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Golden Root (Rhodiola rosea)…….a queen of adaptogenic herbs



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 Golden Root (Rhodiola rosea) – Also called Arctic Root or Roseroot, golden root is considered a queen of adaptogenic herbs. As one blogger puts it, “[Golden root] allows us to regulate our immune, physiological and neurological responses to stress, allowing us to survive not only rough environmental/weather challenges, but also to adapt and adjust our often neurotic mental habits and crazy social/political climates as well.

”The Russians use it to improve physical stamina and adapt to environmental stress. In Siberia, people still say, “Those who drink Rhodiola tea will live more than 100 years old.” The extract possesses positive mood enhancing and anti-stress properties with no detectable levels of toxicity. Golden root works by enhancing the body’s ability to make serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters that aid in happiness and stress-reduction.


Rhodiola rosea (commonly golden root, rose root, roseroot, Aaron’s rod, arctic root, king’s crown, lignum rhodium, orpin rose) is a perennial flowering plant in the family Crassulaceae. It grows in cold regions of the world, including much of the Arctic, the mountains ofCentral Asia, scattered in eastern North America from Baffin Island to the mountains of North Carolina, and mountainous parts of Europe, such as the Alps, Pyrenees, and Carpathian Mountains, Scandinavia, Iceland, Great Britain and Ireland. It grows on sea cliffs and on mountains[2] at altitudes up to 2280 meters.[where?][citation needed] Several shoots grow from the same thick root. Shoots may reach 5 to 35 cm in height. R. rosea is dioecious – having separate female and male plants.


The first time that R. rosea is described was from Dioscorides in De Materia Medica.



Some studies have found support for it having antidepressant effects.[3][4] It is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cure, treat, or prevent any disease. In fact, the FDA has forcibly removed some products containing R. rosea from the market due to disputed claims that it treats cancer, anxiety, influenza, the common cold, bacterial infections, and migraines.[5]

R. rosea may be effective for improving mood and alleviating depression. Pilot studies on human subjects[6][7][8] showed it improves physical and mental performance, and may reduce fatigue.

In Russia and Scandinavia, R. rosea has been used for centuries to cope with the cold Siberianclimate and stressful life.[citation needed][9][10] Such effects were provided with evidence in laboratory models of stress using the nematode C. elegans,[11] and in rats in which Rhodiola effectively prevented stress-induced changes in appetite, physical activity, weight gain and the estrus cycle.[12]

The plant has been used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called hóng jǐng tiān (). The medicine can be used to prevent altitude sickness.[citation needed]

The aerial portion is consumed as food in some parts of the world, sometimes added to salads.[13]

Phytochemicals and potential health effects

Withering flower

Scientists have identified about 140 chemical compounds in the subterranean portions of R. rosea.[14] Rhodiola roots contain phenols,rosavin, rosin, rosarin, organic acids, terpenoids, phenolcarbonic acids and their derivatives, flavonoids, anthraquinones, and alkaloids.

The chemical composition of the essential oil from R. rosea root growing in different countries varies. For example, rosavin, rosarin and rosin at their highest concentration according to many tests can be found only in R. rosea of Russian origin; the main component of the essential oil from Rhodiola growing in Bulgaria are geraniol and myrtenol; in China the main components are geraniol and 1-octanol; and in India the main component is phenylethilic alcohol. Cinnamic alcohol was discovered only in the sample from Bulgaria.[15]

R. rosea contains a variety of compounds that may contribute to its effects,[16] including the class of rosavins that includes rosavin, rosarin, and rosin. Several studies have suggested that the most active components are likely to be rhodioloside and tyrosol,[17] with other components being inactive when administered alone, but showing synergistic effects when a fixed combination of rhodioloside, rosavin, rosarin and rosin was used.[18] Authentication, as well as potency, of R. rosea crude material and standardized extracts thereof are carried out with validated high-performance liquid chromatography analyses to verify the content of the marker constituents salidroside, rosarin, rosavin, rosin and rosiridin.[19]

Although rosavin, rosarin, rosin and salidroside (and sometimes p-tyrosol, rhodioniside, rhodiolin and rosiridin) are among suspected active ingredients of R. rosea, these compounds are mostly polyphenols. There is no evidence that these chemicals have any physiological effect in humans that could prevent or reduce risk of disease.[20]

Although these phytochemicals are typically mentioned as specific to Rhodiola extracts, there are many other constituent phenolic antioxidants, including proanthocyanidins,quercetin, gallic acid, chlorogenic acid and kaempferol.[21][22]

Dried R. rosea root

Animal tests have suggested a variety of beneficial effects for R. rosea extracts,[23] and there is some scientific evidence for its efficacy as a treatment for depression and fatigue [6][7][24][25] in humans.

