Open Access Open Badges Research article

Effect of an herbal/botanical supplement on recovery from delayed onset muscle soreness: a randomized placebo-controlled trial

Corey A Rynders2, Judy Y Weltman1, Sara D Rynders3, James Patrie1, John McKnight1, Frank I Katch1, Jay Hertel1 and Arthur Weltman1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Kinesiology Exercise Physiology Core Laboratory, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

2 Department of Human Movement Sciences, Human Performance Laboratory, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA

3 Jordan Young Institute, Virginia Beach, VA, USA

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Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2014, 11:27  doi:10.1186/1550-2783-11-27

Published: 13 June 2014



We examined the effects of a proprietary herbal/botanical supplement (StemSport, Stemtech, San Clemente, CA.) suggested to increase circulating stem cells, decrease inflammation, and attenuate exercise induced muscle damage on recovery from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).


Sixteen subjects (male = 7, female = 9; age 23.8 ± 10 years; height 171.9 ± 10 cm, mass 72.2 ± 15 kg) were randomized in a crossover, double-blind, placebo controlled trial to receive a placebo or StemSport supplement (6150 mg/day) for 14 days. DOMS was induced on day 7 for both placebo and active conditions in the non-dominant elbow flexor group with repeated eccentric repetitions. Muscle swelling (biceps girth), elbow flexor isometric strength (hand held dynamometer), muscle pain/tenderness (visual analog scale), range of motion (active elbow flexion and extension), and inflammation (hsCRP, IL6, and TNF-α) were measured at baseline and at 24 h, 48 h, 72 h, and 168 h (1 week) post eccentric exercise. The crossover washout period was ≥14 days.


No significant condition-by-time interactions between placebo and StemSport supplementation were observed with regard to measures of pain (p = 0.59), tenderness (p = 0.71), isometric strength (p = 0.32), elbow flexion (p = 0.45), muscle swelling (p = 0.90), or inflammation (p > 0.90). Decrements in elbow extension range of motion 48 h post-exercise were less after StemSport supplementation (Δ elbow extension 48 h post; StemSport, −2.0 deg; placebo, −10 deg; p = 0.003).


These data suggest that compared to placebo, StemSport supplementation does not improve outcome measures related to muscle recovery after acute upper-arm induced DOMS.

DOMS; Blue-green algae; Eccentric exercise