Rhodiola Rosea, also called Arctic or Golden Root, is generally placed in a class of plants and fungi affectionately named 'adaptogens'. These are the great healers; the gifts to mankind that the plant community and earth have provided which are incredibly essential to surviving well during times of stress and pressure.
These plants tend to grow in the most inhospitable areas of the earth: high deserts, cold mountains, dry and barren land. And in order to survive there, they develop particular compounds in their physical form which convey a resistance to the environmental stressors. And it just so happens that, lucky for us, when we consume these compounds, we are also gifted with the same experience.
Here are four reasons why we think you would benefit from taking Rhodiola; just a brief sampling of the many wonderful effects it can have in your body:
1. Amps Up Your Energy
Rhodiola increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of our red blood cells, making it particularly effective at increasing energy, vitality and stamina during times of stress. As most of us don't breathe fully when we're in a panicked state or exercising hard, Rhodiola can offset this inevitable increase in carbon dioxide and lactic acid/decrease in oxygen, to make us feel stronger and calmer even when life is crazy. We’ve found this to be particularly good in women who are consistently battling low-grade anemia, as well as for older people who are lagging in energy.
2. Reduces the Amount of Stress
Rhodiola Rosea has a calming effect on our body and mental state because of an ability to reduce cortisol, one of our major stress hormones. While some cortisol is absolutely necessary to live -- this is the hormone that is released from your adrenal glands in a cyclic manner during the day or during times of stress -- most of us exist in a state of nearly constant exposure to this compound, resulting in lowered blood sugar response, abdominal weight gain, decreased memory, reduced cellular energy production, and diminished immunity. Through reducing cortisol and balancing the endocrine system, Rhodiola helps to not only reduce this constant release of cortisol, but also to balance and heal the whole communication network more long term. This results in, predictably, improved memory and focus, better energy levels, increased resistance to sickness, and significantly better insulin response.
3. Helps You Burn Belly Fat
So, not only does Rhodiola reduce the cortisol and blood sugar aspect of the belly fat equation, but it also turns on an enzyme called 'hormone-sensitive lipase', a substance which allows your body to access and utilize the fat stored in abdominal cells. This aids your body in losing weight, not because it's deprived or over-exercising, but because it is balanced and feels loved.
4. Makes You Smart
From the mental side of things, Rhodiola also increases the sensitivity of your neurons to the presence of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters involved in focus, memory, pleasure, mood, and a whole bunch of other nice feelings. This plant has been used as an extremely effective alternative to antidepressants, and can be a welcome mental boost for just about anyone (unless you're experiencing symptoms of bipolar mania. Not a good idea). As an added bonus, the increase in dopamine sensitivity increases your enjoyment of food, sex, and other good things, as well as reducing carbohydrate cravings and addictions. Rhodiola as an alternative to ADHD pharmaceutical drugs makes complete sense, as they're both working on the same neurological pathways. And thankfully, unlike prescription medication, Rhodiola won't blow out your kidneys and liver, stagnate your growth, or give your heart palpitations.
References: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/ by Ciel Grove