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Home > Rhodiola Information / Rhodiola Rosea / Golden Root / Root of the Arctic > Rhodiola Supplements & Products / Rhodiola Rosea / Golden Root / Root of the Arctic > 

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What Does Rhodiola Do?

Rhodiola Rosea, Commonly known as Root of the Arctic, or Golden Root, is almost unknown in the United States. In Arctic Siberia the location of Rhodiola Rosea plants are a closely held secret among families who live there. The emperor of China used to organize expeditions to Arctic Siberia to bring back this highly valued plant. Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogenic herb along the lines of more famous cousins such as ginseng, ashwaganda, suma, etc.

Rhodiola Rosea, however, is more powerful and may be the best adaptogenic herb available. Research by Russians began in 1931 when Rhodiola Rosea was found to increase sexual potency. In a test of 35 subjects with weak erections and/or premature ejaculations, 50 mg per day was found to provide substantial improvement in 26 of the 35. The levels of 17-ketosteroids in seminal fluid showed an increase in the production of sex hormones.

Women had much the same result. 40 women with secondary amenorrhea (lack of menstruation) were given 100 to 150 mg per day of Rhodiola and 25 resumed their periods and 11 became pregnant.

Research has shown that whether or not these benefits are accurately represented, many remarkable therapeutic benefits accrue from ingesting Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract. Among these are:

Adaptogen: Increases body's ability to handle stresses of all kinds. Partly, this is because it "tones down" the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system and increases the relaxing parasympathetic system. Subjects given Rhodiola show increased levels of beta-endorphin in the brain. Beta-endorphin is the stress relieving, feel-good, analgesic peptide.

Antidepressant: All test subjects showed a positive therapeutic effect from 100 mg of Rhodiola per day. It is thought to work by making serotonin's precursors, tryptophan and 5-HTP, more available to the brain and by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is destroyed by catechol-O-methyltransferase or COMT. Rhodiola antagonizes COMT. Rosavin can decrease COMT activity by 60% and raise serotonin levels by 30%! A study of 128 individuals of all ages with various forms of depression showed that 65% had a complete disappearance of their depression. Rhodiola has been used with a variety of prescription antidepressants with no apparent problems.

Prevents emotional stress: Asthenia, an emotional stress condition, is a condition characterized by sluggishness, low motivation, muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, labored breathing, giddiness, chest pain, palpitations and excessive sleeping. 100 to 150 mg of Rhodiola daily reversed this.

Improves endurance levels: Excellent for athletes. A study of 52 individuals of all ages showed a 12% increase in the duration of physical performance. When initially fatigued and asked to perform the test, it increased to 28%! Rhodiola increases muscular ATP and creatine levels.

Shortens recovery after strenuous and prolonged exercise: 30 minutes after a 12 mile long biathlon, control subjects still had a pulse rate of 129% above baseline (pre-exercise.) Rhodiola subjects had a pulse rate only 105% of baseline.

Improves physical performance: In the biathlon subjects had to ski 12 miles while periodically shooting at targets. Not only did they complete the course faster, they hit far more targets. In a study of 112 subjects, 89% of those taking Rhodiola showed a much more rapid improvement in performance in various sports. Furthermore, 69% demonstrated much faster adaptation to climatic and social changes while 86% had an improved appetite. Helps maintain energy levels. Improves indicators of protein metabolism. Valuable for body builders. Researchers considered Rhodiola the equivalent of anabolic steroids without the side-effects. Muscle protein and glutamic acid (from L-Glutamine) are enhanced by Rhodiola. It also increases hemoglobin and red blood cell levels while favorable changing the muscle to fat ratio of the body.

Increases attention span, memory and mental performance: In a proofreading test, those taking Rhodiola decreased the number of mistakes by 88% while the control group increased theirs by 84%!

A similar test was conducted with 128 students who were also tested for the effects of fatigue on mental performance over time. After an hour, the placebo group had a 13% increase in errors; after four hours this increased to 37%; after six hours it became 88%; and after eight hours it went up to 180%! Those taking Rhodiola had a 56% decrease in errors for four hours. After that it crept up but still stayed well below the controls.

Increases strength and mobility:

Prevents the development of hypoglycemia. Valuable for diabetics. In animal experiments Rhodiola increased blood insulin and decreased glucagon. Rhodiola resulted in a 50 to 80% increase in liver glycogen where excess sugar is stored.

Increases blood supply to the brain and muscles.

Optimizes serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitter levels in the brain.

Helps remove ammonia from the body.

Helps maintain high levels of creatine phosphate in the cellular mitochondria.

Activates lipase in long distance runners and swimmers.

Rhodiola Rosea protects against heart attacks. Stress causes adrenalin release which over time can "burn" the heart. Overly contracted heart muscle fibers show "contraction bands" a sign of heart muscle damage found in 86% of heart attack victims.

Rhodiola Rosea decreases the amount of adrenalin and cortisol released during stress and protects the heart against "adrenalin burn." Rhodiola also lowers serum fats and cholesterol while increasing the resistance of blood vessels to cholesterol plaques. If that weren't enough it also protects against arrhythmias (abnormal heart beats) by potentiating endorphins (natural opiates that regulate heart beat.)

Immune stimulation: Rhodiola increases immune response while blocking the immune lowering effects of cortisol. In one animal experiment, natural killer cell activity increased with Rhodiola.

Combats cancer: A study in rats showed that Rhodiola decreased tumor growth by 39% and inhibited metastases by 50%. Please note we do not have substantiated evidence of these test results.

Fat loss: In a placebo controlled study of Rhodiola’s ability to mobilize fatty acids from adipose tissue, 121 subjects were given either Rhodiola extract or a placebo and their serum lipid levels were tested at rest and after one hour of exercise. The Rhodiola group had 6% greater serum fatty acid levels than the placebo group at rest and 44% greater levels after one hour of exercise. This difference is presumably due to Rhodiola’s ability to activate adipose lipase, a key enzyme required to burn the body’s fat stores.

Similarly, a clinical study at the Georgian State Hospital (in the former Soviet Union) treated 130 overweight patients for 90 days. At the conclusion it was found that among those who consumed Rhodiola rosea extract, 92% lost an average of 20 pounds while the placebo group lost only 8 pounds on the same diet.

Rhodiola is recommended for anyone suffering from depression or anxiety, anyone requiring more mental alertness, athletes and body builders, anyone prone to develop Alzheimer's disease or who has memory problems, immune deficient or cancer patients, anyone with heart disease, those suffering from obesity, and anyone wishing to increase their sexual stamina. It is especially recommended for anyone whose life is stressful.

Alternative Herbal Supplements and Products Listed Below

Rhodiola Supplements & Products / Rhodiola Rosea / Golden Root / Root of the Arctic

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Rhodiola Information / Rhodiola Rosea / Golden Root  / Root of the Arctic
Rhodiola Information / Rhodiola Rosea / Golden Root / Root of the Arctic

Information about Rhodiola Rosea, its uses and history.

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