Rhodiola: A powerful adaptogen
By Peter D’Adamo
Rhodiola rosea (Russian Rhodiola) This is a perennial plant with red, pink, or yellowish flowers. It is no biological relation to 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 and cosmonauts to increase energy. Rhodiola is cardio-protective, normalising 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, (1,2,3).
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. In one study done by O.M. Duhan and colleagues (4), the anti-mutagenic activities of Panax Ginseng and of Rhodiola rosea were compared It appeared that the extracts of Rhodiola rosea had 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. Furthermore, Rhodiola rosea is five times less toxic than Panax ginseng.
In another clinical trial 150 individuals suffering 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.
Rhodiola rosea extracts reduce significantly the yield of cells with the chromosome aberrations in vivo and inhibit unscheduled DNA synthesis induced by N-nitroso-N-methylurea in vitro (5). It is emphasised that Rhodiola rosea extracts have rejuvenative properties due to their ability to raise the efficiency of the intracell DNA repair mechanisms.
Probably the best reason to use Rhodiola (a real Achille’s heel for group O individuals) is the ability of the plant to help clear excess catecholamines, such as adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. From Live Right 4 Your Type, you may remember that group O blood is associated with tendencies to over accumulate adrenaline by excess conversion of their dopamine. In addition to the excess levels, group O is associated with a lowered ability to clear catecholamines once made.
Rhodiola is a prime component of the CATECHOL formula.
- Maslova L.V. et al. (1994) “The cardioprotective and antiadrenergic activity of an extract of Rhodiola rosea in stress” Eksp Klin Farmakol 57(6): 61-6
- Germano, C. et al. (1999) “Arctic root. The powerful new ginseng alternative” Kensington Publ.Corp.
- Petkov, V.D. et. al. (1986) “Effects of alcohol aqueous extract from Rhodiola rosea L. roots on learning and memory” Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg 12(1): 3-16
- Duhan, O.M. et al. (1999) “The antimutagenic activity of biomass extracts from the cultured cells of medicinal plants in the Ames test” Tsitol Genet Nov-Dec 33(6): 19-25
- Salikhova RA et.al. (1997) “Effect of Rhodiola rosea on the yield of mutation alteration and DNA repair in bone marrow cells”. Patol Fiziol Exsp Ter Oct-Dec (4) : 22-4