Despite the popularity of ginseng in both organic markets as well as mainstream markets, the adaptogenic herbal supplement with real evidence behind it is rhodiola rosea, not ginseng.
Why Rhodiola Instead of Ginseng
While rhodiola rosea may be the lesser known of the adaptogens compared to ginseng, the accumulating evidence supporting its use is helping it become more and more common on the shelves of both natural and conventional grocery stores.
Adaptogens have earned their title for a common sense reason: by assisting your body in regulating key hormones and chemicals, they are supposed to help your body adapt to mental and physical duress allowing you to better handle stress.
But where ginseng has been a topic of controversy because of its lack of supporting scientific evidence, rhodiola has accrued some specific, clinical evidence supporting its use.
The History Of This Hardy Plant
The rhodiola rosea plant, also called arctic root or golden root, is a resilient little guy that grows in rough, challenging areas with high winds and frigid air. Where you least expect to find life flourishing — among the wind swept rocks and snow of the Rockies or the Alps — you’ll find the tough rhodiola rosea plant.
Despite its evident toughness, the small rhodiola plant exhibits small brightly colored flowers. Now that you know where it comes from, you probably better understand why Siberians and Scandinavians decided to see if they could cultivate rhodiola as a supplement to better their health.
As they learned to grow it and harvest it, rhodiola became a staple of the Siberian and Scandinavian health regiment, helping them endure in the face of harsh weather in the extreme north. Rhodiola was later integrated into the Soviet Union’s KGB operation. The KGB utilized rhodiola rosea to help agents persevere stressful missions in severe weather.
When the Soviet Union disbanded and much of their research became public, we discovered the extensive studies they conducted to validate the time and money spent on cultivating rhodiola rosea. They appeared to be on to something.
How It Works To Relieve Stress
Several recent clinical trials indicate that arctic root can help the body regulate and manage cortisol. Often called the stress hormone, cortisol helps our bodies respond to stress, both physical and mental. This includes everything from how we handle ourselves when fear our lives are in danger to how our body fights off infection.
However, in the past several millenniums, we have evolved our environments in such a manner that in most circumstance people don’t require the same rush of cortisol we once required. Yet it still isn’t uncommon for people — especially people suffering from anxiety or stress — to produce and hold excessive cortisol in their systems.
And unfortunately, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. In this case, cortisol can reduce mental function, compromise the immune system and in severe cases even damage internal tissue.
When you’re focusing on your work to complete it in time for a tough deadline, your body produces healthy amounts of cortisol. This is good and healthy. However, when you feel that internal anxiety as you fume over a recent argument with a loved one, the cortisol your body produces and holds isn’t healthy.
That’s too much of a good thing. Current studies — supported by tests with mice and clinical trials with humans – indicates that rhodiola can help you manage your cortisol and keep you from producing too much when you don’t need it or keeping too much of it when it should dissipate.
Rhodiola studies also indicate that it exhibits extremely low toxicity levels. So why not try this safe and inexpensive herbal remedy and see how it affects your ability to handle stress?