Rhodiola Rosea also known as Russian Rhodiola is a herb which consists of multiple therapeutic effects. It is found mainly in countries with colder climates such as Iceland and in mountains in Eastern Siberia. Each part of the plant consists of various essential nutrients, but it is the roots and the rhizomes or the Rhodiola that contain the most medicinal properties.
Rhodiola Rosea has adaptogenic properties which help combat fatigue and anxiety, and increase resistance against physical, mental and environmental stresses and therefore it is also known as a rejuvenating herb. The admirable benefits of this herb do not just stop here. It also acts as a neuroprotective, anti-cancer, cardio protective, anti-depressive, and an anxiolytic agent. The extracts derived from Rhodiola Rosea’s rhizomes are important in improving seasonal affective disorders (SAD), concentration and mood.
A research study was carried out to investigate the effectiveness of this extract in terms of treating individuals with mild to moderate depression. This study consisted of males and females aged 18-70 years old. This was a double blind placebo controlled study where participants arbitrarily were assigned to group A, B and C. Group A and B received daily doses of the Rhodiola Rosea extract consisting of different potencies, and group C only received the placebo. After 40 days it was found that participants in Group A and Group B showed less symptoms of depression and were able to sleep better than the patients in Group C, demonstrating the effectiveness of Rhodiola extract in terms of treating patients with mild to moderate depression as well as poor sleep.
This herb plays an important role in counteracting the effects of stress by interacting with hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine and cortisol. These hormones and neurotransmitters play a crucial role in regulating our mood. Rhodiola does this by stopping the enzyme which disintegrates the neurotransmitter that is required to stay happy.
Stress and Heart
Stress induced cardiac damage can be prevented by taking Rhodiola Rosea. This herb plays an important role in preventing the release of catecholamines during highly stressful times. Catecholamines are hormones which affect our sympathetic nervous system during flight or fight situations. One of the major organs our sympathetic nervous system acts on is our heart. Therefore during highly stressful times the release of catecholamine increases our heart rate, rate of contraction, and our blood pressure. With the help of Rhodiola, the reduced release of catecholamines allows for the proper functioning of our parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system to maintain homeostatis.
The antioxidant power of this herb is also being extensively studied worldwide. The ability of Rhodiola Rosea to counteract the damage of oxidation by radicals was found to be very high. The anti-mutagenic and anti-cancer properties of this herb, was also shown to be powerful, having great ability to help prevent the advancement of tumors in cancer patients.
When it comes to losing weight, again Rhodiola is not a silent player. Some individuals who have a difficult time losing weight around certain areas of the body such as the abdomen can greatly benefit from Rhodiola. This herb initiates lipase enzymes in our system. These enzymes play a substantial role in the breakdown of fat found in our adipose tissues. Research data shows that taking Rhodiola Rosea is an effective way to help shed those extra pounds.
This herb is also used extensively by Russian athletes to help enhance their athletic performances. Recent studies have found Rhodiola Rosea to play an important role during intense physical exercise. The supplementation of this herb taken by elite athletes appears to have improved the capacity to physically exercise by decreasing skeletal muscle damage and lactate levels after an intensive physical exercise session.
Importance of the Quality of the Herb
Not all Rhodiola Rosea supplements are equal in quality and hence effectiveness. Some supplements have poor quality due to faulty harvesting methods, over drying and poor extraction techniques. Since the medicinal properties are found in the root of Rhodiola Rosea, it is important that the supplements contain the Rhodiola root. A pure and potent amount of rosavin and salidrosides which are two of the active ingredients of Rhodiola roots is an important part of a good quality Rhodiola Rosea supplement.
The benefits of Rhodiola Rosea are endless with the majority of research pointing to a positive impact on both physical and mental health.