Rhodiola Rosea or simply Rhodiola is an herb that grows in the cold regions of Asia and Europe. Growing in the almost inhabitable places, this herb possesses active ingredients that give it the ability to cope with environmental stressors in order to survive. Fortunately, these ingredients produce the same beneficial effects on the human body the way it does on the Rhodiola herb. Sometimes called “arctic root” or “golden root”, Rhodiola is classified as one of nature’s most potent adaptogens. They are herbs that help the body cope with stress and pressure, when we often find it hard to be happy and more likely feel depressed. Depression reduces a person’s quality of life – making us less productive at work, losing our interest to mingle with family and friends, and in worse cases, cause illnesses.
Rhodiola herb has been used by traditional healers for centuries. Written history revealed that the use of Rhodiola dates back to 1755 in Sweden. Research conducted in Bulgaria, Russia, and Scandinavia confirmed that the herb was traditionally used for promoting healthy mood in depression and supporting healthy energy levels during fatigue. Russians who first discovered the benefits of Rhodiola based on scientific studies have used it to promote athletic performance and mental alertness. The results of these early studies were purposely made secret within the Soviet Union because they didn’t want westerners to take advantage of its benefits. Today, Rhodiola is used in countries around the world as an herb for wellness because of its ability to strengthen the body in fighting disease-causing stressors and happiness, for promoting a positive mood even during the most stressful situations.
Rhodiola is rich in phytochemicals that exhibit stress-fighting abilities. These include rosarin, salidrosides, tyrosol, and the most important of all, rosavin. Russian scientists found that rosavin directly affects the production of several neurotransmitters in the brain related to stress like serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Patients diagnosed with depression are usually low in serotonin due to the activity of the Catechol-O-Methyl Transferase (COMT). Rosavin was found to interfere with the action of COMT to prevent decrease in serotonin levels, thereby preventing depression and uplifting mood.
Numerous studies on Rhodiola rosavin suggest that it can optimise mental performance even during stressful situations. In a trial involving 56 physicians tested the effects of Rosavin on their mental performance the next day after a night duty. The group of physicians who were given low-dose standardised Rosavin extract demonstrated noticeable improvement in their cognitive functions like associative thinking, audio-visual perception, memory, and calculation after the two-week trial period compared to the placebo group. On another study, Rhodiola was given to high school students, who showed significant improvement in their intellectual working capacity after taking the herb. The proofreading tests of the 120 student subjects revealed that it can promote memory and concentration for prolonged periods.
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