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Rhodiola root Review Article

 

RHODIOLA ROSEA (Golden root)
This is a perennial plant with red, pink, or yellowish flowers. It is no biological relation of the "common" rose, but due to its similar fragrance it has been used as a substitute for Attar of Roses. One of the greatest things Rhodiola does is enhance mental and physical performance. It has been widely used by Russian athletes to increase energy. Rhodiola is cardio-protective, normalizing the heart-rate immediately after intense exercise. It improves nervous system and mental functions such as memory by increasing blood-supply to the muscles and brain, and also increases protein synthesis. Rhodiola rosea has extraordinary pharmacological properties as an anti-mutagen and anti-depressive agent. In this respect Rhodiola rosea is much more powerful than other adaptogens.

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Rhodiola rosea and immunity
Rhodiola enhances fitness and well-being under stressful conditions. Rhodiola rosea stimulates the immune system in two ways: FIRST - by specific direct stimulation of immune defence (stimulates one of the most important type of immune cells - Natural Killer Cells, NK-Cells seek and destroy the infected cells on our bodies). Rhodiola rosea normalises the immune system by improving T-cell immunity (6) Rhodiola has been shown to increase the body's resistance to toxins that may accumulate during infection development. SECOND - by making a person less susceptible to stress. Scientists found out that stress suppresses immunity and destroys our resistance to various forms of bacterial or virus attack. Due to the natural killer cell's effect on tumours Rhodiola rosea may enhance B cell immunity by preventing the suppression of B cell immunity, which can occur during stress. Being under stress, a great portion of the body's energy is expended for nothing. When we are chronically exposed to stress that continually robs energy from other systems. The general effect is a lowered immune response and decreased health.

In one study done by O.M. Duhan and colleagues, the anti-mutagenic activity of Panax Ginseng and of Rhodiola rosea were compared (4). It appeared that the extracts of Rhodiola rosea have the higher capacity to counteract gene mutations induced by various mutagens (up to about 90% inhibition in some cases). The anti-depressive and anti-stress activity of Golden root is higher than that of St. John's Wort, Ginkgo biloba and Panax Ginseng. In one clinical trial 150 individuals suffered from depression took Rhodiola rosea extracts for a period of one month. At the end of that period two-thirds of them had full remission of clinical manifestations of depression, and had become more active and more sociable. Daytime weakness and general weakness disappeared. Furthermore, Rhodiola rosea is four times less toxic than Panax ginseng. The main active components that are responsible for the extraordinary potency of Rhodiola rosea are rosavin, salidroside, rosin, and rosarin. Quality Rhodiola rosea extract should contain at least 2% rosavin and 0.8% salidroside.

Dosage:
For the roots would be 1 gram of the root three times daily, the amount for the alcoholic extract (40% alcohol) is 5 to 40 drops (0.5 - 1 teaspoon) two to three times per day and for the tea from Rhodiola rosea roots is 1 - 2 cap per day. Course for alcoholic extract: 10-20 days. Rhodiola is usually taken with water before meals or at mealtimes. Please note, that Rhodiola has a more stimulating effect at lower amounts, and a more sedating effect at higher amounts.

Methods of preparation TEA and tincture for the RHODIOLA ROSEA dry roots

Preparation of tea:
Cut fine 5g of Rhodiola rosea roots. 1 cup of boiling water pour in roots and leave for (brew) at least 4 hours. Than filter.
Daily dosage: 1/5 cup - 3-5 times per day. For better taste dilute Rhodiola rosea tea with juice, tonic or other herbal tea.

Preparation of tincture:
Mill 30 g of Rhodiola Rose roots in coffee-grinder no less 5-10 mm, add 150 ml of vodka without aromatic additives, agitate and steep 3-5 days at room temperature. Separate and filter the extract.
Dosage: 1/2 tsp. x 3 times per day. Course: 10-20 days.

History of rhodiola rosea:
Adaptogens were discovered in 1947 by the Russian scientist Dr. Nicolai Lazarev, who in fact coined the name "adaptogen". Dr. Lazarev was also the mentor of Dr. Brekhman, who conducted extensive research on adaptogenic herbs. Dr Brekhman's first major focus was the now well known Panax Ginseng, also called Korean or Chinese Ginseng. This worked, but unfortunately it has a few drawbacks that have since become evident. It sometimes has side effects such as causing constipation and over-excitement which for some people is too stimulating. Dr. Brakhman soon moved on to other herbs and became recognized as the world's leading expert on adaptogens. Since then, hundreds of experimental and clinical studies on adaptogens have been done - most of them in Russia and Germany. Most of these studies have shown the outstanding stress-protective and immune system enhancing capacities of adaptogens.
You may be familiar with the names of what are now called "first-generation" adaptogens: Panax Ginseng, American Ginseng, and Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian Ginseng). But in this article I want to tell you about a unique adaptogen of the "second generation", Rhodiola rosea (Russian Rhodiola), which is a powerful anti-aging phyto supplement with adaptogenic and anti-stress activity. In Russia, Rhodiola rosea also known as "Golden root", has been used for centuries to cope with the cold Siberian climate and stressful life. But before describing this unusual herb, let's say a few words about stress itself.

