Rhodiola has been extensively used in folk tradition (e.g. the Vikings and Siberians) to increase physical strength and endurance, resistance to cold and flu, and to help promote fertility and longevity. The herb was distributed along ancient trade r... *
rhodiola "a must for anyone with a slow thyroid. quick delivery!!!!1" -- liz (writer)
Rhodiola has been extensively used in folk tradition (e.g. the Vikings and Siberians) to increase physical strength and endurance, resistance to cold and flu, and to help promote fertility and longevity. The herb was distributed along ancient trade routes and became popular also in Mongolia and China. In Sweden, it is considered to be a stimulant and antifatigue agent. The modern use is as an adaptogenic tonic, to increase physical and mental endurance, reduce the symptoms of asthenia (fatigue, decreased capacity for work, irritability), alleviate sexual disorders, help promote fertility, and to help moderate the symptoms associated with old age and some neurological disorders.
Rhodiola Rhodiola rosea L. [= Sedum rosea (L.) Scop.]
Other Names: Roseroot; golden root; rosenrot (Swedish); rhodiole rose (French); Rosenwurz (German); rodiola rosea (Italian).
Description: A perennial succulent of up to 0.6 m in height with fleshy rhizomes, stems and oblong leaves bearing small yellow flowers. The genus Rhodiola is nowadays considered to be a subgenus of Sedum.
Origin: Arctic region (mainly Scandinavia and Siberia). The plant has a long history of health use and was mentioned by Dioscorides.
Parts Used: Rhizomes; nowadays as standardised extracts. The freshly cut rhizome has a fragrance reminiscent of attar-of-roses (hence the scientific name).
Therapeutic Category: Adaptogen.
Preparation and Dosage: In recent years, exclusively as extracts (in 40% ethanol), standardised to contain 3% rosavins and 0.8-1% salidroside. The usual daily dose is 200 - 600 mg of extract (equal to about 20 - 60 drops of a liquid extract), taken two or three times per day (for up to four months).
Active Ingredients: Phenylpropanoids (rosavin, rosin and rosarin; the so-called rosavins), together with phenylethanol derivatives (mainly salidroside, = rhodioloside). Also present are flavonoids (e.g. rodiolin), monoterpenoids (rosiridol, rosaridin), phytosterols and phenolic acids.
Health Effects: In several controlled clinical studies, extracts were shown to significantly improve physical strength and endurance and to alleviate symptoms associated with asthenia and a wide range of neurological disorders.
Notes: The related Sedum acre (stonecrop or wall pepper) is a traditional medicine in Europe. It contains piperidine alkaloids and was once popular as an emetic, purgative and abortifacient.
Status: Pharm.; clinical studies+.
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) is indigenous to the Arctic and Alpine regions of Europe, Asia and America and has long been used as a tonic by many cultures, including the Ancient Greeks. Rhodiola is generally known as an "adaptogen", a term which refers to any agent possessing the ability to increase the body's capacity to adapt to stressful complaints.
* This standardized extract of min. 3% Total Rosavins and min. 1% Salidrosides is the highest potency of Rhodiola available.
Rhodiola rosea Scop.
Rhodiola, a relatively advanced group of the Crassulaceae (Orpine family), has been interpreted (mostly in Eurasia) as a separate genus, or (particularly in North America) as a section of the genus Sedum. Extensive European and Asian literature on this drug plant is found under the name Rhodiola. There are about three dozen species of Rhodiola, mostly in the mountains of Asia, and their classification is in need of study. When roseroot is considered to be a species of Sedum, it is known as S. rosea (L.) Scop. (erroneously as S. roseum; or sometimes by the invalidly published name S. rhodiola DC.). The genus name originates from the Greek rhodon, meaning rose, an allusion to the odor of the rootstock.
English Common Names
Roseroot, golden root, Arctic root (trademarked brand name).
French Common Names
Orpin rose, rhodiole rougeâtre.
