Although the properties of Rhodiola root have always been known to the local population of the Arctic and mountainous areas in which it grows, its leap to fame as a plant against stress is relatively recent. Let’s learn a little more about the plant popularly known as “Golden root” or “Arctic root” and its health benefits, which come mainly from its ability to improve performance in situations of stress, tiredness and fatigue.
Although the properties of Rhodiola root have always been known to the local population of the Arctic and mountainous areas in which it grows, its leap to fame as a plant against stress is relatively recent.
Let’s learn a little more about the plant popularly known as “Golden root” or “Arctic root” and its health benefits, which come mainly from its ability to improve performance in situations of stress, tiredness and fatigue.
WHAT IS RHODIOLA?
The full botanical name is Rhodiola rosea because, when cut or broken, it oozes a rose-like aroma. Rhodiola plant is between 20 and 30 centimeters tall with green-blue leaves. It blooms in summer, with male yellow or orange flowers and female flowers of dark garnet tones.
This plant does not have an easy and comfortable life, as it lives in cold climates and proliferates in remote places with difficult access, such as in the rocky crevices of the mountains, on steep cliffs or in the icy tundra.
Its favorite locations are the surroundings of the Arctic, such as Greenland, Iceland or the Scandinavian countries. It is also found in the north of the United Kingdom and in high mountain ranges such as the Himalayas, Rocky Mountains, Carpathians, Apennines, the Andes or the Pyrenees.
As you can see, Rhodiola inhabits places where living must be very stressful… but it adapts. This adaptability transmits through its active constituents, making it what is considered an adaptogenic plant.
WHAT IS AN ADAPTOGENIC PLANT?
Adaptogenic plants are those that improve the body’s ability to adapt to prolonged stressors. They alleviate fatigue and asthenia due to excessive daily workload and reduce stress caused by the speed of modern life.
Although these plants were already known in traditional Chinese medicine as “superior tonics”, the first person to coin the term “adaptogen” was a Russian a pharmacist Nicolav Nazarev. He worked for the former Soviet Union with the mission of finding substances to increase physical and mental resistance to the stress suffered by fighters in World War II and, subsequently, that of Soviet astronauts and athletes during the tense years of the Cold War.
Nazarev investigated the adaptogenic properties of a plant called Schisandra chinensis,and opened a new classification of metabolic regulators which would later include Eleuterococo, Ginseng and our flagship plant today: Rhodiola.
MUCH MORE THAN AN ANTI STRESS PLANT
Rhodiola’s ability to improve physical and intellectual capacity was already known to the Eskimo peoples of North America, who consumed Rhodiola rhizomes as food. It appears that the Vikings also took it to increase their strength and endurance in the tough battles, and later in Norway Rhodiola was used to combat alopecia, pneumonia and also as a diuretic.
In other areas where Rhodiola grows, Rhodiola has traditionally been used to fight depression, decrease tiredness and treat male impotence and infertility in women. These are all reasons that generate stress and stress, in turn, it causes depression, fatigue and sexual dysfunctions. Rhodiola can help you get out of this anxiety loop.
- Ewa Jówko, Jerzy Sadowski, Barbara Długołęcka, Dariusz Gierczuk , Benedykt Opaszowski, Igor Cieśliński (2018) Effects of Rhodiola rosea supplementation on mental performance, physical capacity, and oxidative stress biomarkers in healthy men, J Sport Health Sci. 7(4):473-480, DOI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30450257/
- Gou-Ping Ma, Qun Zheng, Meng-Bei Xu , Xiao-Li Zhou, Lin Lu, Zuo-Xiao Li, Guo-Qing Zheng, (2018) Rhodiola rosea L. Improves Learning and Memory Function: Preclinical Evidence and Possible Mechanisms, Front Pharmacol. 4;9:1415, DOI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30564123/
- Jun J Mao, Sharon X Xie, Jarcy Zee, Irene Soeller, Qing S Li, Kenneth Rockwell, Jay D Amsterdam (2015) Rhodiola rosea versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial, Phytomedicine. 15;22(3):394-9, DOI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25837277/
- Wei Zhuang, Lifeng Yue, Xiaofang Dang, Fei Chen, Yuewen Gong, Xiaolan Lin, Yumin Luo (2019) Rosenroot ( Rhodiola): Potential Applications in Aging-related Diseases, Aging Dis. 1;10(1):134-146, DOI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30705774/