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LMU 68 – Revitalizing the Spirit: Rhodiola’s Potential to Combat Burnout


LMU 68 – Revitalizing the Spirit: Rhodiola's Potential to Combat Burnout

Source: Journal Neuropsychiatric Diseases and Treatment (March 2017)

Lifestyle Medicine Update


In the bustling tapestry of modern life, burnout emerges as a palpable concern, weaving its tendrils through various facets of society. This prevalent phenomenon is not just a fleeting annoyance; it burgeons into a pressing issue that fuels an escalating number of disability claims. Fuelled by the relentless cadence of our fast-paced existence, compounded by multifarious obligations from different spheres of our lives, burnout casts its shadow. It’s an affliction that goes beyond mere exhaustion, delving into emotional depletion and hindered performance. This intricate web of strain is well-captured by the official definition of burnout – “the subjective perception of chronic demand-related stress with subsequent emotional exhaustion and decreased performance in work-related or self-set tasks.”

Diving into the Depths of Burnout

The canvas of burnout reveals a spectrum of symptoms that extend beyond mere changes in mood. It encompasses a gamut of emotional upheavals, including fatigue, cynicism, impaired sexual well-being, lack of concentration, and an overall negative attitude toward work. However, its tendrils extend even further, manifesting in physical symptoms such as headaches, spasticity, rigidity, and irritable stomach. What further exacerbates the gravity of burnout is its potential to lay the foundation for severe mental and physical disorders. The looming shadows of depression, anxiety, and cardiovascular conditions become increasingly likely for those who have traversed the harrowing terrain of burnout.

Rhodiola: A Glimmer of Hope

In the realm of scientific inquiry, researchers have delved into the promise of an herbal supplement named Rhodiola for alleviating burnout. Classified as an adaptogen, Rhodiola demonstrates a remarkable ability to counteract the deleterious effects of stress on both the body and mind. Its multidimensional mechanisms include curbing the secretion of stress hormones and maintaining equilibrium in essential brain neurotransmitters during periods of stress. Amongst the plethora of studies, a beacon of significance emerges from a study published on March 22, 2017, in the journal Neuropsychiatric Diseases and Treatment. This study has the potential to revolutionize the landscape of burnout intervention.

A Glimpse into the Study: Unveiling Rhodiola’s Potential

Intriguing and impactful, this 2017 study embarked on a transformative journey, aimed at unravelling Rhodiola’s prowess in combating burnout. The canvas was painted with precision, encompassing 118 male and female outpatients aged 30 to 60 years, all grappling with the shackles of burnout symptoms. These participants shared the common thread of bearing daily stress burdens, often stemming from the care of handicapped or demented family members. Throughout a 12-week period, these subjects ingested a standardized grade of Rhodiola rosea extract, equivalent to 400 mg daily.

Empowering Results: A Glimpse of the Transformation

The journey of these participants unfolded as a testament to the potential of Rhodiola. The researchers documented a significant amelioration of subjective stress symptoms, suggestive of an augmented coping ability and a reduction in the perceived demand placed on these individuals. Delving deeper, the study unveiled specific parameters that experienced notable improvement:

  1. Regaining Joy and Zest for Life: A substantial percentage of patients reported experiencing a resurgence of joy and zest for life, a spark rekindled amidst the haze of burnout.
  2. Enhanced Alertness: The fog of burnout lifted for many, leading to improved alertness that kindled the flame of productivity.
  3. A Sense of Personal Accomplishment: Strides were made in fostering a sense of personal accomplishment, breathing life into the embers of self-worth.
  4. Revival of Interest in Intimacy: A realm often overshadowed by burnout, the study revealed a commendable combat against stress-induced impairment of participants’ sex lives.

Stunningly, some participants witnessed the dawn of improvement within the first week of Rhodiola supplementation, while a majority basked in the glow of these benefits over the 12-week journey. Importantly, these findings resonate in harmony with other trials that have explored the effects of Rhodiola extract in augmenting physical and mental performance amidst challenging circumstances.

A Note of Caution and Clarity: Charting the Path Forward

As the allure of Rhodiola’s potential beckons, a note of caution and clarity becomes paramount. Those considering the adoption of a Rhodiola supplement to alleviate burnout symptoms are advised to consult their healthcare providers before embarking on this journey. A pivotal caveat is to ensure that the chosen Rhodiola supplement is standardized to a 3.5% Rosavins content. This standardization ensures the potency and efficacy of the medicinal components within the recommended daily dosage of 400 mg.

Conclusion: A Ray of Hope Amidst the Abyss of Burnout

In a world besieged by the relentless tides of burnout, Rhodiola emerges as a resplendent ray of hope. The study’s findings hold the promise of transforming lives marred by emotional exhaustion and impaired performance. By embracing Rhodiola as a potential ally, individuals can embark on a journey of renewal, traversing the path from burnout’s clutches towards a realm of revitalization and rejuvenation.


Kasper S and Dienel A. Multicenter, open-label, exploratory clinical trial with Rhodiola rosea extract in patients suffering from burnout symptoms. Neuropsychiatry Dis Treat. 2017. 13:889-898.

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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