Roseroot herb may help ease depression
New research published in the journal Phytomedicine suggests the herb rhodiola rosea, more commonly known as roseroot, may be a potential treatment option for people with depression. The herb has been used in traditional folk medicine for thousands of years to promote work endurance, increase longevity and help fight fatigue, altitude sickness and depression.
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, comparison trial of roseroot extract. A group of 57 adults who exhibited two or more depressive symptoms participated in the study. For 12 weeks, each participant received either standardized roseroot extract, the medication sertraline (also known as Zoloft or Lustral) or a placebo. The researchers measured changes in the participants’ depression during this period.
The team found that although the people receiving sertraline were more likely to report improvements in their symptoms by week 12 of their treatment than those receiving roseroot extract, the differences were not statistically significant. And, in comparison to the placebo, patients taking roseroot had 1.4 times the odds of improvement, whereas patients taking sertraline had 1.9 times the odds. The most drastic result reported, though, involved side effects. Sixty-three percent of patients who received sertraline reported side effects compared to 30 percent who received the roseroot extract.
Although very preliminary, the results suggest that herbal therapy may be a potential treatment for people with mild to moderate depression who can’t tolerate the side effects of conventional antidepressants.