Rhodiola: medicinal properties, method of use and benefits

Rhodiola: medicinal properties, method of use and benefits


Rhodiola rosea





The Rodiola Rosea (Rhodiola rosea, Crassulaceae family) herbaceous plant known by the popular name of "golden roots", already known for centuries and used in northern European countries, has seen its popularity grow even in Western countries thanks to its "adaptogen" characteristics.

L'popular use of these roots dates back to thousands of years ago and then passed down from generation to generation in the Siberian culture which attributed great importance to this plant in maintaining the health, vitality, longevity and vigor of the human body. It has been present in the Swedish pharmacopoeia since 1700 and in 1985 it was recognized as an anti-fatigue plant.


Rhodiola rosea is first and foremost a powerful adaptogen, therefore useful for increasing resistance to stress daily. A normal response to stress allows us to overcome adversity and allows us to adapt by helping us to overcome them, but when the response becomes abnormal all around it becomes problematic and even the normal daily problems seem insurmountable. Chronic stress can generate hormonal imbalances, decrease physical stamina and intellectual abilities, can cause mood swings, lower immune defenses and accelerate aging. To react to stress we must try to eliminate the triggering causes and try to increase the individual reactive capacity; in this, Rhodiola rosea can be useful because its action causes a gradual response to stress.

The positive effects of Rhodiola are manifested both in terms of physical and mental performance.

Promotes memory and learning skills increasing attention and concentration, therefore useful in this period of exams. It is also suitable for sportsmen because the Rodiola increases physical endurance without any negative or permitted action (doping effect), increasing muscle endurance and reducing recovery times.

As for theslimming action of Rodiola is mainly linked to an indirect action given by the stress associated with obesity; in fact, when you are stressed you go to look for a gratifying and consoling action in food, triggering a fattening process! Therefore, the anti-hunger effect of Rhodiola is linked to its anti-anxiety and adaptogenic action to emotional and stressful situations, especially reducing the so-called "desire for sweet".

To summarize the final effect of the Rodiola can be compared to the effect that occurs when you drive a car and the glass is dirty, you send a splash of water and the windshield wiper cleans everything, consequently we are safer in driving and in choice of the way to go.


Unlike other adaptogens (ginseng, guarana), Rhodiola does not give agitation or exciting effects, however it should not be taken, either during pregnancy or breastfeeding or if you are on drug therapy for various pathologies.

Dr.Giovanna Esposito, Herbalist "HIERBAS"
Via Duca D’Aosta n. 3, 64100 Teramo
Tel and fax 0861/250969

Ribes nigrum: properties and contraindications

According to some, the word currant has Arabic origin, deriving from the word Ribas da Rhubarb, associated with the acidulous and pleasant taste of its fruit juice. More probable, however, seems to be the hypothesis that assigns to the word much more remote origins dating back to ancient Greece where it was used to identify the dried grapes characteristic of the city of Corinth (a fact that still reports traces of it in the corresponding English word currant which identify currant). What is indisputable today, however, is the growing affirmation of this plant, also as a valid natural therapeutic opportunity for the resolution of numerous diseases.

Properties and contraindications

Black currant is a plant that grows spontaneously, in central and northern Europe as well as in northern Asia, in mid-mountain areas with a predominantly humid climate. More recently its cultivation has also extended to New Zealand and North America. Due to its fruits similar to berries of dark purple color and as mentioned by the aromatic and sweetish taste it is also known as black gooseberry, ramа grape or even cassis, name derived from Creme de Cassis, the famous Burgundy liqueur with which kir is prepared .

Due to its therapeutic properties already known to the herbalists of the time, this plant has been cultivated in a specific way for more than 400 years, so much so that John Gerarde describes its medicinal properties in 1597 in his Generall Histoire of Plantes, and later above all thanks to a treatise of 1712 by P. Bailly da Montaran assumes fame as a "universal panacea" against various evils. Having experienced a period of momentary oblivion in the following century, we find it protagonist in the last century for its diuretic and antirheumatic properties (1).