Scientific evidence

R. rosea extract exerts an antifatigue effect that increases mental performance, particularly the ability to concentrate in healthy subjects[6][7][24] and burnout patients with fatigue syndrome.[25] Rhodiola significantly reduced symptoms of fatigue and improved attention after four weeks of repeated administration.[25] A 2007 clinical trial from Armenia showed significant effect for a Rhodiola extract in doses of 340–680 mg per day in male and female patients from 18 to 70 years old with mild to moderate depression. No side effects were demonstrated at these doses.[3] One study found inhibition of MAO-A and MAO-B.[26] Studies on whether Rhodiola improves physical performance have been inconclusive, with some studies showing some benefit,[27] while others show no significant difference.[28]

Two systematic reviews on R. rosea extracts concluded that the research evidence is contradictory, and definite conclusions over its efficacy to relieve mental and physical fatigue are hampered by the lack of rigorously-designed, well-controlled randomized control trials [29]

In clinical medical trials on people R. rosea extract has a positive effect on sensitive and fading skin improving overall skin condition.[30][full citation needed]

R. rosea promotes the release of norepinephrine from rat pineal corpus cavernosum smooth muscle cell and artery endothelium cell, which was correlated with its effect of resisting senility.[31] R. rosea extract has been found to increase the life span of fruit fly (Drosophila) by 24% independently of dietary restriction.[32]

