(Natural News) A study published online in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment journal revealed that taking extracts of the Rhodiola rosea plant may help relieve symptoms of work-related burnout.
As part of the study, a team of Austrian and German researchers examined 118 men and women aged 30 to 60 who exhibited symptoms of burnout. The study participants were instructed to consume 400 mg of R. rosea extracts daily for 12 weeks.
The results showed that a vast majority of burnout symptoms improved over the course of the study. The researchers also noted that the progress was already measurable during the first week of treatment.
Likewise, the scientists observed marked improvements in specific symptoms such as emotional and physical exhaustion, fatigue, and lack of joy as well as loss of zest of life and depersonalization.
The study participants reported increased sexual interest and functioning as well. Researchers said this effect demonstrate the potential of R. rosea in addressing stress-related impairment in sexual function.
“In this context, the outcomes of the [Perceived Stress Questionnaire] and [Numerical Analogue Scales of subjective stress symptoms] assessment suggest that the reduction of core values such as exhaustion, fatigue, and subjective stress perception during the treatment with R. rosea extract might be an important first step toward a continuous alleviation of burnout symptoms, thus inhibiting the exacerbation of the syndrome and preventing the development of subsequent disorders such as depression or physical illness…The results presented provide an encouraging basis for clinical trials further investigating the clinical outcomes of R. rosea extract in patients with the burnout syndrome,” the researchers wrote in Nutra Ingredients U.S.A. online.
A 2009 study also demonstrated the plant extract’s efficacy in relieving stress-related fatigue. Data on 60 participants aged 20 to 55 years old showed that people who took R. rosea extracts attained greater improvements in burnout levels and post-treatment cortisol responses to awakening stress.
The findings suggest that the plant contains potent anti-fatigue properties, which in turn boosts mental performance and concentration, and reduces cortisol response to awakening stress in burnout patients exhibiting fatigue symptoms.
What causes burnout in the first place?
A stark mismatch between an employee’s unconscious needs and the opportunities and demands of work leads to the onset of occupational burnout, according to a study published last year.
To carry out the study, researchers recruited 97 participants from a Swiss “burnout website”. The participants were instructed to accomplish questionnaires about their physical well-being, burnout levels, and job characteristics including its opportunities and demands.
The researchers then examined the participants’ unconscious needs or implicit motives, which was comprised of two types: power motive and affiliation motive. Power motive was defined as the need to take responsibility and leadership in order to feel strong and self-efficacious. On the other hand, affiliation motive was characterized by the need for social belonging and positive personal relations.
The results showed that a mismatch between an employee’s job characteristics and either of the implicit motive types may well result in burnout. The researchers also found that an imbalance between power and affiliation motives may also trigger the condition. (Related: Experts determine burnout and depression are closely linked.)
“We found that the frustration of unconscious affective needs, caused by a lack of opportunities for motive-driven behavior, is detrimental to psychological and physical well-being. The same is true for goal-striving that doesn’t match a well-developed implicit motive for power or affiliation, because then excessive effort is necessary to achieve that goal. Both forms of mismatch act as ‘hidden stressors’ and can cause burnout…A starting point could be to select job applicants in such a way that their implicit motives match the characteristics of the open position. Another strategy could be so-called “job crafting,” where employees proactively try to enrich their job in order to meet their individual needs,” lead author Veronika Brandstätter said in a Science Daily article.