We could then ask ourselves: "Why so much" scientific clamor "more than three centuries ago for this plant that has always been widespread, apparently only for the particular taste of its fruits?"

It might be enough to know that currant fruits are rich in sugars, organic acids (citric and malic), proanthocyanidins (2) among which are very important (we will see later why) are the prodelfinidins, anthocyanins, flavonoids (keampferol and quercetin [3]) , phenolic antioxidants, potassium, iron, vitamin A and very rich in vitamin C (they contain a quantity three times higher than the well-known citrus fruits) (4,5).

Or that these also have discrete contents of calcium and Vitamins B1 and B3, while the seeds stand out for the high content of fatty acids of the omega-6 series (6), so much so that together with Enothera and Borage oil the currant is one of the rare natural sources of gamma-linolenic acid.

It could be noted that in the buds the presence of flavonoids (similar to those of the leaves and fruits) is relevant and the properties of the essential oil are much studied, which although differing greatly in its composition from variety to variety, seems to have a specific antibacterial and antipathogenic activity (7).

And that the high contents of tannins, flavonoids and vitamins C and P, which can be found in the leaves, must be taken into due consideration from the point of view of therapeutic application.

The logical answer to our question is therefore inherent in the enormous wealth of medicinal substances contained in the various parts of the whole plant, which has always been cultivated mainly for purely food purposes and has acquired more and more curative value over time. Folk medicine therefore over the centuries has increasingly and successfully used the leaves of Ribes nigrum mainly for diuretic and / or purifying purposes and in particular in cases of uremic subjects and suffering from gout, as well as as an antirheumatic and as a curative remedy in allergic syndromes. The infusion of its leaves is also traditionally used for internal use as an intestinal anti-inflammatory, and for external use due to its marked astringent properties on skin and mucous membranes.

Guided by what tradition has been suggesting for some time, we are now going to discover the possible "therapeutic fields of use" of this plant with multiple resources.

Anti-inflammatory - pain relieving - anti-allergic action
Ribes nigrum is considered by many to be a “cortison-like” plant, that is, a plant with cortisone-like properties and activities. This property is linked to the ability of some substances contained in it to stimulate the adrenal cortex to produce steroids, with the obvious advantage of having all the effects that a cortisone surplus can give, while avoiding the side effects (potential ulcerogenicity) that a Synthetic cortisone, on the other hand, can cause (2) everything confirmed even in experiments during which the administration of the hydroalcoholic extract of currant leaves was carried out in high doses in chronic treatments (2,8). Thus, first of all, a marked anti-inflammatory capacity is obtained, also confirmed several times experimentally, and mainly due to the aforementioned prodelphinidins (proanthocyanidins) (9,10) which are endowed with capillar-protective and anti-edema action. To the latter must be added flavonoids (and in particular rutin, quercetin, myricetin [11,12,13]), other fundamental substances with strong anti-inflammatory properties possessed by black currant, which in the case of the flavonoids in question go hand in hand with the analgesic ones also experimentally demonstrated by the latter (13,14,15). Regarding this latter property, it is probably due to the inhibition of the biosynthesis of prostaglandins (15).

In light of the well-known ability to exclusively reduce the biosynthesis of Ig E (immunoglobulins that increase in cases of allergy) (16), and of its use for decades in the resolution of various allergic syndromes (17), for what has been said so far also with regard to the cortisone-similar properties, it is easy to understand why black currant has always been among the phytotherapeutic remedies of choice against allergies ……. and because the use of Ribes nigrum is often recommended as a support and for the resolution of joint pains in their less severe and disabling manifestations.