R. rosea may enhance the detoxification of many toxic heavy metals.[33]


  1. Jump up^ “Rhodiola rosea – Plants For A Future database report”. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  2. Jump up^ Stace, C.A. (2010). New flora of the British isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. p. 138. ISBN 9780521707725.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b Darbinyan V, Aslanyan G, Amroyan E, Gabrielyan E, Malmström C, Panossian A (2007). “Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract in the treatment of mild to moderate depression”. Nord J Psychiatry 61 (5): 343–8. doi:10.1080/08039480701643290.PMID 17990195.
  4. Jump up^ Dwyer AV, Whitten DL, Hawrelak JA (March 2011). “Herbal medicines, other than St. John’s Wort, in the treatment of depression: a systematic review” (PDF). Altern Med Rev 16 (1): 40–9. PMID 21438645.
  5. Jump up^ See for example, Letter, dated April 21, 2005, Food and Drug Administration
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b c Shevtsov VA, Zholus BI, Shervarly VI, et al. (Mar 2003). “A randomized trial of two different doses of Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work”. Phytomedicine 10 (2–3): 95–105. doi:10.1078/094471103321659780.PMID 12725561.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b c Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H (Oct 2000). “Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue—a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty”. Phytomedicine 7 (5): 365–71. doi:10.1016/S0944-7113(00)80055-0. PMID 11081987.
  8. Jump up^ Ha Z, Zhu Y, Zhang X, et al. (Sep 2002). “[The effect of rhodiola and acetazolamide on the sleep architecture and blood oxygen saturation in men living at high altitude]”.Zhonghua Jie He He Hu Xi Za Zhi (in Chinese) 25 (9): 527–30. PMID 12423559.
  9. Jump up^ Azizov, AP; Seĭfulla, RD (May–Jun 1998). “[The effect of elton, leveton, fitoton and adapton on the work capacity of experimental animals].”. Eksperimental’naia i klinicheskaia farmakologiia 61 (3): 61–3. PMID 9690082.
  10. Jump up^ Darbinyan, V; Kteyan, A; Panossian, A; Gabrielian, E; Wikman, G; Wagner, H (Oct 2000). “Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue–a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty.”. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology 7 (5): 365–71. doi:10.1016/S0944-7113(00)80055-0. PMID 11081987.
  11. Jump up^ Wiegant FA, Surinova S, Ytsma E, Langelaar-Makkinje M, Wikman G, Post JA (Jun 2008). “Plant adaptogens increase lifespan and stress resistance in C. elegans”.Biogerontology 10 (1): 27–42. doi:10.1007/s10522-008-9151-9. PMID 18536978.
  12. Jump up^ Mattioli L, Funari C, Perfumi M (May 2008). “Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. extract on behavioural and physiological alterations induced by chronic mild stress in female rats”.Journal of Psychopharmacology (Oxford) 23 (2): 130–42.doi:10.1177/0269881108089872. PMID 18515456.
  13. Jump up^ Saratikov A.S. (1974). Golden Root (Rhodiola Rosea) (2nd ed.). Publishing House of Tomsk University. p. 158.
  14. Jump up^ Panossian, A., Wikman, G. (2010). “Rosenroot (Roseroot): Traditional Use, Chemical Composition, Pharmacology, and Clinical Efficacy”. Phytomedicine 17 (5-6): 481–493.doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2010.02.002.
  15. Jump up^ Evstavieva L., Todorova M., Antonova D., Staneva J. (2010). “Chemical composition of the essential oils of Rhodiola rosea L. of three different origins”. Pharmacogn Mag. 6 (24): 256–258.
  16. Jump up^ Kucinskaite A, Briedis V, Savickas A (2004). “[Experimental analysis of therapeutic properties of Rhodiola rosea L. and its possible application in medicine]”. Medicina (Kaunas) (in Lithuanian) 40 (7): 614–9. PMID 15252224.
  17. Jump up^ Mao Y, Li Y, Yao N (Nov 2007). “Simultaneous determination of salidroside and tyrosol in extracts of Rhodiola L. by microwave assisted extraction and high-performance liquid chromatography”. J Pharm Biomed Anal 45 (3): 510–5. doi:10.1016/j.jpba.2007.05.031.PMID 17628386.
  18. Jump up^ Panossian A, Nikoyan N, Ohanyan N, et al. (Jan 2008). “Comparative study of Rhodiola preparations on behavioral despair of rats”. Phytomedicine 15 (1–2): 84–91.doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2007.10.003. PMID 18054474.
  19. Jump up^ Ganzera M, Yayla Y, Khan IA (April 2001). “Analysis of the marker compounds of Rhodiola rosea L. (golden root) by reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography”. Chem. Pharm. Bull. 49 (4): 465–7. doi:10.1248/cpb.49.465.PMID 11310675.
  20. Jump up^ Boudet AM (2007). “Evolution and current status of research in phenolic compounds”.Phytochemistry 68 (22–24): 2722–35. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2007.06.012.PMID 17643453.
  21. Jump up^ Yousef GG, Grace MH, Cheng DM, Belolipov IV, Raskin I, Lila MA (Nov 2006). “Comparative phytochemical characterization of three Rhodiola species”. Phytochemistry67 (21): 2380–91. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2006.07.026. PMID 16956631.
  22. Jump up^ Liu Q, Liu ZL, Tian X (Feb 2008). “[Phenolic components from Rhodiola dumulosa]”.Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi (in Chinese) 33 (4): 411–3. PMID 18533499.
  23. Jump up^ Perfumi M, Mattioli L (Jan 2007). “Adaptogenic and central nervous system effects of single doses of 3% rosavin and 1% salidroside Rhodiola rosea L. extract in mice”.Phytother Res 21 (1): 37–43. doi:10.1002/ptr.2013. PMID 17072830.
  24. ^ Jump up to:a b Spasov. A.A., Mandrikov, V.B., Mitonova, I.A., 2000b. The effect of Dhodaxonon psycho-physiologic and physical adaptation of students to the academic load. Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology 63 (1), 76-78.
  25. ^ Jump up to:a b c Olsson E.M.G., von Schéele B., Panossian A.G. (2009). “A randomized double-blind placebo controlled parallel group study of an extract of Rhodiola rosea roots as treatment for patients with stress related fatigue”. Planta medica 75 (2): 105–112.doi:10.1055/s-0028-1088346. PMID 19016404.
  26. Jump up^ van Diermen, D.; Marston, A.; Bravo, J.; Reist, M.; Carrupt, PA.; Hostettmann, K. (Mar 2009). “Monoamine oxidase inhibition by Rhodiola rosea L. roots.”. J Ethnopharmacol122 (2): 397–401. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.01.007. PMID 19168123.
  27. Jump up^ De Bock K, Eijnde BO, Ramaekers M, Hespel P (Jun 2004). “Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance”. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 14(3): 298–307. PMID 15256690.
  28. Jump up^ Walker TB, Altobelli SA, Caprihan A, Robergs RA (Aug 2007). “Failure of Rhodiola rosea to alter skeletal muscle phosphate kinetics in trained men”. Metab Clin Exp. 56(8): 1111–7. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2007.04.004. PMID 17618958.
  29. Jump up^ Ishaque, Sana; Shamseer, Larrisa; Bukutu, Cecilia; Vohra, Sunita. “Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review”. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 12 (1): 70. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-70. PMID 3541197.
  30. Jump up^ Diemant et al., 2008
  31. Jump up^ Effect of Rodiola on level of NO and NOS in cultured rats penile corpus cavernosum smooth muscle cell and artery endothelium cell Kong X., Shi F., Chen Y., Lu H., Yao M., Hu M. Chinese Journal of Andrology 2007 21:10 (6-11)
  32. Jump up^ Schriner, Samuel E.; Lee, Kevin; Truong, Stephanie; Salvadora, Kathyrn T.; Maler, Steven; Nam, Alexander; Lee, Thomas; Jafari, Mahtab; Englert, Christoph (21 May 2013). “Extension of Drosophila Lifespan by Rhodiola rosea through a Mechanism Independent from Dietary Restriction”. PLoS ONE 8 (5): e63886. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063886.
  33. Jump up^ Boon-Niermeijer, E.K.; van den Berg, A.; Wikman, G.; Wiegant, F.A.C. “Phyto-adaptogens protect against environmental stress-induced death of embryos from the freshwater snail Lymnaea stagnalis”. Phytomedicine 7 (5): 389–399. doi:10.1016/S0944-7113(00)80060-4.

