Dietary supplement with a combination of Rhodiola crenulata and Ginkgo biloba enhances the endurance performance in healthy volunteers



To determine whether the ingestion of a herbal supplement called Rhodiola-Gingko Capsule (RGC) would enhance the endurance performance of healthy volunteers and change relevant hormones in a favorable manner.


Seventy healthy male volunteers (age ranges from 18 to 22 years old) were randomly assigned to RGC group (35 cases, each capsule containing 270 mg herbal extracts, 4 capsules per day) or placebo group (35 cases, equivalent placebo preparation) for 7 weeks using computerproduced digital random method. The endurance performance, serum testosterone and cortisol levels were measured at the baseline and the endpoint.


Sixty-seven subjects (34 in the RGC group and 33 in the placebo group) completed a 7-week treatment. The RGC group displayed a significantly greater baseline-toendpoint increase in maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) than placebo group in both absolute (P=0.020) and relative values (P=0.023). At the endpoint, the serum cortisol level was unchanged in the RGC group compared with the baseline, but it was significantly elevated in the placebo group (P<0.05). The endpoint ratio of testosterone to cortisol, a surrogate for overtraining and fatigue in endurance exercises, was also indifferent compared with the baseline in the RGC group, but significantly decreased in the placebo group (P<0.05).


The combined herbal supplement of Rhodiola and Gingko could improve the endurance performance by increasing oxygen consumption and protecting against fatigue.

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Correspondence to Yao Tong 童 瑶.

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Supported by Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd., Hong Kong, China

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Zhang, Z., Tong, Y., Zou, J. et al. Dietary supplement with a combination of Rhodiola crenulata and Ginkgo biloba enhances the endurance performance in healthy volunteers. Chin. J. Integr. Med. 15, 177–183 (2009).

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Key Words

  • herbal supplement
  • endurance
  • maximal oxygen uptake
  • cortisol
  • testosterone
  • clinical trial