Anti-radical action ("anti-aging")
For many it will not be a novelty, but it is good to remember that currant both as a fruit (18) and in particular in the form of extract of the leaves (19) and in the buds (20), hides important antiradical properties (conferred by flavonoids, anthocyanidins and antioxidant vitamins), which help prevent the attack of these harmful molecules on our cell membranes, preserving them "from premature aging". These act as real "scavengers" of the free radicals circulating in our body, lowering their concentration in our body, with understandable benefits for our general well-being. With regard to anthocyanidins, those specifically contained in currants, from a research that tested the anti-radical activity of nine different extracts from "fruit to berries", the latter proved to be the most effective (21) confirming once again the aptitude "Antiscoria" of this fruit. Another clinical study has also shown that by decreasing the secretion of inflammatory cytokines derived from prolonged physical exercise, ribes nigrum is capable of reducing oxidative stress due to prolonged motor activity (22). Finally, the contribution given by the very high content of Vitamin C (1), considered by many to be the natural antioxidant par excellence, is not negligible.

Neuro protective and vasoprotective action
Directly connected to the previous action is the "antisenescent" one, mainly from a neurological point of view, which has been revealed in recent years thanks to specific experiments in which the action of this plant has been tested. It has thus been shown that phenolic extracts of black currant allow an effective neuro protective effect from induced oxidative stress in human cell cultures (23,24). Other studies suggest that isoramnetin has neuro-protective effects (25), and myricetin appears to inhibit the formation and growth of beta-amyloid protein fibrils. Preliminary studies conducted by the Horticulture and Food Research Institute in New Zealand a few years ago (and now undergoing further study), have shown that the polyphenols and anthocyanins contained in this "multi-therapeutic fruit" influence gene expression linked to memory and learning in old age, thus carrying out a protective action against Alzheimer's.
Furthermore, both quercetin and isorhamnetin, by reducing blood pressure, improve circulatory activity, triggering a potential protective function against the development of vascular dementia phenomena (23). In this protective activity, however, it must be said that the entire phytocomplex that characterizes black currant is certainly involved, as this has also been shown to be capable of inhibiting low-density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol) [26], as well as reduce cardiovascular disease (27).

Hypotensive and diuretic action
As already mentioned, dried blackcurrant leaves prepared as a decoction have always been used as a diuretic with good results. These results are now also supported by certain experimental data that place the fluid extract of the leaves of this plant (whether they are in an alcoholic, hydroalcoholic or macerate solution) as comparable in diuretic efficacy to one of the drugs of choice such as furosemide (molecule active of Lasix) [28]. The high sodium / potassium ratio found experimentally both in the simple leaves and in the decoctions of the latter also seems to contribute to this (29). If we add the previously mentioned joint effect of quercetin and isoramnetin to this reduction in circulating liquids, this is also the reason for the hypotensive action (23), also experimentally confirmed (30). A study conducted albeit on a small sample of patients has it has also been shown that by raising the pH of the urine, the use of currants increases the elimination of oxalic and citric acid with evident beneficial effects on urolithiasis (urinary stones [31]).

Antibiotic and antiviral action
Also in this area of ​​properties the anthocyanins are the masters for effectiveness, which in addition to the aforementioned properties have also proved effective as substances with antimicrobial action (32) with a discrete spectrum of action (active against Acinetobacter, Escherichia, Pseudomonas , Staphylococcus [7]), as well as antiviral (33), in particular as regards the influenza virus (34,35) and herpes virus (36). Also to prevent and / or slow down the progression of infections affecting the urinary tract anthocyanins have still proved very useful, and even if the most studied in this regard are blueberries, currant, given the high content of these substances, has also proved to be very effective for this purpose (37,38).

The antifungal action conferred by the flavonoid sacuranetine present in particular in the leaves is also important (39).