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DR ANTHONY MELVIN CRASTO, Born in Mumbai in 1964 and graduated from Mumbai University, Completed his Ph.D from ICT, 1991,Matunga, Mumbai, India, in Organic Chemistry, The thesis topic was Synthesis of Novel Pyrethroid Analogues, Currently he is working with GLENMARK PHARMACEUTICALS LTD, Research Centre as Principal Scientist, Process Research (bulk actives) at Mahape, Navi Mumbai, India. Total Industry exp 30 plus yrs, Prior to joining Glenmark, he has worked with major multinationals like Hoechst Marion Roussel, now Sanofi, Searle India Ltd, now RPG lifesciences, etc. He has worked with notable scientists like Dr K Nagarajan, Dr Ralph Stapel, Prof S Seshadri, Dr T.V. Radhakrishnan and Dr B. K. Kulkarni, etc, He did custom synthesis for major multinationals in his career like BASF, Novartis, Sanofi, etc., He has worked in Discovery, Natural products, Bulk drugs, Generics, Intermediates, Fine chemicals, Neutraceuticals, GMP, Scaleups, etc, he is now helping millions, has 9 million plus hits on Google on all Organic chemistry websites. His friends call him Open superstar worlddrugtracker. His New Drug Approvals, Green Chemistry International, All about drugs, Eurekamoments, Organic spectroscopy international, etc in organic chemistry are some most read blogs He has hands on experience in initiation and developing novel routes for drug molecules and implementation them on commercial scale over a 30 year tenure till date Dec 2017, Around 35 plus products in his career. He has good knowledge of IPM, GMP, Regulatory aspects, he has several International patents published worldwide . He has good proficiency in Technology transfer, Spectroscopy, Stereochemistry, Synthesis, Polymorphism etc., He suffered a paralytic stroke/ Acute Transverse mylitis in Dec 2007 and is 90 %Paralysed, He is bound to a wheelchair, this seems to have injected feul in him to help chemists all around the world, he is more active than before and is pushing boundaries, He has 9 million plus hits on Google, 2.5 lakh plus connections on all networking sites, 50 Lakh plus views on dozen plus blogs, He makes himself available to all, contact him on +91 9323115463, email, Twitter, @amcrasto , He lives and will die for his family, 90% paralysis cannot kill his soul., Notably he has 19 lakh plus views on New Drug Approvals Blog in 216 countries...... , He appreciates the help he gets from one and all, Friends, Family, Glenmark, Readers, Wellwishers, Doctors, Drug authorities, His Contacts, Physiotherapist, etc

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