Rhodiola has often been referred to as the “Golden Root” throughout history. It’s an adaptogenic herb that has been used for its energy boosting and brain-strengthening capabilities for centuries.
It is said that the Sherpa people from Nepal used the benefits of this herb to climb high altitudes. Thanks to Rhodiola, they had enough energy to even climb Mt. Everest. Rhodiola is loaded with 140 active ingredients that’ll have you climbing mountains in no time too.
Botanical Name and Family of Rhodiola
Rhodiola is botanically known as Rhodiola rosea. It belongs to the Crassulaceae or Stonecrops family and is commonly referred to as Rose root, King’s crown and Arctic root.
What Is Rhodiola?
Rhodiola or golden root is an herb that grows well in the cold mountainous regions of North America, Asia, Europe and the Arctic. The roots of this plant have been used in traditional medicine as an adaptogen — that is, an agent that helps the body cope better with stress.
This herb has played a role in traditional medicinal systems practiced all over the world, especially in parts of Europe, Asia and Russia, for hundreds of years. The Russians, in particular, have extensively studied the benefits of Rhodiola for the past 70 years for improving endurance while fighting, relieving anxiety and depression and even fighting cancer.
Active Ingredient Found in Rhodiola
Studies suggest that this herb contains more than 40 different kinds of chemical compounds. Rhodiola roots contain organic acids, flavonoids and phenols such as:
They also contain gallic acid, kaempferol, quercetin, chlorogenic acid and proanthocyanidins.
Health Benefits of Rhodiola
Traditionally, Rhodiola has been used as an adaptogen to increase stamina, energy and resistance against stress. Since recent research, this root has been proven to possess at least four major health benefits, including the following:
- Fights depression and boosts mental clarity
- Helps lower cortisol, the stress hormone
- Supports weight loss and helps burn belly fat
- Boosts energy and athletic performance
- Reduces physical and mental fatigue
This herb is considered useful against high cholesterol, depression and irregular heartbeat and is used to improve sexual function. It is also recommended as a supplement to improve athletic performance.
In some parts of the world, Rhodiola is used to treat diabetes, tuberculosis, flu, liver damage and cancer. Research shows this herb to possess the ability to reduce cortisol levels, which, in return, will prevent abdominal weight gain, thyroid issues, weakened immunity and hormonal imbalance.
How to Use Rhodiola?
Rhodiola is readily available in the form of dried leaves, powder, tea and supplemental form. The aerial parts of Rhodiola are consumed as food by adding them to salads.
Recommended dosing for Rhodiola extract supplements is around 250 to 700 milligrams split into two doses per day or as much as an herbal practitioner prescribes. An herbal tea of this root can be made by steeping 5 grams of Rhodiola leaves in a pot of hot water for 15-20 minutes.
Side Effects of Rhodiola
Another amazing aspect of this herb is that you can receive all the benefits of Rhodiola without almost no side effects when consumed appropriately. Rhodiola is considered safe for use and no side effects have been reported.
Even though there haven’t been any documented side effects, more research still needs to be concluded to determine the side effects of over-consuming this herb. It is always a good idea to talk to your doctor before consuming this plant to ensure that it would be safe and beneficial for you.
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Schriner SE, Lee K, Truong S, Salvadora KT, Maler S, Nam A, Lee T, Jafari M. Extension of Drosophila Lifespan by Rhodiola rosea through a Mechanism Independent from Dietary Restriction. PLoS One. 2013; 8(5): e63886. Published online 2013 May 21. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063886. PMCID: PMC3660385
Kelly GS. Rhodiola rosea: A possible plant adaptogen. Altern Med Rev. 2001Jun;6(3):293-302. Review. PubMed PMID: 11410073.