Siberian herb, Rhodiola rosea, being studied as treatment for fatigue and depression

Science News has an article about a "cure all" Siberian herb called Rhodiola rosea, that has long been used by Soviets, and is currently being looked at by US university medical researchers.
Picture 1-108 Zakir Ramazanov first encountered Rhodiola rosea in 1979 as a Soviet soldier in Afghanistan. A comrade often received boxes full of the yellow-flowered mountain herb from his home in Siberia and would prepare and share a sweet-smelling tea from the root. Ramazanov found that the drink seemed to quicken his hiking and speed his recovery after a taxing mission.

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Much of the old Soviet research on the herb remains locked away in Russian language journals. But over the past decade a growing body of new research published in English tentatively supports the results of early Soviet research. Laboratory and animal studies show that the herb may inhibit cancer cells, protect healthy cells from toxins, and correct enzyme imbalances associated with diabetes. In addition, four trials with human volunteers show that rhodiola extracts can boost mental performance, reduce fatigue, and ease depression.

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  1. Dr. Andrew Weil talked about this herb in his recent book Healthy Aging. It’s a very good adaptogen, and I take it every day.

  2. Rhodiola is truly amazing stuff. When I moved from Arizona to Oregon 8 years ago, the winter blues were awful. After some herbal sleuthing, I found Rhodiola and gave the tea a try, and it was like night and day for my mood, energy levels, and mental function.

    I added it to the regular line of herbal extracts I make, and many more people have been helped by it; it seems to work in a totally different way than St John’s Wort, and better, also, since it also adds tonic and adaptogenic properties. I’m really glad to see it getting some attention, since it was such a gift to my health!

    leavesofjoy
    http://www.al-qemi.com/store/

  3. Dr. Linda Page (an herbalist) talks about this herb in her book Healthy Healing, as well. I haven’t read Weil’s book yet, but one of the things Dr. Page seems to believe strongly is that the effect of this herb is multiplied by using it in combination with other herbs, for some kind of synergistic effect.

    I’m really not sure how much credence to give studies like this, but I figure it’s probably worth trying out.

  4. It is known in Norway by the name of “Rosenrot”. We take it in tablet form (you can find it in the vitamins &supplements shelf in any supermarket) to get through the winter, along with fish oil it is supposed to alleviate seasonal depression disorder, but it is also advertised as a relief for “mental exhaustion” and loss of your “sexual appetite”.

  5. Interestingly, the only Rhodiola that seems to have been tested, is the one called SHR-5 by the fellow Prof. Wikman who is interviewed in that Science News article (“Warming to a Cold War herb,” from Sept 2007 Science News). Wikman’s institute has invested a great deal in double-blind, placebo controlled studies, and this SHR-5 is the only one being tested like that. I’ve compared various extracts, and this one has a kick. Most of them just don’t have much activity. Buy a product with the SHR-5 in it — much more worth your money. There are a couple of products on the market in the USA (Google search) that have SHR-5.

