Rhodiola rosea is an herb in the rhododendron family.
Rhodiola is reputed to have helped Soviet scientists prepare highly skilled athletes in their government's quest for athletic domination.
Hockey players, ice skaters, swimmers and biathlon candidates have used it. It was one of the original adaptogenic herbs studied by Dr. Lasarev. Scandinavians call it Arctic root and was reputed to have accompanied the Vikings on their long voyages across the globe.
Rhodiola rosea is purported to increase endurance and mental acuity.
Since all of the research was carried out in the Soviet Union, the research papers remain available only in its original language.
1. Rhodiola rosea enhances the transport of the precursors required in the production of brain neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine). The augmentation of neurotransmitter production may also trigger an increase in endorphin synthesis. Beta-endorphins are endogenously produced compounds that mediate pain by binding with mu opioid receptors. Rhodiola
is also believed to improve mental acuity, prolong concentration and sharpen reflexes.
2. Rhodiola rosea stimulates the synthesis of lipase and promotes the mobilization of free fatty acids. The acceleration of fatty acids metabolism spares the
mitochondria from exhausting glycogen stores muscles from depleting creatine phosphate stores.
Rhodiola reduces the need for anaerobic respiration in muscles and helps meet
the long-term energy requirements of endurance exercise. Fatigue is delayed and athletes are better able to acclimate themselves to competitive environments. Rhodiola is thus recommended for endurance type exercise.
3. Rhodiola extracts were shown to repress the formation of harmful amines by the activation of the glutamic acid-glutamine recycling system. This system is responsible for removing toxic ammonia (NH3) that accumulates from amino acid metabolism in the brain.