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Life Extension Magazine


December 2007

Adaptogenic and central nervous system effects of single doses of 3% rosavin and 1% salidroside Rhodiola rosea L. extract in mice.

Rhodiola rosea L., or ‘golden root’, is a popular plant in traditional medicine in Eastern Europe and Asia, with a reputation for improving depression, enhancing work performance, eliminating fatigue and treating symptoms of asthenia subsequent to intense physical and psychological stress. Due to these therapeutic properties, R. rosea is considered to be one of the most active adaptogenic drugs. To confirm and extend results obtained in the few preclinical and clinical studies available in English language journals, the purpose of the present study was to re-investigate the effects produced by a single oral administration of an R. rosea hydroalcohol extract (containing 3% rosavin and 1% salidroside) on the central nervous system in mice. The extract was tested on antidepressant, adaptogenic, anxiolytic, nociceptive and locomotor activities at doses of 10, 15 and 20 mg/kg, using predictive behavioural tests and animal models. The results show that this R. rosea extract significantly, but not dose-dependently, induced antidepressant-like, adaptogenic, anxiolytic-like and stimulating effects in mice. This study thus provides evidence of the efficacy of R. rosea extracts after a single administration, and confirms many preclinical and clinical studies indicating the adaptogenic and stimulating effects of such R. rosea extracts. Moreover, antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like activities of R. rosea were shown in mice for the first time.

Phytother Res. 2007 Jan;21(1):37-43

Extract of Rhodiola rosea radix reduces the level of C-reactive protein and creatinine kinase in the blood.

The effects of extracts of Rhodiola rosea radix on blood levels of inflammatory C-reactive protein and creatinine kinase were studied in healthy untrained volunteers before and after exhausting exercise. Rhodiola rosea extract exhibited an antiinflammatory effect and protected muscle tissue during exercise.

Bull Exp Biol Med. 2004 Jul;138(1):63-4

Rhodiola rosea L. extract reduces stress- and CRF-induced anorexia in rats.

Rhodiola rosea l. is one of the most popular adaptogen and anti-stress plants in European and Asiatic traditional medicine. Its pharmacological properties appear to depend on its ability to modulate the activation of several components of the complex stress-response system. Exposure to both physical and psychological stress reduces feeding in rodents. The aim of this work was thus to determine whether in rats an hydroalcoholic R. rosea extract standardized in 3% rosavin and 1% salidroside (RHO) reverses hypophagia induced by (1) physical stress due to 60 min immobilization; (2) intracerebroventricular injection of corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF, 0.2 mug/rat), the major mediator of stress responses in mammals; (3) intraperitoneal injection of Escherichia coli Lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 100 mug/kg); (4) intraperitoneal administration of fluoxetine (FLU, 8 mg/kg). The effect of the same doses of the plant extract was also tested in freely-feeding and in 20 h food-deprived rats. RHO was administered acutely by gavage to male Wistar rats 1 h before the experiments. The results show that at 15 and 20 mg/kg, RHO reversed the anorectic effects induced both by immobilization and by intracerebroventricular CRF injection. Moreover, at the same doses, RHO failed to reduce the anorectic effect induced both by LPS and FLU, and did not modify food intake in both freely-feeding and food-deprived rats. These findings strongly demonstrated that RHO is able selectively to attenuate stress-induced anorexia, providing functional evidence of claimed adaptogen and anti-stress properties of Rhodiola rosea L.

J Psychopharmacol. 2007 Sep;21(7):742-50

Antioxidative effects of Cinnamomi cassiae and Rhodiola rosea extracts in liver of diabetic mice.

Both Cinnamomi cassiae and Rhodiola rosea extracts are used as anti-diabetic folk medicines. Recently, increased oxidative stress was shown to play an important role in the etiology and pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus and its complications. This study was designed to examine the effects of Cinnamomi cassiae and Rhodiola rosea extracts on blood glucose, lipid peroxidation, the level of reduced glutathione and its related enzymes (glutathione reductase, glutathione S-transferase), and the activity of the antioxidant enzymes (catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase) in the liver of db/db mice. Diabetic C57BL/Ks db/db mice were used as experimental models. Mice were divided into control (n=10), Cinnamomi cassiae (200 mg/kg/day, n=10), and Rhodiola rosea (200 mg/kg/day, n=10) treated groups for 12 weeks of treatment. These type II diabetic mice were used to investigate the effects of Cinnamomi cassiae and Rhodiola rosea on blood glucose, reduced glutathione, glutathione reductase, glutathione S-transferase, glutathione peroxidase, lipid peroxidation, catalase and superoxide dismutase. Cinnamomi cassiae and Rhodiola rosea extracts significantly decreased on blood glucose, increased levels of reduced glutathione and the activities of glutathione reductase, glutathione S-transferase, glutathione peroxidase, catalase and superoxide dismutase in the liver. Extract treatment also significantly decreased lipid peroxidation. Cinnamomi cassiae and Rhodiola rosea extracts may be effective for correcting hyperglycemia and preventing diabetic complications.