Roseroot plants are perennial dioecious herbs, 5-40 cm tall. Most are male or female, while occasional plants have both male and female flowers in the same cyme. The stout rootstocks are either erect or horizontal, 0.4-5 cm in diameter, and produce pale brown fibrous roots below and floriferous (or occasionally sterile) ascending or erect stems above. The common name roseroot is a reference to the rootstocks possessing the scent of rose petals. The names "gold root" and "golden root" have been said to reflect the perceived value of the rootstocks, not their color. Stems of male plants are said to separate much more readily from the rhizome than those of the female plants. The leaves on the rhizome are scalelike, 2-7 mm long, and reddish-brown. The stem leaves are 7-40 mm long, fleshy, oval, obovate or oblong, spirally arranged, usually with dentate margins, dark green to glaucous or sometimes reddish. The flowers occur in terminal, corymbose to umbellate cymes, 0.5-7 cm in diameter, with one to over 150 flowers, these up to 7 mm in diameter. Flowering commences in early summer, sometimes before the leaves are fully expanded. The petals may be greenish, yellow, reddish or purple, or various intermediate shades. The fruits are erect, brown follicles, with small, brown or orange-brown winged Roseroot seeds. In addition to dispersion by seeds, the plants are sometimes disseminated as pieces of rhizome. The rhizomes break or rot readily into pieces which can be transported by water, ice and wind.
Classification and Geography
Rhodiola rosea in the broad sense is an extremely variable circumpolar species of cool temperate and subarctic areas of the northern hemisphere, including North America, Greenland, Iceland, and Eurasia. The European distribution includes northern Europe and most of the mountains of central Europe, southwards to the Pyrenees, central Italy, and Bulgaria. The Asian distribution includes Arctic and alpine regions in the Altai Mountains, Eastern Siberia, Tien-Shan, the Far East, and south to the Himalayan Mountains.
In North America, Sedum subgenus Rhodiola as defined by R.T. Clausen includes at least five North taxa of the S. rosea complex, and S. rhodantha Gray, a species of the southern and central Rocky Mountains, with an elongate inforescence of pink flowers. Western North plants with dark red flowers and green leaves have most recently been listed as S. integrifolium (Raf.) A. Nelson (a species difficult to separate from S. rosea in the narrow sense), including var. integrifolium, var. procerum Clausen and var. neomexicanum (Britt.) Clausen. Dark red-flowered plants with glaucous leaves, isolated in Minnesota and New York, have been listed as S. integrifolium ssp. leedyi (Rosendahi & Moore) Clausen. Mostly coastal, eastern plants (isolated in the southern Appalachians of North Carolina), with relatively short yellow or green petals, have been listed as S. rosea in the narrow sense. The relationships of North S. rosea in the broad sense with a number of similar Asiatic species is not clear. Some Asian species of Rhodiola are also used for health benefits much like R. rosea, for example R. quadrifida (Pall.) Fisch. et Mey., R. sacra (Pram ex Hamet) S.H. Fu, R. kirilowii (Regel) Regel, and R. sachalinensis A. Bor.
Rhodiola rosea is found on moist cliffs, ledges, talus, ridges, and dry tundra. Northern plants of North America typically occur in crevices or among mats of moss and other vegetation, often near shores, and sometimes in rather rich substrates; southern plants tend to grow on north-exposed cliffs in alpine regions. The Arctic forms are lower in growth and have fewer flowers.
Roseroot is one of several nutraceutical plants that have been described as "adaptogens." The world's best known adaptogens are ginseng (certain Panax species) and Russian ginseng (Eleutheroccocus senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Maxim.); other highly touted adaptogemc plants include roseroot, Schizandra (Schizandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill.), and the mushroom reishi (Ganoderma lucidum (Leyss. Fr.) Karst.). The term adaptogen was used by Russians, starting with N.Y. Lazarev about 1947, and popularized by his student, 1.1. Brekhman. Adaptogenic plant-derived, legal, drug preparations have been credited with improving the performance of elite Russian sports figures and cosmonauts. An adaptogen has been defined as a substance that is "innocuous, causing minimal physiological disorder; non-specific in action, increasing resistance to the adverse influences of a wide range of physical, chemical and biological factors; and capable of a normalizing action irrespective of the direction of the pathological change." The validity of the concept of an adaptogen has been debated, and much of the supportive research to date does not provide unbiased and unequivocal evaluation. Nevertheless, adaptogenic plants are increasingly being used for health benefits in response to stress-generated maladies that are becoming more common in western society.
Many articles have been written by Russian scientists on the effects of roseroot. Experiments with rats and mice have suggested that the chemically active compounds can improve learning and memory and help reduce stress. Experimentation has also suggested that they have immunity-boosting properties, help stimulate the central nervous system and protect the liver, for example in carbon tetrachloride intoxication. Methods of determining the authenticity and quality of the rhizome are available, and methods for the quantitative analysis of some of the biologically active compounds.
