mild to moderate depression, and also to discover if the herb could be utilized as a base for alternative therapy.
The study evaluated the results on 57 adults. Each participant displayed two or more major depressive episodes, loss of interest in activities for at least 2 weeks, a depressed mood and depressive symptoms such as fatigue, important unintentional weight change and recurrent thoughts of death.
Each participant received for 12 weeks either standardized roseroot extract, a placebo or sertraline. The doctors measured the development in the participants’ depression during this period.
The researchers learned that even if the participants receiving sertraline were more likely to improve their symptoms at the end of the 12 weeks survey than the patients receiving roseroot extract, the differences were not very significant.
Patients taking roseroot had 1.4 times the odds of improvement, while patients taking sertraline had 1.9 times the odds in comparison with participants receiving a placebo,
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