Rhodiola Rosea (Golden Root) Information: Does Rhodiola Rosea Boost Mental And Physical Energy?
Rhodiola rosea, also known as golden root, is an herb that grows in cold areas of the world, such as the Arctic, Central Asia, the Rocky Mountains and the mountains of northern Europe.
Russian physicians classify Rhodiola rosea as an adaptogen, that is, a substance that can help the body adapt to a variety of stresses. Adaptogenic herbs purportedly keep the body in balance without causing adverse side effects.
Rhodiola rosea is a traditional herbal remedy in Russia, Norway, Sweden and Iceland. It is used to boost mood and treat depression, as well as combat fatigue. Its effects and uses are said to be similar to the popular herb ginseng, and it is sometimes marketed as the “new ginseng.”
Research conducted in Russia shows that Rhodiola rosea can help improve mental and physical energy.
People who use the herb report increased stamina and attentiveness. In fact, a study of proofreaders in Russia showed that those who used Rhodiola rosea averaged 88% fewer errors while using the herb than when they did not use it.
Several other double-blind studies suggest that Rhodiola rosea can improve mental function in those who have been subject to stress, sleep deprivation or fatigue.
Rhodiola rosea is said to increase levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine in the brain. It does this by inhibiting monoamine oxidase, the enzyme that metabolizes these important brain chemicals. Low levels of serotonin and dopamine are associated with depression and other mood disorders.
In fact, Rhodiola rosea has a similar mechanism of action to that of the prescription antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. Such compounds are called adaptogens because they regulate levels of brain chemicals without a stimulant effect.
People native to the areas in which Rhodiola rosea grows find it an effective way to cope with the stress of life in these cold climates. Centuries ago, the Viking and Sami people in Scandinavia used Rhodiola rosea, which they called golden root, as a mood enhancer.
There is also some evidence that the herb can prevent or treat altitude sickness. In Sweden, double-blind controlled studies conducted by the Swedish Herbal Institute pointed to a significant elevation in mood for people with mild to moderate depression that used Rhodiola rosea as an herbal tonic.
Rhodiola rosea is used primarily in capsule form. The capsules should be standardized to contain the active ingredients rosavins and salidroside in the approximately 3:1 ratio in which they exist in nature. This is usually equivalent to 3% rosavins and 0.8% salidroside.
The recommended daily intake is approximately 200 to 600 mg of the standardized dried herb per day, usually taken in two or three separate doses before meals. Though the herb usually has no side effects, it can cause drowsiness, so it should be taken in the early part of the day.
This herb can also cause jitteriness or agitation. If this occurs, the dosage should be decreased until the side effects subside. People who are already in an agitated or excited state should not use rhodiola rosea.
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