Rhodiola rosea, also commonly known as Arctic root or rose root, is a powerful adaptogenic remedy with a long history of use in the freezing climates of the Siberian tundra. Other cultures throughout history that valued it for its stress busting ability were those in Greece, France, Iceland and Sweden. While its traditional use was to help people function optimally under harsh physical conditions, its current rise in popularity shows promise for helping us adapt to the many sources of stress we see in our lives today.
Rhodiola has great potential as an adrenal tonic for anyone experiencing hormonal imbalance or menopausal changes. Unlike ginseng and maca, it has a cooling effect rather than a heating one, making it a great option for women suffering from hot flashes.
It also helps the body to regulate excess levels of many stress hormones, including cortisol. While we need some of this hormone for survival, many of us live in a constant state of elevated cortisol. This can have a cascading effect on your body including lowered immune system function, poor blood sugar control and weight gain.
Because rhodiola is such a powerful adaptogen, try to start with pulse dosing while taking note of how it effects you. All this means is that you take it consistently for several weeks, followed by one or two weeks off.
Another amazing effect of rhodiola root is its ability to boost endurance during your workout and to promote recovery. It can actually act as a buffer against lactic acid build up, as well as increase our ability to utilize oxygen efficiently while training.
Try taking it with your morning smoothie or several hours before hitting the gym for an extra boost of energy and stamina. Keep in mind that because we’re all different, not everyone notices this particular effect. A great alternative in that case would be taking either yerba mate or guayasa tea for an alkalizing pre-workout option!
Rhodiola also shows excellent promise as an adaptive brain tonic, which make it an appealing option for students and those who need to perform well under stress for work. A great way to prepare it is by brewing a strong tea base which you can store and dilute with either hot or cold water before serving.
In traditional Chinese medicine, arctic root has long been used to help boost mental and immune function during the winter months. It’s interesting that a plant that can weather such cold and barren conditions can potentially transfer its incredible resilience onto us.