Roseroot

Roseroot

Roseroot, Rhodiola rosea, is a powerful adaptogen with a long history of use in Scandinavia, Tibet and Siberia.
I have had a lot of success with Rhodiola rosea. I no longer need thyroid medication and now I feel better than before. It has also made it possible for me to quiet my mind. Ever since I’ve started taking it, I can stop the chatter in my mind at will.

FAMILY

Crassulaceae (Stonecrop family)

OTHER NAMES

Golden root, Arctic root, rosewort, rose root, hong jiin tian (Chinese – 红景天)

PARTS USED

Roots are used medicinally. However, the leaves are edible and can be added to salads and stir-fries.

HABITAT

Roseroot grows in cold regions such as the circumpolar and subarctic regions of Siberia, Scandinavia, Iceland, Great Britain and Ireland as well as mountainous parts of Europe such as the Alps, Pyrenees and Carpathian Mountains. It is also found in the Mountains of Central Asia and parts of North America.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION

Roseroot is an herbacious, succulent and dioecious perennial. Dioecious means that plants develop either male or female flowers.

Height: Up to 40 cm (15 in)
Width: 40 cm (15 in)
Roots: Thick or slender, erect and robust rhizome that exude a rose-like fragrance when cut.
Flowers: Unisexual, 4 yellow to greenish yellow petals and 4 lanceolate-linear sepals. Some have red tips. Male flowers unequally 4-merous. Flowering stems 10–30 cm. April to August.
Leaves: Fleshy, pale green, ovate to oblong and usually glaucous.

CULTIVATION

Roseroot thrives in deep, moderately rich and well-drained sandy or sandy-loam soils. Peat soil makes it difficult to clean the rhizomes and stony soil makes harvesting difficult. Since roseroot is a high altitude plant, it needs special care and attention when cultivated in low altitude. High humidity is important for its growth. It needs 500-600 mm precipitation when grown commercially. It will not tolerate high summer temperatures. However, it can tolerate maritime exposure. It can be grown as a ground cover when planted 30 cm (12 in) apart.

Soil: Well-drained, moderately moist. Established plants can tolerate drought.
Exposure: Sunny.
pH: 5-7

PROPAGATION

Roseroot can be propagated by root division, cuttings and seeds. Since it is a dioecious plant, you’ll need a female and a male plant if seeds are desired.

Division: Divide plants from August to October. The Cornwall based ‘Plants for a Future’ (PFAF) recommend to plant the larger divisions in their permanent positions and to pot up smaller divisions and grow them in a cold frame in light shade until they are well established. Plant them out in late spring or early summer.
Seeds: For best results, start in the spring by surface sowing it in a sunny position in a greenhouse or cold frame. Keep the soil moist. At 10 Celsius (50 F), it should take 2-4 weeks for germination. Continue to grow it in a greenhouse until they are large enough to transplant out in the garden. Some people advise to keep growing it in a greenhouse until early summer of the following year.
Cuttings: Harvest the basal shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8-10 cm (3-4 in) above ground. Plant them in individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are well rooted. Plant them out in the summer.

CONSTITUENTS
  • phenylpropanoids (rosavins is the general term for rosavin, rosin, rosarin)
  • phenylethanol derivatives (salidroside (rhodioloside), tyrosol)
  • flavanoids (rodiolin, rodionin, rodiosin, acetylrodalgin, tricin)
  • monoterpenes (rosiridol, rosaridin)
  • triterpenes (daucosterol, beta-sitosterol)
  • phenolic acids (chlorogenic and hydroxycinnamic, gallic acids).
  • vitamin C (the leaves contain 33 mg per gram and the rhizomes, 12 mg per gram).
PROPERTIES
  • adaptogen
  • antidepressant
  • antioxidant
  • anti-fatigue
  • anti-stress
  • anti-hypoxic (protection against damaging effects of oxygen deprivation)
  • anticancer
  • immune system stimulant
  • central nervous system stimulant
  • nervine
  • neuroprotective
  • nervous system tonic
  • cardioprotective
  • antiarrythmic
ENERGETICS

Cool, dry

TASTE

Sweet, slightly bitter

ODOR

The roots smell like roses.

MEDICINAL USE OF ROSEROOT

A powerful adaptogen, roseroot enhances the cognitive (thinking, evaluating, analyzing, planning and calculating) functions of the cerebral cortex and the attention, memory and learning functions of the prefrontal and frontal cortex of the brain.

Take internally:

  • to enhance alertness
  • to alleviate mental fatigue
  • to reduce deficient depression
  • to diminish distractibility and irritability
  • for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • to improve resistance to physical and emotional stress
  • to improve physical performance
  • to prevent altitude sickness (with cordyceps, reishi and holy basil)
  • for immune depletion caused by overwork, excessive physical activity and training, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
  • for vaginal discharges (amenorrhea) caused by stress or minor hormonal imbalances
  • to improve the strength of the heart muscle
  • to prevent stress-induced heart damage and arrhythmia

Recommended daily dosage:

Tincture: 1o ml (1 tablespoon) per day

Tea: 200 to 600 mg per day.

HOMEMADE PREPARATIONS
  • tinctures (1:5)
  • powder
  • infusion (simmer in hot water for about 30 minutes)
  • decoction
SIDE EFFECTS

Sensitive people might experience insomnia. In this case, roseroot should be taken only in the morning.
Some people experience contact dermatitis after handling the roots. To be on the safe side, use gloves when harvesting and preparing the roots.

CONTRA-INDICATIONS

None

CULINARY USE

Roseroot leaves are edible. Icelandic herbalist Anna Rósa Róbertsdóttir recommends to use the leaves chopped up in omelets and stir fries. Just not too much since the leaves taste slightly bitter.

References
Comprehensive Reviews in Food Scienceand Food Safety – Vol. 4, 2005
Bühring, U. Girsch, M. 2016. Praxis Heilpflanzenkunde. Stuttgart: Haug.
Winston, D. Maimes, S. 2007. Adaptogens: Herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief. Rochester: Healing Arts Press
‘eFloras’ (2008). Published on the Internet http://www.efloras.org [accessed 04 January 2017]’ Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Moran, Reid V, in Flora of North America. volume 8. pages 164-167
‘Plants for a Future’ http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhodiola+rosea [accessed 06 January 2017]’

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