Rhodiola is a perennial plant in a family with as many as 200 different species. This dioecious plant is grown throughout the world primarily in mountainous regions with high elevations on the Northern hemisphere. The Rhodiola rosea species has adapted many medicinal properties due to active components located within its root. Some refer to this particular species as the Golden Root, Siberian Root or Rose Root. The active compound, rosavin, found only in this species, offers athletic and mental enhancement and alleviates fatigue and stress. Vikings from Russia and Scandinavia were the first to implement this herb in dietary aspects to boost physical strength and endurance. Historically, many Northern people and middle Asian cultures offered this plant in pharmaceutical pursuits to treat fatigue, nervous system disorders, infections, and even the common cold and flu.
There are a number of active compounds extorted from the root of the Rhodiola plant. At this time, six compounds have been isolated. The Rhodiola rosea species has a specific component called rosavin, which is standardized in many products to ensure the correct species is in use. Several studies suggest these active intermediates offers both stimulating and sedating affects on the central nervous system. Low dosages produce stimulation while increased amounts will create a sedating effect. The exact mechanism of action has not yet been determined but continuous research indicates positive activity between neurotransmitters in the brain. A variety of mental functions, such as relief for depression, mood changes, fatigue, and anxiety are exhibited from the neurotransmitter balance that this supplement promotes.
The common usage suggests amounts of 200 to 600 mg per day with a standardized extract of at least 3% rosavins and 0.8 to 1% salidrosides. A mild dose is about 200 mg and will sometimes be taken three times a day while a high dose ranges from 1,000 mg and up. No side affects have been reported and the toxicity levels are low, showing a wide margin of safety.