Rhodiola Rosea is a relatively unknown plant. Perhaps it’s because of the number of names under which it appears: golden root, roseroot, rose-scented root, western root, arctic root, Aaron’s staff, Siberian root, and even Royal Crown. Some of these names reflect the main property of the plant, namely the frosty climate it prefers as a growing environment. Neither, however, reveals its importance for mental health and more. Let’s find out what Rhodiola Rosea is all about.
What is Rhodiola Rosea
As I mentioned, the “root of Siberia” is a plant that grows mainly in arctic areas, such as Scandinavia and Siberia. However, you can also find it in the high mountains of Europe (including Poland), Asia, and North America. Rhodiola Rosea adapts incredibly well to the harsh environmental conditions and low temperatures found in mountainous areas. This is due to its structure, namely a strong root with a densely tangled rhizome, which is the part used in medicine. The rhizomes with a characteristic rose aroma are dried and then extracts are added to medicines and dietary supplements.
Rhodiola Rosea – healing properties
Above all, Rhodiola Rosea is an excellent remedy for maintaining mental health. It relieves anxiety, increases stress resistance, and facilitates a quick return to mental balance after stressful situations. The active substances contained in this plant lower the concentration of cortisol in the body, the stress hormone. It also balances the levels of chemicals in the brain responsible for mood and mental well-being. This makes Rhodiola Rosea a good remedy for moderate to mild depression. It supports the resolution of its symptoms, thanks to which people who are victims of the side effects of drugs for depression can treat this plant as a more indifferent alternative to the body.
1. A strong adaptogen
The plant owes its healing properties mainly to the fact that it’s a powerful adaptogen. In short, an adaptogen is a substance of natural origin that can modify the body’s response to stress. This means that when the body is affected by various types of physical, biological, or chemical stressors, this substance is effective in dealing with it, so Rhodiola Rosea is a great stress reliever. Needless to say, long-term stress is dangerous to your health. It can cause a variety of diseases such as hypertension, ulcers, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and more. Stress leads to excessive exhaustion and the death of brain cells. This causes concentration disorders, and “flushes” positive compounds out of the body. Rhodiola Rosea reduces the risk of these ailments.
2. The plant that perfectly supports the nervous system
Rhodiola Rosea has a great effect on the nervous system. It stimulates and calms the central nervous system. The plant adds energy, removes fatigue, improves mood, reduces emotional tension, and improves concentration. Research units around the world are constantly conducting clinical trials on the use of Rhodiola Rosea in the treatment of depression.
The mechanism of action of the substances contained in the plant is more or less based on the fact that these compounds affect the key neurotransmitters, i.e. serotonin and norepinephrine. Rhodiola Rosea releases substances such as beta-endorphins that make us feel better. Dietary supplements containing an extract of this plant will be a good solution in the event of difficult, stressful life experiences.
They will soothe the nerves and stabilize the functioning of the nervous system that’s exposed to negative factors. However, that’s not the only situation in which the supplementation is so effective. You can supplement Rhodiola Rosea regularly to reduce the risk of kidney problems and provide the necessary vitamins and minerals. Rhodiola Rosea is a treasury of numerous positive compounds, including magnesium and B vitamins.
3. Effective help in various health conditions
Rhodiola Rosea’s positive effects on the nervous system are not all. The plant also has a beneficial effect on other functions of the human body. Scientists who conducted a clinical study on the effect of the plant on the functioning of the heart prove that Rhodiola Rosea has a positive effect on the rhythm and the strength of the contraction of the heart muscle. That’s why it’s so effective as a preparation in the case of blood pressure issues.
Importantly, supplementation relieves the heart in the case of increased intensity, such as during heavy training. It also turns out that Rhodiola Rosea improves the functioning of the thyroid gland. The diseases of this gland are an affliction that is more and more common in society. In addition, the plant enhances the efficiency of the thymus gland, which is thanks to its immunity-enhancing properties. Scientific research has also confirmed the beneficial effect of the plant on women’s menstrual problems.
4. Rhodiola Rosea for the active
Based on numerous studies, it’s clear that Rhodiola Rosea contributes to the improvement of athletes’ performance. It does so by increasing anabolic processes, as well as the effective use of cell reserves. What’s more, Rhodiola Rosea extract can reduce inflammation and thus help protect muscle tissue during exercise. That’s one of the reasons why it’s one of the recommended supplements for “bulking”. Also, the plant effectively protects the body against oxidative stress, improves endurance, and shortens the time of post-workout regeneration. Rhodiola Rosea accelerates metabolism and stimulates blood and oxygen circulation in the body. The fact that professional athletes in Asia and Russia have always used this plant as a safe and legal means to improve performance and add energy is very encouraging.
