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Rhodiola rosea improves mental ability and reduces stress

The antioxidant Rhodiola rosea improved attention span and concentration, and lowered stress and fatigue, in a new study.

Researchers in the Department of Psychology at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden aimed to study the efficacy of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of individuals suffering from stress-related fatigue. They took 60 men and women between the ages of 20 and 55 who matched diagnostic criteria for stress-related fatigue syndrome or “burnout,” which is physical, emotional and mental exhaustion from work and lifestyle factors.

Participants took 144 mg of the antioxidant Rhodiola rosea four times per day or a placebo for 28 days. On the first and last day, researchers used standard tests to measure the effects of the extract on quality of life, symptoms of fatigue, depression, attention span, and took saliva samples to check cortisol levels upon awakening. Cortisol is a stress-related hormone.

At the end of the study, compared to placebo, the Rhodiola rosea group experienced significant improvements in fatigue and burnout, mental health, depression and attention span. Before and after treatment, the Rhodiola rosea group had much less cortisol in the saliva on awakening from sleep.

Researchers concluded that multiple daily doses of Rhodiola rosea has an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental performance, particularly the ability to concentrate, and decreases cortisol response to awakening stress in those with fatigue syndrome burnout.

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