Golden Root or Rhodiola Rosea is a plant native to mountainous regions of Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Arctic. It has been used throughout history in those areas to combat fatigue and restore energy.
Recently it has been getting worldwide attention due to its effectiveness as a “adaptogen”. Explaining the effects of the adaptogens is difficult, since each one affects an individual differently. If you are mentally exhausted or physically fatigued the adaptogens will help you feel more energetic and vitalized — but they are not normal stimulants.
One particularly interesting aspect of Rhodiola is that it appears to work differently within the body than other adaptogens — the best known of which is the very popular herb Siberian ginseng.
Some of the current findings on rhodiola are still preliminary and relate to complex physiological interactions in the body’s chemistry. But put simply, rhodiola appears to work by influencing key central nervous system chemicals — neurotransmitters called monoamines (dopamine and serotonin are examples). An imbalance of monoamines is believed to be involved in several hard-to-treat illnesses, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
In contrast, most other adaptogens, such as Siberian ginseng, seem to boost the body’s reserves by enhancing the output of stress-fighting hormones from the adrenal glands.
“When you see how it works, the effects make sense,” says Dr.
Richard Brown of Columbia University, who has given rhodiola to 300 patients for depression and other disorders. “It has no side effects that we’ve noticed — only side benefits.”
Look for Rhodiola rosea — not Rhodiola sacra or any other rhodiola species, as these lack the active rosavin compounds.
Reliable brands at present include Starwest, Arctic Root, Rosavin, Rhodax, Clear Energy and Longevia.
A very detailed examination of Rhodiola can be found here.
Available from: Amazon.