5. Amazing for memory and brain health
Rhodiola Rosea is especially helpful during intense mental work due to its positive influence on the processes of remembering and learning. In combination with a reduction in mental fatigue, a reduction in sleepiness, a better motivation to learn, and a general better well-being, the Rhodiola Rosea becomes an ideal plant for all people who need to memorize large amounts of materials in a short time or need full concentration on a mental task. What’s more, its influence on memory prompts scientists to start research on the influence of this plant on the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases (including Alzheimer’s disease). Salidroside’s job is to protect brain cells from death, which is the main cause of these diseases.
What not to combine Rhodiola Rosea with?
Many people combine Rhodiola Rosea with other plant extracts that support its action. In combination with ginseng, it increases vitality, concentration, and physical endurance, while Ashwagandha increases resistance to stress. Rhodiola Rosea, when mixed with Tribulus Terrestris, improves endurance and libido, while rosemary, peppermint, and lemon balm have anti-stress properties. In turn, when combined with goji berries, this plant has a hypnotic effect and reduces the effects of chronic fatigue. Having said that, certain combinations are not so beneficial to our body. In particular, it is advisable not to supplement this plant when taking psychostimulatory drugs. That’s because, in such a combination, Rhodiola Rosea can lead to hyperactivity and result in the appearance of anxiety states.
Rhodiola Rosea – side effects and contraindications
Rhodiola Rosea when taken in well selected, controlled doses does not have any negative effects on the health of the body. In excess, however, it can lead to over-stimulation, similar to an overdose of an energy substance. Similar to caffeine, Rhodiola Rosea affects the nervous system, resulting in stimulation and increased alertness. In the event of an overdose, however, it may have side effects such as restlessness or insomnia. For this reason, children under 12 years of age, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should try to avoid taking this plant.
Rhodiola Rosea – preparations and their dosage
Rhodiola Rosea in form of capsules is not the only way to reap its benefits. It’s available in the form of a powder and tincture, each taking a different daily dose. Regardless of the form of taking Rhodiola Rosea, it’s very important to use only certain amounts of this plant. Exceeding the recommended dose can cause problems with over-stimulation and trouble sleeping.
In the case of extracts, the dosage usually ranges from 300-600 mg per day. Personally, I think it’s worth sticking around the upper limit, which is 500-600 mg, especially when the salidroside level is no more than 1%. When they are> 3%, doses closer to the lower limit may sometimes be sufficient.
If you choose to get Rhodiola Rosea root powder, which is not an extract, the daily dosage is in the range of 3-6 g. This amount of powder should fit in one or two teaspoons.
Its energizing effect will be especially helpful in the first half of the day. For this reason, you can easily take Rhodiola Rosea capsules with your first meal.
Standardizations in Rhodiola Rosea Supplements
As with many herbal supplements, we can come across a variety of products of different quality. The main aspect that needs attention is standardization. First, whether there is any at all, and second, to what substances and in what concentrations.
If the product doesn’t provide standardization, it’s most likely not an extract and the effectiveness will be low. Well, unless we want to swallow the capsules in handfuls. There are also extracts marked with the degree of compression of the raw material mass, for instance, 4: 1. Theoretically, they should be stronger than the powdered root without extraction, but in practice, their effect is still a mystery, because you never know how much active substance is in it. 4: 1 means that the weight of the powder has decreased, but it does not necessarily mean that the amount of active substances is exactly 4 times greater. We also do not know how many of these substances were at the beginning, and it could have been, for example, raw material from crops from inferior soil.
When the standardization is sound, the concentration range of rosavins and/or salidrosides will most often be in the range of 1-5%. Presenting the number of active ingredients in percent or milligrams is the best information and we should look for such products. Rosavins seem to be much more popular, which is quite puzzling in the face of scientific reports that salidrosides have a wider spectrum of activity and are much more active.
Not only that, raw materials standardized for salidrosides instead of rosavins sometimes cheaper. Here, incidentally, it’s worth adding that rumors say that there is an excessive demand for Rhodiola Rosea, which is why some dishonest suppliers sell Rhodiola Crenulata, describing it as Rosea. Rhodiola Crenulata is also a good and valuable plant, differing in that it’s rich in salidrosides but not rosavins. Supplements standardized only for salidrosides may be of the Crenulata variety. This practice may not do much harm to the end-user, but it’s certainly dishonest.
In the case of salidrosides and rosavins, it’s worth choosing raw materials with a concentration of at least 3%. My recommendation is to choose extracts in which indicate the specific content of salidrosides. It’s even better if it indicates the content of rosavins as well. The reason for this is more solid support in the literature and more favorable user relations (according to my private observations) for the action of salidrosides.
Rhodiola Rosea is one of the most interesting adaptogens. It will suit people who want to increase vitality, increase productivity, and clarify their thinking. A wide range of health benefits support overall health and can be a part of anti-aging treatments. A big plus is that it starts working in the first days of use, so you don’t have to wait long for the effects, although the effectiveness increases over time.