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About the benefits of medicinal plants for muscle fatigue

Sep 10, 2020
Categories:  Scientific publication
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Author:  Vita Forest

Since we constantly monitor the situation in the field of scientific research and publications, we use only the best sources of information. We could not ignore the article of one of the most popular and cited journals in the world such as "Nature". This article [1] interested us because it deals with the topic of various ways to treat such a disease as muscle fatigue. Including medicinal plants, which is the profile of our work. The mention of Rhodiola rosea in the article, which is one of our top products, is especially interesting.

So, what is fatigue? Fatigue is a non-specific symptom that many people experience. It is often characterized as depression, lack of energy and a feeling of exhaustion. Accumulation of fatigue can lead to chronic fatigue syndrome, fatigue, disorders of the immune and endocrine systems.

The duration of fatigue can be divided into acute and chronic. Acute fatigue can be quickly relieved by rest or lifestyle, while chronic fatigue is a long-term current condition that requires some treatment.

Nowadays, there are still no official or semi-official recommendations for the treatment of muscle fatigue. However, there are some non-specific methods of treatment. It can be divided into several groups:

  1. Treatment with synthetic products.

This group includes substances such as caffeine, amphetamine and ephedrine. It excites the sympathetic nervous system and helps prevent muscle fatigue.

  1. Treatment with dietary supplements (such as multivitamins, fish oil and glucosamine sulfate / chondroitin), ergogenic supplements (such as protein powder / amino acids and creatine).

However, we will not focus on these types. We are more interested in the following type of treatment such as treatment with natural substances.

  1. Treatment with natural substances.

More than half of the medicines presented in the world are derived from or based on natural products. Over the past few decades, scientists in the field of health and sports physiology have been searching for natural products that can improve athletic performance and prevent or eliminate fatigue. Currently, more and more natural products and extracts are used as anti-fatigue products, for example, ophiopogon root, astragalus, Chinese wolfberry, caltrop, Acanthopanax giraldii, Cordyceps sinensis, Ganoderma lucidum, eucommia, Ginkgo biloba, radix paeoniae alba, gynostemma, acanthopanax, angelica, radix rehmanniae and radix polygoni multiflo.

But the most common are ginseng, garlic and Rhodiola rosea.

Ginseng is one of the most popular adaptogen plants in the world. However, it can also be used to treat muscle fatigue, which has been proven by various experiments. For example, protein and saponins isolated from ginseng root significantly lengthen the swimming time of mice by increasing the level of glycogen in the liver and muscles. Polysaccharides, ginsenoside Rb1, ginsenoside Rg3, or low-molecular-weight oligopeptides have anti-fatigue activity. Red ginseng has a positive effect on athletic performance in athletes who receive aerobic exercise.

The mechanisms of anti-fatigue ginseng effect include:

- increased activity of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)

- increased glycogen levels in the liver

- decreased accumulation of urea nitrogen in the serum (SUN) and lactic acid in the blood (BLA)

- inhibition of the oxidative process, etc.

Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea), which belongs to the stonecrop family and the genus Rhodiola, is a widely used herb in traditional medicine in Eastern Europe and China. It is also an important plant used against fatigue. The main components of Rhodiola are salidroside and rosavins. Salidroside has been identified as the main anti-fatigue agent in Rhodiola rosea.

It was found that Rhodiola rosea increases stamina in young healthy volunteers. R. rosea extract was also found to significantly increase swimming time, liver superoxide dismutase and serum lactate dehydrogenase in mice. 

The benefits of garlic were known in Ancient Rome. It was given to soldiers and athletes as a tonic. Recently, many researchers have reported on the anti-fatigue effect of garlic.

Scientists have found that raw garlic and garlic extract prolonged the running time on the treadmill in mice. In a clinical study of 30 patients with coronary heart disease, garlic significantly reduced heart rate during peak exercise and heart load, resulting in better exercise tolerance.

Thus, we can conclude that not only synthetic medicines and dietary supplements can be recommended as a medicine for people suffering from muscle fatigue. For such purposes, you can use more harmless and useful methods for the body - medicinal plants. After all, from year to year, we learn more and more official scientific data about the benefits of herbs for the human body. And such reviews in serious scientific journals help herbalists to assert their rightness, as well as attract other people to the use of medicinal herbs in the treatment of diseases and in everyday life.

[1] Wan JJ, Qin Z, Wang P, Sun Y, Liu X. Muscle fatigue: General understanding and treatment. Exper Molec Med. 2017;49(10)