Biofactors. 2006;26(3):209-19

Rhodiola rosea: a possible plant adaptogen.

Rhodiola rosea is a popular plant in traditional medical systems in Eastern Europe and Asian with a reputation for stimulating the nervous system, decreasing depression, enhancing work performance, eliminating fatigue, and preventing high altitude sickness. Rhodiola rosea has been categorized as an adaptogen by Russian researchers due to its observed ability to increase resistance to a variety of chemical, biological, and physical stressors. Its claimed benefits include antidepressant, anticancer, cardioprotective, and central nervous system enhancement. Research also indicates great utility in asthenic conditions (decline in work performance, sleep difficulties, poor appetite, irritability, hypertension, headaches, and fatigue) developing subsequent to intense physical or intellectual strain. The adaptogenic, cardiopulmonary protective, and central nervous system activities of Rhodiola rosea have been attributed primarily to its ability to influence levels and activity of monoamines and opioid peptides such as beta-endorphins.

Altern Med Rev. 2001 Jun;6(3):293-302

Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue—a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty.

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of repeated low-dose treatment with a standardized extract SHR/5 of rhizome Rhodiola rosea L, (RRE) on fatigue during night duty among a group of 56 young, healthy physicians. The effect was measured as total mental performance calculated as Fatigue Index. The tests chosen reflect an overall level of mental fatigue, involving complex perceptive and cognitive cerebral functions, such as associative thinking, short-term memory, calculation and ability of concentration, and speed of audio-visual perception. These parameters were tested before and after night duty during three periods of two weeks each: a) a test period of one RRE/placebo tablet daily, b) a washout period and c) a third period of one placebo/RRE tablet daily, in a double-blind cross-over trial. The perceptive and cognitive cerebral functions mentioned above were investigated using 5 different tests. A statistically significant improvement in these tests was observed in the treatment group (RRE) during the first two weeks period. No side-effects were reported for either treatment noted. These results suggest that RRE can reduce general fatigue under certain stressful conditions.

Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct;7(5):365-71

Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of acute and 4-week Rhodiola rosea intake on physical capacity, muscle strength, speed of limb movement, reaction time, and attention. METHODS: PHASE I: A double blind placebo-controlled randomized study (n= 24) was performed, consisting of 2 sessions (2 days per session). Day 1: One hour after acute Rhodiola rosea intake (R, 200-mg Rhodiola rosea extract containing 3% rosavin + 1% salidroside plus 500 mg starch) or placebo (P, 700 mg starch) speed of limb movement (plate tapping test), aural and visual reaction time, and the ability to sustain attention (Fepsy Vigilance test) were assessed. Day 2: Following the same intake procedure as on day 1, maximal isometric knee-extension torque and endurance exercise capacity were tested. Following a 5-day washout period, the experimental procedure was repeated, with the treatment regimens being switched between groups (session 2). PHASE II: A double blind placebo-controlled study (n = 12) was performed. Subjects underwent sessions 3 and 4, identical to Phase I, separated by a 4-week R/P intake, during which subjects ingested 200 mg R/P per day. RESULTS: PHASE I: Compared with P, acute R intake in Phase I increased (p <.05) time to exhaustion from 16.8 +/- 0.7 min to 17.2+/- 0.8 min. Accordingly, VO2peak (p <.05) and VCO2peak (p<.05) increased during R compared to P from 50.9 +/- 1.8 ml x min(-1) x kg(- )1 to 52.9 +/- 2.7 ml x min(-10) x kg(-1) (VO2peak) and from 60.0 +/- 2.3 ml x min(-1) x kg(-1) to 63.5+/- 2.7 ml x min(-1) x kg(-1) (VCO2peak). Pulmonary ventilation (p =.07) tended to increase more during R than during P (P: 115.9+/- 7.7 L/min; R: 124.8 +/- 7.7 L/min). All other parameters remained unchanged. PHASE II: Four-week R intake did not alter any of the variables measured. CONCLUSION: Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise capacity in young healthy volunteers. This response was not altered by prior daily 4-week Rhodiola intake.

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004 Jun;14(3):298-307