Roseroot is being vigorously marketed today as an almost miraculous tonic, as witnessed by the following advertisement: "Roseroot was used by the Vikings to give them the extra strength they needed for their long, arduous journeys. Today, scientific research confirms what the Vikings experienced. Roseroot helps you adapt and thrive when exposed to stressful complaints, such as overwork, physical exhaustion and mental fatigue. Studies confirm that it helps the body maintain homeostasis by assisting at a cellular level to adapt to environmental stressors, help promote mental and physical vitality and increase alertness and physical endurance."
It has been claimed that Roseroot leaves can be used like Aloe vera leaves to soothe burns, bites, and other irritations. Consistent with this, a paste or tea from the root can be used to help wounds heal. However, the raw rootstock sometimes causes allergic reactions.
In present-day Ukraine, a medicinal alcoholic drink called "nastojka" is prepared by mixing 40% alcohol (e.g., vodka) and an equal weight of rootstock, and allowing the mixture to stand for a few weeks; only a few teaspoons are consumed daily.
Some of the purported medical effectiveness of Rhodiola extracts have been attributed to a variety 137 of phenolic substances, including rhodioloside, a glycoside.
Roseroot is grown in many countries as an ornamental. The young stems and leaves are also sometimes used as a wild food, either raw or cooked, although this may not be advisable.
Agricultural and Commercial Aspects
Roseroot is cultivated in Russia and some other Eurasian countries. Information on optimal harvesting times with regard to the compounds rosavidine and salidroside have been published. Information is also available on the effects of post harvest processing on the quality of the rhizome.
In Eurasia where the plant is highly valued, areas for habitat restoration and in situ conservation have been recommended. Roseroot is not presently a useful plant of significant value in North America. Its potential importance lies in the fact that it is the only native Canadian plant species besides ginseng that has attracted international attention as an adaptogen. Plants with this reputation have a large potential market, and their economic development deserves periodic evaluation. This Arctic herb could easily be cultivated in cold areas of Canada where few other economic plants can be grown without protection.
Myths, Legends, Tales, Folklore, and Interesting Facts
The rootstock of R. rosea was often used in European folk love potions. The legendary 13th century Ukrainian prince Danila Galitsky, whose reputation rivalled that of Casanova, was believed to have used roseroot as an aphrodisiac.
User Group Forum
Share your questions and information with the ZooScape community!
Anonymous - April 24, 2006, 11:01
Will the rhodiola help my concentration and make me think a bit faster?
ZooScape Moderator - April 25, 2006, 13:53
Rhodiola Root, also known as Golden Root, Arctic Root, Roseroot, and Crenulin, is native to the mountainous regions of Asia, Europe, and the Arctic, and is most abundant in Siberia. Its species name, rosea, comes from the fact that the cut root of Rhodiola has a rose-like odor. Rhodiola Root has been used in traditional medicine to combat fatigue, depression, anemia, impotence, infections, and many other ailments. In Central Asia, Rhodiola Root was prescribed for tuberculosis, immunity, and influenza. In Siberia, Rhodiola Root was given to married couples to increase fertility and provide healthy children. The Vikings used Rhodiola Root to improve endurance and enhance physical strength.
In recent times, Rhodiola Root has been the subject of numerous studies in Scandinavia and the former Soviet Union, where it has been favorably compared to Siberian Ginseng. Those studies show that Rhodiola Root is effective in improving cognitive function, improving the immune system, enhancing athletic performance, promoting weight loss, and relieving stress. Rhodiola has also been shown to have aphrodisiac properties, and has been used to reduce premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.
While Rhodiola is an excellent choice for helping to improve cognitive function, there are several other products you may want to consider and they can be found by clicking Memory, Brain & Cognitive Abilities.
The pharmacological literature we have surveyed does not mention toxic reactions. However, most of the scientific medicinal literature on roseroot comes from Russia, and much of this appears determined to demonstrate the virtues of the plant. Given the lack of familiarity with roseroot medicinal utilization in most of Europe and North America, it seems prudent to assume that while no obvious toxicity has been demonstrated, the safety of using this herb has not been adequately determined.
More Photographs - Rhodiola (Golden Root) - 450 mg
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."