Rhodiola Rosea is a popular arctic root that has been usedby humans for centuries. Rhodiola is an adaptogen meaning that it plays asupporting role in adjusting to stress factors(physical, chemical andbiological). According to legend Vikings used Rhodiola for strength on thebattlefield, Traditional Chinese Medicine prescribed it for general well being,and Soviet scientists experimented with it as a potential performance enhancingdrug during the Cold War. Rhodiola has been shown to exhibit neuroprotective,cardioprotective, and life-span increasing effects. As a result, Rhodiolahas become a popular supplement for those looking to enhance cognitive,physical, and life-extending properties.
Rhodiola Rosea has grown inpopularity as a nootropic because of it’s ability to resist fatigue, enhanceconcentration and improve mood. For individuals in high stress situationsthis calming alertness and focus improves performance on cognitive tests. Low dose treatment with Rhodiola Rosea was done on 56 young healthyphysicians. Statistically significant improvements were observed in testsmeasuring perceptive and cognitive cerebral functions including associativethinking, short term memory, ability to calculate and concentrate and speed ofaudio visual perception. A separate study on students with a low doseregimen of Rhodiola Rosea supplementation during stressful examination periodsaw improvements in mental fatigue and neuro-motoric tests A study on cadetstesting for their capacity to work against fatigue and stress after a singledose of Rhodiola Rosea supplementation found pronounced anti-fatigue effects inthe cadets. The anti-fatigue index measured values like pulse rate, systolicand diastolic blood pressure. And lastly, a study was conducted on maleand female participants between the ages of 18-70 who met the criteriaaccording to DMS-IV for depression. At the end of the study it wasconcluded that supplementation with Rhodiola Rosea showed anti-depressivepotency in patients with mild to moderate depression
Exercise Performance Enhancer:
As mentioned earlier, Sovietscientists experimented on Cold War era athletes with this herb as a potentialperformance enhancer. Rhodiola has cardioprotective effects that canimpact endurance, work capacity and recovery. A 4 week study of 14 maleathletes supplementing with Rhodiola Rosea and performing cardio-pulmonaryexhaustion tests. Blood lactate and creatine kinase levels were significantlylower after the exercise sessions in the groups using Rhodiola. Aseparate study on the effects Rhodiola Rosea supplementation had on enduranceexercise performance revealed a shorter time to completion of 6 mile time trialcourses. A study involving 30 minute cycling trials at 70% VO2 max followingRhodiola Rosea administration found that RPE was significantly lower aftersupplementation and perceptions of mood and arousal were significantly higherin the Rhodiola Rosea supplemented groups.
Traditional Chinese medicine hasproposed that Rhodiola may increase an organism’s resistance to stress and canextend longevity by because of it’s antioxidant properties. As anadaptogen Rhodiola has also been shown to be effective at lowering levels of thestress hormone cortisol. Most interestingly in animal studies, RhodiolaRosea has even been shown to increase the lifespan of organisms.
Rhodiola supplied every other daysignificantly increased the lifespan of fruit flies. Another study onnematodes revealed that Rhodiola could act to increase the maximum lifespan ofnematodes and was able to increase stress resistance when the nematodes whereexposed to different stress conditions. The mode of action appeared to bethrough the activation of a longevity gene.