The three phases of stress progression:
1) Alarm phase - When some new stress factor strikes the body this causes a sudden release of internal stress-hormones - corticosteroids and catheholamines. If the stress is very intense it can damage the regulatory systems of the body permanently and immediately (for example in the case of exposure to high levels of nuclear radiation); but if one is lucky, or if the person takes adaptogens, than it is possible to smoothly progress further to the "adaptation phase".
2) Adaptation phase - If the stress factor continues (for example, in sport it might be heavy athletic training) our body learns to tolerate the stressful stimulus - "adapt" - and increases its resistance to the stress factor. The "adaptation phase" is usually a safe period. The longer we can stay in the "adaptation phase", the better.
3) Finally, the exhaustion phase appears, when the body fails to fight stress anymore and simply gives up. In this "exhaustion phase", disease symptoms rapidly appear and get worse.
Diseases associated with stress may appear in the first "alarm phase", but they mainly appear in the third "exhaustion phase" when the body cannot fight stress anymore. This third phase usually develops after a period of months or years. Everything depends on the duration of the "adaptation phase". Sometimes the body may be fortunate and escape this third phase altogether, provided it can keep the stress under control. It is possible to do this by taking adaptogens; they can help you to stay in the "adaptation phase" for as long as possible.
Taking Rhodiola rosea extract, can make coping with stress much easier! When regularly taking Rhodiola the initial "alarm phase" of your stress will smoothly progress to the "adaptation phase". Rhodiola rosea can help you to stay in this safe "adaptation phase" for a much longer time or even permanently, so preventing your body from proceeding further to the extremely dangerous "exhaustion phase".

Rhodiola rosea and immunity:
Rhodiola rosea stimulates the immune system in two ways: FIRST - by specific direct stimulation of immune defence (stimulates one of the most important type of immune cells - Natural Killer Cells, NK-Cells seek and destroy the infected cells on our bodies). Rhodiola rosea normalises the immune system by improving T-cell immunity (7) Rhodiola has been shown to increase the body's resistance to toxins that may accumulate during infection development. SECOND - by making a person less susceptible to stress. Scientists found out that stress suppresses immunity and destroys our resistance to various forms of bacterial or virus attack. Due to the natural killer cell's effect on tumours Rhodiola rosea may enhance B cell immunity by preventing the suppression of B cell immunity, which can occur during stress. Being under stress, a great portion of the body's energy is expended for nothing. When we are chronically exposed to stress that continually robs energy from other systems. The general effect is a lowered immune response and decreased health.

For whom Rhodiola rosea:
Rhodiola has been used in connection with fatigue, mental performance and athletic performance (to improve endurance). The Russian medicine has traditionally given Rhodiola rosea to its cosmonauts, soldiers, sportsmen and ageing political leaders as an effective anti-aging medicine. Russian Rhodiola helped them to improve cognitive functions and physical performance.
Prevention of development of fatigue, asthenic states, catarrhal seasonal diseases;
Use in comprehensive therapy for treatment of neuroses, depression, hypotension, and other diseases;
Restoration of health following recently endured communicable and somatic diseases;
Increased bodily resistance to physical and mental overloads, and negative environmental effects;
In sport - improved performance, resistance to strain, restoration of strength with increased physical loads;
Prevention of alcohol and drug addiction;
For elderly and aged persons;
It may be successfully taken by drivers, flight personnel, traffic controllers, as well as other professional cohorts of people occupationally engaged in work requiring increased attention.

Rhodiola rosea - natural alternative to Meridia (Reductil) slimming tablets:
Bulgarian researchers have demonstrated that intake of the herbal remedy Rhodiola rosea activates hormone-sensitive lipase, which plays a key role in breaking down the fat stored in adipose tissue (2). Previous Soviet clinical studies showed that the combination of Rhodiola rosea together with physical exercise can be a powerful tool in the activation of fat-tissue lipase, resulting in the breakdown of stored fat. Georgian clinical data showed that the intake of tablets of Rhodiola rosea extract by obese subjects led to a mean weight loss of 19 pounds (11% reduction). In a control group, in contrast, the weight change was insignificant. The Bulgarian study suggests a detailed mechanism for the fat-loss effect (2).

Side effect and contraindications:
Rhodiola has been the subject of many clinical studies. No side effects or interactions have been reported. Animal studies indicate that rhodiola has a low level of toxicity. (10) Don't take rhodiola during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. There is no information available about the safety of rhodiola in pregnancy or lactation. Insomnia may be a risk with high doses of rhodiola. To avoid insomnia, better to take rhodiola before breakfast for emotionally sensitive persons. A high dose is considered to be daily intakes of 1,500 to 2,000 mg and above of a Rhodiola rosea standardized extract. There are no well-known drug or nutrient interactions associated with Rhodiola rosea. However, much remains to be learned about this herb and how it may interact with other adaptogens, such as Siberian ginseng, as well as with other dietary supplements.

Rhodiola or Ginseng?
Rhodiola rosea (Russian Rhodiola) has all the advantages of Ginseng and Eleutherococcus but lacks the tendency to cause over-excitement that may sometimes occur with ginseng, or constipation as sometimes occurs with eleutherococcus. Russian Rhodiola is FIVE times less potentially toxic, than Panax ginseng.

Russian or Chinese? Be Careful!
Very precise analytical tests done by HPLC did confirm, that only Rhodiola rosea of Russian origin contains key active components: Rosavin, Rosarin, Rosin. Often so-called Rhodiola rosea formulas, sold in the United States (such as "Tibetan" Rhodiola or "Chinese" Rhodiola) contain no activity at all, as these formulas lack the key ingredient Rosavins while they are high in Salidroside. Only Rhodiola rosea of Russian origin (West and North Siberia) has the highest pharmacological activity and contains key active components ROSAVIN, ROSARIN, ROSIN and SALIDROSIDE. While so-called Tibetan Rhodiola and Rhodiola rosea of Chinese origin very often do not have enough potency and contains only SALIDROSIDE. Compare content of key substances in dry roots: Chinese Rhodiola often has no activity at all, but there are other species of Rhodiola that are predomin-ating in China, such as Tibetan Rhodiola, Rhodiola quadrifida, Rhodiola kirilowii, Rhodiola heterodonta and many others.

See also: Immunostimulators, LEUZEA carthamoides


 

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