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Rhodiola
 
 

History

 

Rhodiola rosea is distributed at high altitudes in mountainous and arctic regions throughout Asia and Europe. It is a plant in traditional medicines with a reputation for stimulating the nervous system, decreasing depression, enhancing work performance, eliminating fatigue, and prolonging life.  In addition to Rhodiola rosea, over 200 different species of Rhodiola have been identified.

“Materia Medica”, a dictionary of Chinese herbs written by Dr. Li Shizhen (1518-1593), described Rhodiola as a “mysterious oriental herb” and “golden plant.  In 1940s, Russian scientists started to study Rhodiola and referred it as an “adaptogen” due to its ability to increase resistance to a variety of chemical, biological, and physical stressors. Inherently, administration of the adaptogenic agent allows an organism to pre-adapt itself in a manner that allows it to be more capable of responding appropriately to diverse environmental demands.

In the former Soviet Union, Rhodiola extracts were prescribed to some of most elite members of the political leaders and the military. Astronauts, fighter pilots, KGB agents, and Olympic athletes had access to Rhodiola.

 

Rhodiola and Health

 
Rhodiola produces favorable changes in a variety of diverse areas of physiological function, including neurotransmitter levels, central nervous system activity, and cardiovascular function.  Experiments have shown that the plant acts as a potent cognitive stimulant that fights fatigue and stress, increases attention span, improves memory and concentration while also relieving anxiety, calming emotions, and easing depressive syndromes. Rhodiola also exhibits potent anti-fatigue, anti-stress, immune-enhancing and protective effects in the body. It increases physical work capacity, boosts endurance and strength, reduces recovery time and has anti-hypoxic effects. Rhodiola does all this without introducing any untoward side effects or toxicity.
 

References

 
  1. Monograph: Rhodiola rosea.  Altern Med Rev. 2002; 7(5): 421-423.
  2. Richard P. Brown, M.D., Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D., and Zakir Ramazanov, Ph.D., D.S. “Rhodiola rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview”, HerbalGram. 2002; 56:40-52,  American Botanical Council
  3. Petkov VD, Yonkov D, Mosharoff A, et al. Effects of alcohol aqueous extract from Rhodiola rosea L. roots on learning and memory. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg 1986;12:3-16.
  4. Lee MW, Lee YA, Park HM, et al. Antioxidative phenolic compounds from the roots of Rhodiola sachalinensis A. Bor. Arch Pharm Res 2000;23:455-458.
  5. Ohsugi M, Fan W, Hase K, et al. Active-oxygen scavenging activity of traditional nourishing-tonic herbal medicines and active constituents of Rhodiola sacra. J Ethnopharmacol 1999;67:111-119.
  6. Linh PT, Kim YH, Hong SP, et al. Quantitative determination of salidroside and tyrosol from the underground part of Rhodiola rosea by high performance liquid chromatography. Arch Pharm Res 2000;23:349-352.
  7. Boon-Niermeijer EK, van den Berg A, Wikman G, Wiegant FA. Phyto-adaptogens protect against environmental stress-induced death of embryos from the freshwater snail Lymnaea stagnalis. Phytomedicine 2000;7:389-399.
 
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