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Roseroot Herb Could Treat Depression Better Than Conventional Medicines, Study Finds

Roseroot Depression Treatment

Roseroot is an herb which has been used in traditional European folk medicine for over 3,000 years — essentially an ancient herbal remedy — in the treatment of depression, but now researchers led by associate professor Dr. Jun J. Mao at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found that the ancient roseroot remedy for depression may benefit some people suffering from depression, according to the study’s preliminary findings.

In the study, which was published in the journal Phytomedicine, researchers noted that rooseroot, formally known as Rhodiola rosea, has been used in traditional folk medicine to promote work endurance, resistance to health conditions which include depression, fatigue, and altitude as well as to increase longevity.

Medical News Today indicated in a report that prior studies have suggested that the herb could be used to enhance mood through the stimulation of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin which are involved with mood regulation.

The recently published roseroot study’s authors wrote in their report that “many individuals with more mild depressive symptoms weigh concerns over side effects alongside the limited benefits and costs of conventional antidepressant therapy” and subsequently “it is not surprising that depressive symptoms are among the most common reasons cited by consumers to choose alternative therapy.”

Rhodiola rosea, which the Mirror reported has been used for centuries to survive the frigid Siberian winters, is commonly referred to as Aaron’s rod, arctic root, king’s crown, golden root, and orpin rose. It grows in the cold regions of the world, including the Arctic, the mountains of Central Asia, eastern North America, and mountainous regions of Europe including the Alps.

Participants in the study, which were 57 adults in all, each exhibited two or more major depressive episodes, depressed mood or loss of interest in activities for a minimum of two weeks as well as depressive symptoms which included significant unintentional weight change, recurring thoughts of death and fatigue.

Over the course of 12 weeks, the depressed participants received either roseroot extract, sertraline or a placebo; depression within participants was measured by researchers throughout the period.

Researchers analyzing the patients in the study found that those taking sertraline had a 1.9 times the odds of improvement whereas those taking roseroot had 1.4 times the odds, however, 63 percent of patients taking sertraline reported side effects while only 30 percent of those receiving rose root reported side effects. Subsequently, the study’s preliminary findings suggest that roseroot may have a more favorable risk to benefit ratio than sertraline when it comes to treating mild to moderate depression.

In an unrelated study conducted by doctors at Salt Lake City’s Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, preliminary findings indicated that depression treatment could reduce heart disease risk in patients with moderate to severe depression, as researchers found that antidepressants seemed to lower rates of death, coronary artery disease and stroke.

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