Medical herbalist Gabriella Clarke introduces you to some of the health benefits of rhodiola rosea.
THE HISTORY OF RHODIOLA
The use of rhodiola dates back at least 2000 years especially in Russia where it has become a common folk medicine. Modern research has shown rhodiola root to contain at least 140 chemical constituents, which account for its amazing medical benefits. These days it is growing in popularity in Europe and the US.
Also known as golden root, the amazing rhodiola rosea plant is native to some of the harshest and most uninhabitable places in the world such as the mountains of Scandinavia, Iceland and Siberia. It is what is known as an adaptogen, which means that it can help people adapt physically, mentally and emotionally with stress and change.
Some studies have demonstrated that extracts of rhodiola appear to improve the transport of tryptophan and 5 hydroxy tryptophan, both precursors to serotonin, into the brain. Healthy serotonin levels lead to feelings of contentment and mental ease.[i]
WHAT IS IT USED FOR?
Among other things, changing jobs, sickness, bereavement or moving house are common stressors. These in turn can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia and depression. As rhodiola is an adaptogen it helps us to cope with these symptoms and feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.[ii]
LACK OF LIBIDO
If your sex life is below par and in need of a boost, a dose of rhodiola may be the answer. As it helps to relieve stress and increase energy, in turn it helps to restore a flagging libido[iii].
Rhodiola has performance-enhancing properties. It increases mental alertness, improves cognitive function and increases physical energy and endurance. It has also been found to increase levels of certain proteins and enzymes, which are crucial to the recovery and repair of muscles[iv].
Rhodiola may help improve low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) without appearing to have an adverse effect on an overactive thyroid.[v]
Rhodiola may increase white blood cell count, which helps protect against colds and flu and other viruses[vi].
Rhodiola is well tolerated and doesn’t appear to cause any adverse interactions. However, it should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. As it may lower blood sugar levels, people with diabetes should also consult a medical herbalist before taking it.