While some of the extraordinary claims made for rhodiola rosea extract deserve a healthy skepticism, some legitimate clinical trials suggest some serious consideration is warranted. What is rhodiola, how does one take it and where does it come from?
What is Rhodiola Rosea Extract?
Rhodiola rosea extract comes from a small, green plant with tiny yellow flowers. Somehow this delicate little plant thrives in particularly rugged, rocky conditions such as frigid Siberia and the alpine areas of the Rocky Mountains in North America. Thus it has earned the nickname “arctic root.” This supplement is, allegedly, an effective adaptogen for helping people endure both physical and emotional stress.
How Should You Take Rhodiola Rosea?
To obtain the maximum benefit from this adaptogenic herbal remedy, you can either consume 150 to 300 milligrams of rhodiola rosea herbal extract standardized to about 2% rosavin or 300 to 600 milligrams each day standardized to about 1% rosavin. Rosavin is a key constituent in rhodiola’s purpose and functionality.
To maximize adaptogenic properties, one must begin taking rhodiola at least a month before he or she will face the stressful situation, then take it every day up to the stressful event and continue taking it through the event.
Some people believe one can take three times the typical dosage right before facing a stressful activity, but I would discuss this matter with your doctor or natural physician.
Who Discovered This Arctic Root?
So where did this clever little remedy come from? For decades, if not centuries, rhodiola rosea extract has been used as a traditional herbal treatment in Eastern and Northern Europe and in Northern Asia. People in these regions have used it to help fight fatigue and depression in dark, cold climates and high altitudes.
Scientists in Soviet Russia labeled rhodiola rosea as an adaptogen after it exhibited a capacity to increase a person’s ability to resist the biological stress incurred during physical and mental challenges. An adaptogen, as the word implies, boosts an individual’s ability to adapt to strenuous circumstance, both physical and mental.
Soviet scientist Nickolai Lazarev coined the term adaptogen when he observed organic compounds inducing a varied resistance to mental and physical stressors.
Does Rhodiola Rosea Really Work?
Among the adaptogens studied in the Soviet Union, rhodiola carries the most weight of great expectations. Unfortunately, much of the research that created this expectation is no longer available to study and verify. Some people are justifiably skeptical for the claims made by the conclusions of this research. But some modern, western studies indicate there may be something to rhodiola, even if it isn’t as extraordinary as some old Russian research suggests.
Similar benefits have been claimed of ginseng, and unfortunately, western research can’t seem to verify the claims made for ginseng. While rhodiola rosea extract has done better than ginseng in various clinical trials and appears to have some legitimate merits, the fact that ginseng hasn’t proven its worth with modern science despite traditional claims leaves some people understandably doubtful of this arctic root.
So will it work for you? Well, as it has a very low toxicity, you might consider trying it for yourself. But I suggest discussing the matter with your doctor or natural health practitioner before integrating any herbal remedy into your routine.