Rhodiola Rosea has been used as a natural tonic to increase energy and strengthen vitality for more than 3,000 years. Rhodiola also makes you more resistant to stress, reduces anxiety, strengthens virility and shortens the recovery time after sports.
Experts say that up to 80% of all health problems are directly or indirectly caused by excessive or long-term stress and, if left untreated, can lead to serious illnesses.
Modern, stressful everyday life is probably the main contributing factor to chronic illness and premature ageing. Rhodiola Rosea (also known as rose root) could be your natural protective shield against stress. Because Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen that helps the body deal with emotional and physical stress better.
Adaptogens are natural substances that strengthen our body's resistance while keeping its functions in a normal healthy range, especially under stressful mental and physical conditions. Adaptogens help maintain the stable environment in the organism known as self-regulation.
Simply put, this means that you can stay healthy and productive even if you are under high physical or mental stress. Rhodiola Rosea prevents the stress hormones from messing up the harmony of the body and having negative, pathogenic effects on body and mind.
The main advantages of adaptogens are the increased availability of energy during the day, a reduction in the feeling of stress, increased endurance, increased mental alertness and deep, relaxing sleep. Adaptogens also significantly accelerate the recovery period after an illness.
Where does Rhodiola Rosea come from?
Rhodiola Rosea is a very robust plant that is found in the harsh polar environment at an altitude of over 3,000 metres in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. The plant grows to a height of between 30 and 76 cm, has yellow flowers and is often called golden root, Siberian root, rose root, or arctic root.
In Russia, Rhodiola Rosea has been used for centuries to cope with the cold Siberian climate and stressful everyday life.
Rhodiola Rosea belongs to the thick-leaf plant family. It is important to understand that there are over 200 species of the Rhodiola plant - but only the Rhodiola ROSEA plant has shown significant health benefits. This plant got its name because the cut root smells like a rose.
How does Rhodiola Rosea work?
Rhodiola Rosea inhibits subtypes A and B of the enzyme monoamine oxidase. These are also known as MAO-A and MAO-B and have the task of metabolizing serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT) and dopamine (DA).
Since the ability of these enzymes to metabolize neurotransmitters is inhibited (not stopped, but rather inhibited), serotonin and dopamine remain active in the brain for a longer time and in higher concentrations. The serotonin activity in your brain improves and stabilizes your mood. The dopamine activity in your brain makes you more confident, positive and motivated.
Rhodiola Rosea also appears to affect the opioid peptides, which are amino acids, like beta-endorphin, that act as neurotransmitters within the peripheral and central nervous system. Some evidence suggests that Rhodiola has these benefits because it regulates the production of cortisol (the "stress hormone") by the adrenal glands during times of psychological or physical stress.
Cortisol regulation theoretically prevents these stress hormones from making you tired, as excess cortisol can affect the immune system and counteract insulin.
What are the effects and benefits of Rhodiola Rosea?
The benefits of Rhodiola include well-established uses which have been proven in more than 190 clinical studies, as well as theoretical advantages of Rhodiola that have convinced several researchers but have not yet been tested in specific, controlled studies.
The list of benefits of Rhodiola Rosea is long:
- Helps with mental and physical exhaustion
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Helps balance all neurotransmitters
- Balances the stress response system by limiting the excessive release of the stress hormone cortisol
- Is used for depression and neuroses
- Increases energy, endurance and stamina
- Helps extend the attention span
- Promotes mental clarity
- Improves memory and mental performance
- Helps fight melancholy and emotional stress
- Improves sexual performance
- Promotes healthy sleep
- Improves athletic performance during sports (improves endurance)
- Can shorten the recovery time after strenuous training sessions
- Prevents the development of seasonal catarrhal diseases
- Stimulates the production of natural killer cells (cells that protect against infections)
- Increases the body's resistance against physical and mental stress and negative environmental influences
- Boosts cellular energy by stimulating the production of ATP and CP (the body's fuel)
- Is a powerful antioxidant - helps fight free radicals and prevents oxidative damage in our body
- Is a general tonic for the elderly and ageing person
- Helps the recovery period from recently overcome illnesses
- Stimulates the fat metabolism for energy production
- Has a positive effect on jobs that require increased attention, such as long-distance drivers, traffic controllers, pilots
- Compared to known adaptogens, it has a fast-acting and long-lasting effect
1. Rhodiola Rosea extract helps with asthenic disorders
The use of Rhodiola Rosea includes asthenic disorders caused by intense physical or intellectual stress, flu, or other illnesses. Asthenic disorders include insomnia, a decline in work performance, poor appetite, irritability, high blood pressure, fatigue and headaches.
2. Rhodiola Rosea improves physical and mental performance
Studies with Rhodiola Rosea show that it shortens the recovery time after strenuous exercise and improves attention span and memory. Clinical studies, examining proofreading, have shown that Rhodiola Rosea improves memory and concentration over an extended period of time.
For example, in one study, 50 students were randomly given either 50 mg of standardized Rhodiola Rosea extract or a placebo twice a day for twenty days. The test subjects who consumed the standardized Rhodiola extract showed statistically significant improvements in physical fitness, psychomotor functions and mental performance.
3. Rhodiola Rosea reduces stress
Stress can be versatile. We all struggle with emotional stress from time to time and we all know how dull it makes you feel. Everyone who plays sports knows the effects of physical stress on the body. Using the muscles can produce some positive results, but the physical stress on the body can take its toll.
