Rhodiola Rhodiola rosea, is a perennial herb native to northern regions of Europe, Lapland, Alaska, Scandinavia, and Siberia. Rhodiola is also known as Arctic Root; Gold Root or Golden Root (a name given due to the perceived value of the roots); Rose Root (a name given due to the aroma of the roots); and Rosavin.
Rhodiola prefers the colder climates but can be grown in any of the US Hardiness Zones. It grows to be about 1 foot by 1 foot, flowering spring through summer with yellow or red flowers. It does prefer full sun and well drained soil but cannot tolerate drought. The plants tend to produce only male or only female flowers, so growing multiple plants is suggested. They are pollinated by insects.
Rhodiola is a plant that can be used as food as well as medicinally. The leaves and shoots can be eaten raw or cooked. Though they may have a slightly bitter flavor they are a nice addition to a salad in small amounts. The stems have been cooked and eaten similar to asparagus, and the roots may be eaten raw or cooked. The various parts of the plant can also be fermented and then eaten.
Medicinally, rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb. The root seems to be the part of the plant that the majority of studies have been done on. It is claimed to possess life extension potential, as are most adaptogens. It may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system by alleviating some types of arrhythmias, improving blood circulation, lowering blood pressure, and preventing atherosclerosis, ventricular fibrillation and stress-induced damage to the heart.
Rhodiola root may enhance the function of mitochondria, improve hearing, prevent altitude sickness, enhance the body’s production of energy, alleviate fatigue, and increase stamina as well as muscle strength. It may enhance function of the thyroid gland, hypothalamus and the liver and improve function of the thymus. Rhodiola root may also inhibit the release of CRH (Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone) during periods of stress.
Rhodiola root has been studied for use in cancer treatments and found to help prevent the metastasis of cancer, prolong the life span of cancer patients and reduce the rate of recurrence of tumors in bladder cancer patients.
The root also reduces inflammation, and may inhibit the replication of influenza viruses. It is known to posses antioxidant properties, alleviate anxiety, increase attention span, improve concentration and memory as well as the quality of sleep. It has been claimed to alleviate depression. It facilitates the transport of 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) into the brain, may increase Beta-Endorphin levels, enhance the production of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), facilitate the repair of damaged DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) and stimulate endogenous production of Opioids.
The average dose of Rhodiola Root is 50 to 750 mg per day, or 500 mg taken just before exercise or anything that requires either energy or mental clarity.