  6. True Siberian Rhodiola rosea didn’t appear commercially in the US until in 1998. It was AMERIDEN® that brought it to the market place under the brand name ROSAVINâ„¢. Dr. Zakir Ramazanov (Dr. Zakir), a Sr. Russian Scientist and good friend of mine, brought his extract into the US and sold it to AMERIDEN®. We produced the product and shortly after that in 1999 I was listening to a lecture on TV about SAMe, the speaker was Dr. Richard P. Brown, a well known Psychopharmacologist-Psychiatrist from New York. I called him, told him of Dr. Zakir and ROSAVINâ„¢. Samples were sent and he began using them with his wife Dr. Patricia Gerbarg.
    Dr. Patricia Gerbarg was sick with an undiagnosed condition at the time. The doctors thought it might have been Lyme disease, but weren’t sure. However, the product was so effective for her that she regained vitality in a short time and went back to work as a practicing Psychiatrist. For the next 5 years following those events AMERIDEN® sent product to Dr. Brown & Gerbarg for Case studies. The product was so effective they wrote a 13 page article for Herbalgram magazine in 2000 and then the book titled “The Rhodiola Revolution,” To date no other product has been tested in US case studies like ROSAVINâ„¢. The product SHR-5 from Sweden, brand Arctic Root®/Rosenrot has been tested on 161 cadets. It is a Rhodiola rosea product (origin?), but it’s not Water Extracted and Freeze Dried like ROSAVINâ„¢. Further testing has proven that freeze dried material is superior to spray dried. Here’s the link http://www.remedium.ru/eng/clinical/detail.php?ID=3405
    This Blog wasn’t begun as an advertorial message, but I wanted to inform you that there are brands out there that are Knock-Off products. Many are not true Siberian Rhodiola rosea and may waste your time, money. They will not deliver the promise of the real thing. One Anonymous Blog #7 mentioned that SHR-5 had a kick to it. He may be taking too much! Rhodiola rosea is not supposed to give you a kick; it’s supposed to help your memory, focus and stamina. Correct dosage is important. Even though Rhodiola rosea is not a drug, it does contain plant chemicals. People differ in their needs, more is not necessarily better especially when it comes to drugs/pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals. Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen that should help regulate neurotransmitters in your brain such as dopamine and serotonin. Over stimulating your brain is probably the last thing you want to do. Dr. Brown’s advice when starting a new substance (such as Rhodiola rosea) is to go lightly, more is not better, balance is. Best of Health to Everyone RLH
    True Siberian Rhodiola rosea didn’t appear commercially in the US until in 1998. It was AMERIDEN® that brought it to the market place under the brand name ROSAVINâ„¢. Dr. Zakir Ramazanov (Dr. Zakir), a Sr. Russian Scientist and good friend of mine, he brought his extract into the US and sold it to AMERIDEN®. We produced the product and shortly after that in 1999 I was listening to a lecture on TV about SAMe, the speaker was Dr. Richard P. Brown, a well known Psychopharmacologist-Psychiatrist from New York. I called him, told him of Dr. Zakir and our product ROSAVINâ„¢. Samples were sent and he began using them with his wife Dr. Patricia Gerbarg.
    Dr. Patricia Gerbarg was sick with an undiagnosed condition at the time. The doctors thought it might have been Lymes disease, but weren’t sure. However, the product was so effective for her that she regained vitality in a short time and went back to work as a practicing Psychiatrist. For the next 5 years following those events AMERIDEN® sent product to Dr. Brown & Gerbarg for Case studies. The product was so effective they wrote a 13 page article for Herbalgram magazine in 2000 and then the book titled “The Rhodiola Revolution,” To date no other product has been tested in US case studies like ROSAVINâ„¢. The product SHR-5 from Sweden, brand Arctic Root®/Rosenrot has been tested on 161 cadets. It is a Rhodiola rosea product (origin?), but it’s not Water Extracted and Freeze Dried like ROSAVINâ„¢. Further testing has proven that freeze dried material is superior to spray dried. Here’s the link http://www.remedium.ru/eng/clinical/detail.php?ID=3405
    This Blog wasn’t begun as an advertorial message, but I wanted to inform you that there are brands out there that are Knock-Off products. Many are not true Siberian Rhodiola rosea and may waste your time, money. They will not deliver the promise of the real thing. One Anonymous Blog #7 mentioned that SHR-5 had a kick to it. He may be taking too much! Rhodiola rosea is not supposed to give you a kick; it’s supposed to help your memory, focus and stamina. Correct dosage is important. Even though Rhodiola rosea is not a drug, it does contain plant chemicals. People differ in their needs, more is not necessarily better especially when it comes to drugs/pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals. Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen that should help regulate neurotransmitters in your brain such as dopamine and serotonin. Over stimulating your brain is probably the last thing you want to do. Dr. Brown’s advice when starting a new substance (such as Rhodiola rosea) is to go lightly, more is not better, balance is. Best of Health to Everyone RLH

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