Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen and tonic of the muscle and nervous system. The properties of the Rhodiola are well known to people since ancient times.
As a plant, it is mainly found in high mountain areas in Central Asia, Europe, and North America, and we have reports of it being used in different traditional medical schools. The herb Rhodiola Rosea is known by many names – Golden Root, Pink Root, Twig of Aaron and so on.
The Golden Root is being used traditionally in herbal treatment in Northern Europe – Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and other European countries, as a way of “toning up,” which prevents the appearance of fatigue, for prevention and relief of general illnesses (cold/flu), protection from infections and as a sexual stimulant.
According to the available studies, the leading role in adaptogenic and tonic properties is attributed to two substances – rhodioloside and tyrosol because they have realized biological activity when administered alone.
Nowadays the Golden Root is being used worldwide as an herbal tonic and adaptogen, coupled with other herbs and mushrooms with similar properties: Ginseng, Eleutherococcus, Poppy, Muir Puama and Reishi.
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What Is Golden Root (Rhodiola Rosea)
The herb Rhodiola Rosea is known by many names – Golden Root, Pink Root, Twig of Aaron and so on. The reason for this is that it grows in high mountain areas on four different continents.
The plant is a dicot, in the Crassulaceae family. It grows at altitudes of up to 2,300 meters. The usual height of its blades ranges from 5 to 35 centimeters, has an intense yellow color and a strong leafy stem.
What Do We Call Rhodiola Rosea Extract and What Is Essential Oil
As one of the names of the plant gives away, the roots are the part from which the extracts are derived from, although there are also flower extracts.
The beneficial ingredients can be derived into alcohol or dry extracts, as well as into essential oils (only the flowers).
The essential oils are mainly used dermatologically in cosmetics, and the alcohol and dry extracts – orally, being available on the market of dietary supplements.
What Do the Rhodiola Rosea Extract and Essential Oil Contain
- The essential oil of the flowers of the Rhodiola contains 86 ingredients, the most abundant being: monoterpene hydrocarbons, monoterpene alcohols, straight-chain aliphatic alcohols.
- One of the key aromatic molecules is that of the geraniol. Other aromatic substances are geranyl formate, geranyl acetate, basil alcohol, and phenylethyl alcohol.
- Numerous different substances have been found in the (hydro alcoholic) extract – more than 50.
- The most important amongst them are monoterpene alcohols and their glycosides, cyanogenic glycosides, phenylethanoids, phenylpropanoids, flavones, aryl glycosides, proanthocyanidins, derivatives of gibberellic acid and of course, rosiridol.
- The Golden Root herb contains numerous substances unique for it, as some identified in other places too, which inherit its precious effects.
- It is believed, as of now, that the active class of substance, unique for the Rhodiola Rosea, is that of the “rosavins”. Here the polyphenols are dominant.
- The rosavins include: rosavin, rosarin, rosin, salidroside, p-tyrosol, rodionisid, rodiolin, rosiridin.
- According to the available studies, the leading role in adaptogenic and tonic properties is attributed to two substances – rhodioloside and tyrosol because they have realized biological activity when administered alone.
- A mutually-reinforcing effect is being observed in the case when their whole class of rosavins is being used together.
- Except for the characteristic active rosavins, the Rhodiola also contains phenolic antioxidants – proanthocyanidins, quercetin, gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, and kaempferol.
What Do You Need to Know About the Usage of the Golden Root Herb
Nowadays the Golden Root is being used worldwide as an herbal tonic and adaptogen, coupled with other herbs and mushrooms with similar properties: Ginseng, Eleutherococcus, Poppy, Muir Puama, and Reishi.
The adaptogens are a group of herbs and mushrooms, for which naturopaths, practicing holistic natural medicine claim that they can chase fatigue, by improving the condition of the body’s homeostasis.
Conventional medicine and pharmacy are unable to give a precise definition of what an “adaptogen” actually is and what kind of properties does a given plant need to have to be classified as one.
This misunderstanding between conventional and holistic medicines has yet to be resolved with the assistance of studies.
What Is the Rhodiola Rosea Extract Being Used for and What Are Rhodiola Health Benefits
The Golden Root is being used traditionally in herbal treatment in Northern Europe – Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and other European countries, as a way of “toning up”, which prevents the appearance of fatigue, for prevention and relief of general illnesses (cold/flu), protection from infections and as a sexual stimulant.
Russian scientists from the former Soviet Union were the first to classify the Rhodiola as an “adaptogen”, with the explanation that the plant extract aids the body in adapting to changes in the environment – coldness, hotness, infections, physical stress, and high altitudes.
The Golden Root has been used in Chinese folk medicine and is still being used, as an alternative to the ginseng. This drives many producers and traders of herb supplements to market it as the “new ginseng” in the USA, EU, and Asia.
The following properties can be attributed to the herb:
- fatigue prevention;
- improvement of mental functions;
- general wellness of health;
- a sexual stimulant in both sexes;
- aids the physical and sport-related activity
But not everything from the list above is confirmed with studies.
How Does the Rhodiola Rosea Extract Work
In the world of marketing, everything is in white and pink. In the world of skeptics – gray and black.
In this article, I am avoiding those standard colors so we can explore the scientific data.
This is what our studies say, based on the research on the effect of the Rhodiola extract:
Proven Benefits in People
- Improvement of the mental functions – proven effect with a double-blind experiment in humans, who have shown improved capabilities of mental calculation after 2 weeks of use. Conducted in the former Soviet Union;
- Fighting fatigue – proven impact on military personnel, with a double-blind experiment in periods of stress, induced trough physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Conducted in the former Soviet Union;
- Improves sport and physical performance – a minor double-blind experiment in Belgium confirm the effect in exercises with aerobic nature.
Are There Any Side or Negative Effects When Taking Golden Root Extracts
There are no known side effects. None has been reported in experiments with people.
However, the use of Rhodiola is not recommended for pregnant, nursing women and young children, due to the lack of research that ensures the herb’s safety.
Who and in Combination with What Shouldn’t Take the Rhodiola Rosea Extract
There are no known interferences with other substances.
No negative effects of such nature.
What Are the Recommended Doses and How Should You Consume It
The Rhodiola Rosea extract is standardized based on the content of the active substance rhodioloside (also known as salidroside).
The average dose of 170 to 185 mg of extract daily delivers 4.5 mg salidroside, usually in one to three doses. The dose can be two to three times higher in single doses.
There are probably differences in the method of extraction and storage of the salidroside/ tyrosol, therefor you should either compare the quantities of the active substance in the extractor follow the dose on the label.
In Which Sport and Health Supplements Can We Find It
Besides on its own, the Golden Root is also contained in combined products: adaptogens, herbal tonics, antioxidants, formulas for sports performance improvement, including fat burners.