Rhodiola Background and Benefits
Rhodiola is a genus of flowering plants in the Crassulaceae family, which also includes sedums. Rhodiola rosea is the most well-known of these species, with common names that include Artic root, golden root, king’s crown and orpin rose. Rhodiola originates from cold regions of the northern hemisphere, especially North America and Europe. However, Rhodiola also grows as far south as mountainous regions of Appalachia.
Several fleshy stems of this plant typically grow from a single thick root, often exceeding one foot in height. The flowers are tiny, rarely exceeding 1/8 inch in diameter. They are primarily yellow to green, although they may occasionally have red tips. Rhodiola is dioecious, meaning that plants are either male or female.
Rhodiola has its earliest uses in herbal medicine in Scandinavia and Russia, primarily the relief of physical and psychological stress. It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as hong jing tian. The stems and leaves of Rhodiola are also edible and primarily used in salads.
The root of the Rhodiola plant is the most useful in herbal medicine. It contains about 140 compounds, of which rosavin is one of the most active. Chemically, rosavin is a cinnamyl alcohol glycoside. Additional components specific to the Rhodiola root include rosarin and rosin. It also contains a range of alkaloids, anthraquinones, flavonoids, phenols, terpenoids and organic acids. The specific composition of Rhodiola extract varies considerably by location. For example, many tests show that the highest concentrations of rosavin are found in plants from Russia.
Uses of Rhodiola
Rhodiola is commonly used to help with exercise recovery. Additional uses of Rhodiola include maintaining memory, heart health and support for the immune system.
Rhodiola may help maintain memory by increasing bioelectrical activity in the brain. These studies on Rhodiola were based on proofreading tests.
Rhodiola’s support of heart health generally relates to its ability to manage stress. It may be able to reduce the production corticosteroids that the adrenal gland releases during stress.
Immune system support
Rhodiola may support the immune system by increasing the production of natural killer cells by the spleen and stomach.
Rhodiola may be able to reduce the time that muscles need to recover after prolonged exercise. This process generally involves increasing the production of enzymes and other proteins needed for recovery.
Signs You May Need Rhodiola
The signs that you may benefit from Rhodiola generally relate to prolonged physical or mental stress. These signs are known as asthenic conditions, which include fatigue, irritability, poor appetite, sleep disturbances, high blood pressure and declining work performance.
Additional signs that Rhodiola extract can help you relate to its ability to increase the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin. These signs include low moods and feelings of stress. A declining memory and difficulty in concentration are also indications that you may need Rhodiola.
Other Ingredients That May Be Of Interest
Passionflower - The uses of passionflower extract in modern herbal medicine generally relate to its calming effects. It may also be useful in relieving withdrawal symptoms.
Milk thistle (Silymarin) - Milk thistle extract is commonly taken to maintain liver functions. Additional uses of milk thistle extract include support for the digestive system, maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels and management of menopausal symptoms.
Synonyms and Similar Forms of Rhodiola
Rhodiola rosea, Artic root, golden root, king’s crown, orpin rose