Russian Antidepressant


Russian Antidepressant. Healthy Living Magazine

Russian Antidepressant. Healthy Living Magazine

Rhodiola rosea (roseroot), a yellow Russian herb that extends lifespan by 24% in a recent study, grows at high altitudes and bears the genetics of a survivor: the ability to produce high antioxidant activity despite decreased oxygen supply and withstand weather extremes; these same survival properties are why the herb is considered to be an adaptogen that enables organisms to adapt to stress.

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But this herb also possesses other qualities, apparently. Compared with the antidepressant drug sertraline, Rhodiola rosea could be equally effective without the side effects, says a study in the journal Phytomedicine led by Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE, associate professor of Family Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

With more than 19 million Americans affected by depression, 70% do not respond well to initial therapy and they are given other drugs with concerning side effects such as increased risk for suicide and dementia, which is why finding ways of alleviating depression without so much psychological risk is of paramount priority for anybody who gives a damn about the mentally ill or wouldn’t want to be drug damned her or himself.

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All of the study’s 57 adult participants exhibited two or more major depressive episodes, depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in life activities for at least two weeks, as well as unintentional weight loss or gain, insomnia or sleeping too much, fatigue, diminished ability to think or concentrate and recurrent thoughts of death.

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Both groups experienced reduced symptoms, with the patients taking Rhodiola having 1.4 times the odds of improvement and sertraline 1.9 versus those on a placebo. However, patients on sertraline experienced two times the side effects–especially nausea and sexual dysfunction— than those on Rhodiola.

“These results are a bit preliminary, but suggest that herbal therapy may have the potential to help patients with depression who cannot tolerate conventional antidepressants due to side effects,” Dr Mao said. “Larger studies will be needed to fully evaluate the benefit and harm of R. rosea as compared to conventional antidepressants.”

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ReferenceAmsterdam JD, et al. Rhodiola rosea versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebocontrolled trial. Phytomedicine, March 2015.
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