Rhodiola rosea is a flowering herb in the Crassulaceae family. A hardy perennial, rhodiola is distinguished by spiky blue-green leaves and its bright yellow flowers. However, it is the plant’s roots that are most valued for their purported medicinal properties. The roots contain numerous antioxidants, tannins, flavonoids, and rosavins, an active compound believed to produce antidepressant and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects and is native to northern Europe, central Asia, and parts of North America.
Rhodiola, while most commonly available in capsule or tablet form, can also be taken as a tea, tincture, tonic, or other liquid extract, depending on preference. Rhodiola rosea is classified as an adaptogen herb, which means it increase the body’s ability to cope with internal and external stress factors and normalize the functions of the organism. Adaptogen herbs help maintain the stable internal environment inside the organism known as homeostasis. Rhodiola rosea has also been recommended for fatigue, catarrhal seasonal diseases, along with mental performance and to improve endurance. It increases bodily resistance to physical and mental overloads, and negative environmental effects.
It is also thought to strengthen the nervous system, fight depression, enhance immunity, elevate the capacity for exercise, enhance memory, aid in weight loss, increase sexual function and improve energy levels. Many other benefits from the use of rhodiola has been found including its ability to improve hearing, to regulate blood sugar levels for diabetics and protect the liver from environmental toxins. A tea brewed from rhodiola rosea has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions ranging from colds and flu to tuberculosis and cancer in arctic areas of Europe and Asia.
Rhodiola is known to be a powerful antioxidant and may be used in treating various types of cancers. Studies have shown that rhodiola reduced the cell mutations associated with cancer as well as help the body’s ability to repair DNA mutations.
With all its numerous health benefits there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them. Contact a health professional before using this herb.