Rhodiola Rosea - Fighting Stress and Anxiety
Rhodiola Rosea is the latest natural remedy to join the arsenal of natural anxiety and stress reducers. Also known as Golden Root or Rose Root, it is a native plant of arctic Siberia. For centuries it has been used by eastern European and Asian cultures for physical endurance, work productivity, longevity, resistance to high altitude sickness, and to treat fatigue, depression, anaemia, impotence, gastrointestinal ailments, infections, and nervous system disorders.
The first recorded medicinal applications of rodia riza (renamed Rhodiola Rosea) was made by the Greek physician, Dioscorides, in 77 C.E. in 'De Materia Medica'. Rhodiola Rosea has been included in official Russian medicine since 1969.
Despite its long history, the Western world has only recently become aware of the health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea. It has come to the attention of many natural health practitioners because of studies which tested its affects on combating anxiety and stress.
Rhodiola Rosea is considered an adaptogen. This means it has an overall stabilizing effect on the body without disrupting other functions. Its ability to normalize hormones may be effective for treating depression and anxiety. Studies of Rhodiola Rosea show that it stimulates neurotransmitters and enhances their effects on the brain. This includes the ability for the brain to process serotonin which helps the body to adapt to stress. Since adaptogens improve the body's overall ability to handle stress, it has been studied to identify it's effects on biological, chemical and physical stress.
A study was performed to test the effects of Rhodiola Rosea when stress is caused by intense mental work (such as final exams). Such tests concluded that using Rhodiola Rosea improved the amount and quality of work, increasing mental clarity and reducing the effects of fatigue.
The effects of Rhodiola Rosea have also been tested on stress and anxiety from both physical and emotional sources. A report by the American Botanical Council states that "Most users find that it improves their mood, energy level, and mental clarity." They also report on a study that indicated Rhodiola Rosea could increase stress tolerance while at the same time protecting the brain and heart from the physical affects of stress. This report included details of studies which highlight the overall health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea.
The generally recommended dose is 200-600mg/day. The active properties should be a minimum 0.8 percent salidroside and 3 percent rosavin.
It is important for consumers to know that Rhodiola may be sold using other species that do not share the properties of Rhodiola Rosea, or at ineffective strengths for treatment. Anyone with depression or anxiety should also check with a health professional when treating these symptoms.
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