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Latin Name

Rhodiola rosea

Also Known As

Arctic root, Golden root

Origin

Arctic Siberia

Parts Used

Root

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Rhodiola Rosea optimises the levels of serotonin and dopamine in your body, meaning reduced stress levels and fatigue.. as well as increased mental and physical performance.
It's been used for decades in Scandinavia and Russia to cope with the cold climate and stressful lifestyle.

Also many successful Russian athletes (some of whom are Olympic champions!) have used Rhodiola to maximise their performance.

Rhodiola Rosea is a plant extract classed as an aptogen due to its ability to increase your body's resistance to a variety of chemical, biological, and physical sources of stress. It is commonly used by people who are faced with large amounts of physical and mental stress.
Rhodiola rosea has been shown to delay fatigue and improve energy utilization during exercise. It has also been shown to improve creatine levels in the muscle which can increase the production of ATP, your primary source of energy for explosive movements.

Several major studies into Rhodiola Rosea have shown that this nutrient can help increase protein synthesis, remove ammonia from the blood and have a detoxifying effect, increase blood supply to the muscles and the brain, and improve athletic performance.
Due to its ability to supply blood to the brain many people use Rhodiola Rosea during times of heavy mental stress. This makes it a very popular product for those in stressful jobs and those studying and taking exams.

Rhodiola rosea is an authentic adaptogen, non-specifically increasing the resistance of the body without disturbing its normal biological functions. For that reason, it is a great herb for combating stress. It is thought that it improves the brain's ability to deal with stress by 1) increasing serotonin in the hypothalamus and midbrain, 2) increasing endorphins, 3) moderating the release of opioid peptides that occur as a part of the stress response, and 4) protecting the brain and heart by reducing the stress related production of corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF).

Rhodiola is a wonderful herb for mental focus and cerebral activity. It promotes the release and enhances the effectiveness of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. The results, demonstrated in several clinical studies, are enhanced mental performance, learning, attention span, and memory. It has been widely used as an antidepressant, working alone or adjunctively with other antidepressants. Because of the breadth of its adaptogenic effects, some patients find it more effective than prescription SSRI's or St. John's Wort.

Another beneficial adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola rosea is its ability to increase physical work capacity, improving strength, recovery time, endurance, and coordination. Clinical studies found it to be more effective than Siberian ginseng at enhancing adaptation to physical stress. Combining the two herbs in a formula is even better, as Rhodiola rosea and Siberian ginseng are very compatible, producing beneficial synergistic effects.

Rhodiola has been shown to enhance fertility in women, even among those that have failed to conceive with standard fertility drugs; and to substantially improve sexual performance in men with erectile dysfunction and/or premature ejaculation. It also enhances thyroid and adrenal function without causing hyperfunction of those organs.

Part of Rhodiola effectiveness as a stress adaptogen is due to its cardioprotective effects. Because it promotes the balanced release of epinephrine and nor epinephrine, it is a very effective anti-arrhythmia/tachycardia agent. It also increases the energy efficiency and energy reserves of the heart by balancing the heart's sympathetic and parasympathetic autonomic nerve inputs.

Typical Uses

Rhodiola rosea Herbal Tincture
Suggested dosage - Take 1 to 4ml once or twice a day or use as directed by a herbal practitioner.

Rhodiola rosea Herbal Powder
Suggested dosage - Take 500mg to 1 gram once or twice a day or use as directed by a herbal practitioner.
Use mixed with milk, fruit juice.

Folklore and History

In folk medicine Rhodiola has a legendary history dating back thousands of years. We know, for example, that the ancient Greeks used Rhodiola rosea. In 77 A.D., the Greek physician Dioscorides documented the medical applications of the plant, which he then called rodia riza, in his classic medical text De Materia Medica.

But how did Rhodiola rosea travel more than 2,000 miles from the remote Caucasus Mountains, where it grows wild, to ancient Greece? Our search for the answer to this question took us back more than 3,000 years, to the 13th century B.C. -- the Greek Bronze Age. That's when trading expeditions crossed the Aegean Sea, the Hellespont (Dardanelles), the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus, and the Black Sea to a land called Colchis, in what is now the Republic of Georgia.

One of the best-known myths of this era celebrates the voyage of Jason and his famous crew, the Argonauts, which included Hercules and Orpheus. Like most myths, the story of Jason, the Argonauts, and the Golden Fleece blends fact with fantasy. But it hints at an intriguing theory of how Rhodiola rosea might have made the incredible journey to Greece from its native land.
The Greeks were not the only ancient people who valued Rhodiola rosea. The Vikings depended on the herb to enhance their physical strength and endurance, while Chinese emperors sent expeditions to Siberia to bring back "the golden root" for medicinal preparations.

The people of central Asia considered a tea brewed from Rhodiola rosea to be the most effective treatment for cold and flu. Mongolian physicians prescribed it for tuberculosis and cancer.

In Siberia to this day, it is said that people who drink Rhodiola rosea tea will live to be more than 100. The herb still is given to newlyweds to assure fertility and the birth of healthy children. For centuries the details of how and where to harvest the wild root were a closely guarded secret among members of certain Siberian families, who would transport Rhodiola rosea down ancient trails in the Altai and Caucasus mountains and trade it for Georgian wine, fruit, and honey.

In 1725, the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus gave the herb its modern name, Rhodiola rosea, and recommended it as a treatment for hernia, hysteria, headache, and vaginal discharge. Fifty years later, it earned a place in the first Swedish pharmacopoeia, a complete listing of all medicinal preparations.

Constituents

Rhodiola Rosea has phenylpropanoid constitituents: rosavin, rosin, and rosarin, called collectively "rosavins".

Precautions

Rhodiola rosea is very safe with very low toxicity and few side effects.