We should also not forget environmental stress, which we are exposed to on a daily basis, such as smoke in the air, pollutants in our food and water, toxins from our plastic bottles. The body is therefore attacked by a variety of stress factors.
All types of stress have many negative effects on the human body. Therefore, our body releases cortisol when we are stressed. If we are exposed to a lot of stress, then there is too much cortisol in the body, which can lead to a variety of problems.
When we are exposed to stress, a complex series of chemical and neurological systems are activated. Our body practically has a stress response system that enables it to cope with the immediate threat that a stressor poses.
Compare this to the red area on your car's tachometer. We usually drive in a normal speed range, but when we have to quickly dodge a car coming our way, we step on the accelerator, the tachometer hits the red zone and we avoid a disaster.
Just as bad as it is to always drive your car in the red zone, it is also bad when our body has to constantly fight against stress. Rhodiola Rosea calms the stress response system and supports the parasympathetic nervous system.
As you can imagine, this stress can damage our mitochondria and thereby reduce cell energy. Rhodiola Rosea can help increase our cellular energy.
4. Rhodiola Rosea helps with depression
We all know that stress also has a huge mental impact on our bodies. Stress drains us, makes us depressed and we feel unhappy. Rhodiola Rosea stimulates the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are essential for keeping us happy and energetic.
Rhodiola Rosea became popular in the United States after the Swedish Herbal Institute conducted a comprehensive study to evaluate the use of Rhodiola for depression. The results of this study caused a stir as they strongly advocated the use of Rhodiola Rosea for the treatment of mild depression and anxiety.
In a clinical study, 150 people suffering from depression took Rhodiola Rosea extract for one month. At the end of this period, two-thirds of them showed complete decline of clinical symptoms of depression and became more active and sociable. The daytime and general weakness disappeared.
5. Benefits of Rhodiola in heart and cancer research
Some studies also show that Rhodiola can be effective in treating stress-induced heart diseases. Its mechanisms in these circumstances include the ability to reduce corticosteroids and catecholamines, which is released by the adrenal glands when a person is under stress.
A series of double-blind, placebo-controlled studies conducted jointly by Swedish and Russian researchers found that Rhodiola has beneficial effects on the heart.
6. Increase in anti-tumour activities through Rhodiola Rosea
By increasing the body's resistance to toxins, Rhodiola appears to have anti-tumour activities. Rhodiola Rosea has been found to contain an assortment of antioxidant compounds.
Rhodiola extracts have achieved considerable success in the fight against free radicals. Studies are being conducted at the time, to determine whether Rhodiola Rosea can be labelled as a legitimate cancer treatment, or at least as a safe dietary supplement to aid patients during chemotherapy.
7. Rhodiola Rosea strengthens the immune systemRhodiola Rosea stimulates the immune system in two ways:
- Through specific, direct stimulation of the immune system (it stimulates one of the most important types of immune cells: The natural killer cells. NK cells search for and destroy the infected cells in our body).
Rhodiola Rosea normalizes the immune system by improving the immunity of T-Cells. Rhodiola has been shown to increase the body's resistance to toxins that can build up as an infection develops.
- By making a person less prone to stress
Scientists have found that stress suppresses the immune system and destroys our resistance to various forms of bacterial and viral attacks. Due to the natural effects of the killer cells on tumours, Rhodiola Rosea can increase the B-cell immunity by preventing the suppression of B-cell immunity which can occur during stress.
When we are under stress, much of the body's energy is uselessly wasted. When we are exposed to chronic stress that constantly deprives other systems of energy, the result is a reduced immune response and deteriorated health.
Rhodiola Rosea extract protects and stimulates the immune system by restoring self-regulation - or metabolic balances - in our body.
Understanding stress better - The three stages in stress development
1. Alarm phase
When new stressors reach the body, it leads to a sudden release of the internal stress hormones - corticosteroids and catecholamines. If the stress is very intense, it can permanently and instantly damage the body's regulatory system. However, if someone is lucky or takes adaptogens, it is possible to get into the "habituation phase" without any problems.
2. Getting used to it
If the stress factor persists (for example in the case of intense athletic training in the field of sports), our body learns to tolerate the stressful stimulus - it gets used to it - and to increase the resistance to the stress factor. The habituation phase is usually a safe phase. The longer we can stay in the habituation phase, the better.
3. Exhaustion phase
This occurs when the body can no longer fight the stress and simply gives up. In this phase of exhaustion, symptoms of the disease appear or worsen very quickly.
Illnesses that are associated with stress can appear in the first alarm phase, but they mainly appear in the exhaustion phase, when the body can no longer fight the stress. We usually reach the third phase after a few months or years. It all depends on how long it takes to get used to it.
Sometimes the body is lucky and can avoid this third phase completely - provided that it can keep the stress under control. It is possible to achieve this by taking adaptogens. These can help you stay in the habituation phase for as long as possible.
Taking a Rhodiola Rosea extract can make it much easier to deal with stress. If you take Rhodiola on a regular basis, the initial alarm phase will easily transition into the habituation phase. Rhodiola Rosea can help you stay in this habituation phase much longer or even permanently and thereby prevents your body from sliding into the extremely dangerous phase of exhaustion.
Does Rhodiola Rosea have side effects and/or interactions?
Rhodiola Royal has some minor side effects, such as increased dreams and restlessness when taking high doses. However, many professionals emphasize the positive effects rather than the side effects. In contrast to MAOIs, Rhodiola Royal can also be combined with most medications.