For this review, the authors looked at studies published in MEDLINE and the Russian state library database on the effects of Arctic root. They found that the plant's extract and its active ingredient, salidroside, can affect cell signaling, especially those related to depression. In addition, reviewed studies also revealed the presence of antidepressant-like properties in Arctic root extract.
Based on results from clinical trials regarding the antidepressant effects of Arctic root, the authors found that most studies suggest that the plant contains possible antidepressant properties, especially on adult humans. However, compared to conventional antidepressant medications which have the risk of an adverse reaction, Arctic root possesses a favorable safety profile, with short-term studies indicating it was well-tolerated.
From the study, the researchers concluded that Arctic root could be used for stress relief and even depression. (Related: Researchers say this novel herbal powder suspension could treat depression naturally.)
Arctic root -- a herb usually found in the mountainous regions of Europe and Asia -- is widely considered as an adaptogen, that is, a substance that helps the body adapt to stress. In northern Europe, particularly in Russia and Scandinavia, it is prescribed by traditional healers to treat fatigue, anxiety, and depression. But its benefits don't stop there: Its roots contain over 140 active ingredients, the most potent being rosavin and salidroside. It also can be used to treat various conditions.
Arctic root is popular for its ability to relieve stress. In one study, the researchers found significant improvement in stress-related symptoms such as fatigue, exhaustion, and anxiety after just three days of using Arctic root extract. Another study concluded that it can help attenuate stress-related burnout, including depression.
The herb isn't just great for stress relief -- multiple studies have also found that Arctic root can be used to alleviate fatigue, especially that stemming from depression. A four-week study of 60 people with stress-related fatigue found that Arctic root improved quality of life after treatment. It also has a positive impact on chronic fatigue, with a study noting improvements in concentration and mood following treatment.
One of the ways to keep depression at bay is to maintain healthy brain function -- something that the Arctic root does very well. Studies have shown that physicians who took the herb had reported that they were able to work better after two weeks. An unrelated study also arrived at similar results: Soldiers who were given Arctic root before going to the night shift had better brain function than those who did not take it.
People who are looking to boost their workout should consider adding Arctic root before hitting the gym. One study found that taking it greatly improves endurance: Individuals who took Arctic root before a time-trial race finished significantly faster than those who didn't.
Indeed, Arctic root provides a lot of benefits; however, it doesn't mean that it's without risk. For one, many companies offer adulterated supplements claiming to be Arctic root, which can diminish their effectiveness. Always look for brands that have been certified to ensure that these supplements do not have any impurities.