Antitumor action
We take the indication without easy enthusiasm or excessive clamor, but entrusting it with the right weight that an established experimental support can guarantee. Well, bearing in mind that in this plant the resveratrol content is high, it is not difficult to understand why the antineoplastic properties are also assigned to Ribes nigrum (40), mainly related to the ability of this substance to inhibit the onset, promotion and progression of some cancers (41,42) In particular, a proven efficacy of the natural antioxidants contained in currant has been experimentally verified for some cell lines of colon cancer (43,44), for melanoma (45), and for breast cancer cells (44) with findings directly proportional to the concentrations of the substance present. The currant extract compared in the laboratory with other thirteen different juices, extracted from other berry fruits with similar characteristics, demonstrated the second best inhibitory effect on the cell growth of different tumor cell lines (46).

Finally, excellent results have also been obtained following very recent experiments on the efficacy of anthocyanins against liver tumors (47). Results that given the high content of the latter generally in all berries, but even more so in black currant where on average it reaches 250 mg in 100gr. of fresh fruit (48), place this fruit among our best natural allies for the prevention and therapeutic support towards cancer manifestations. And in this regard, in recent years, the entire international scientific world (not only exclusively that relating to "natural medicine"), is becoming increasingly interested in this therapeutic aspect not yet fully explored in its most surprising aspects, in order to obtain uses increasingly targeted and effective in resolving and preventing the onset of tumor manifestations.

A large amount of scientific work in this regard confirms us once again that a great help in the prevention of diseases comes first of all from what we take every day with our diet.

Finally, a final note should be made of the "precautions for use", the contraindications and the recommended effective therapeutic quantities.

The vast scientific literature existing to date (which it is good to remember does not include data on pregnant and lactating women), for administrations at the therapeutic doses usually recommended, does not indicate side effects or particular toxicity. However, it should be borne in mind that this plant must be used with great caution by patients with severe arterial hypertension (30,49) and by those suffering from renal or cardiac pathologies and in treatment with anticoagulants (due to the potential anticoagulant effect due to the content in gamma-linolenic acid [50,51] It is not recommended for patients under the age of 18 and for those with ascertained hypersensitivity to the active ingredients it contains (52).

With regard to the formulation to be used, the galenic form of "Glycerine Macerate" due to the ease of intake as well as the dilution of the active ingredients (which reduce the already minimal side effects), is the preferred one for therapeutic use. For administration aimed at resolving allergic diseases and / or as an anti-inflammatory, usually one operates either in a single intake of 50/100 drops of 1 DH glycerine macerate in the morning upon awakening, or alternatively with daily intakes of 30/50 drops twice a day at 8 and 15.

For the resolution of joint pain and for a good diuretic effect, we also recommend the use of titrated dry extract (minimum 0.54% of total flavonoids) in capsules or other formulation, equal to 169 mg. 1 to 3 times a day, or a cup of tea or tea to be taken 3 times a day (52).

To conclude, an important suggestion for everyone ……. but above all to you who are reading us right now. To have the opportunity to continue to follow us "closely" in our travels on the web without excessive problems, a trusted support can be precisely the use of black currant. In fact, some research has shown that currant relieves eye tension and visual stress resulting from intense ocular activity due to the prolonged engagement of the eyes with close-up vision (53.54). A good supply of currants at hand then, and the reading commitments, whether they are a good book ... .. or simply our updates on the net on how to get help from nature to solve small or large daily annoyances, will become less burdensome. And our eyes will surely thank us.


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21. Amakura Y, Umino Y, Tsuji S, Tonogai Y. Influence of jam processing on the radical scavenging activity and phenolic content in berries. J Agric Food Chem 200048: 6292–7.

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23. Karjalainen, R., Anttonen, M., Saviranta, N., Stewart, D. and McDougall, G. (2009). A review on bioactive compounds in black currants (Ribes nigrum L.) and their potential health-promoting properties. Acta Hort., 839: 301-307.

24. McGhie, T., Walton, M., Barnett, L., Vather, R., Martin, H., AU, J., Aslpach, P., Booth, C., and Kruger, M. (2007) . Boysenberry and blackcurrant drinks increased the plasma antioxidant capacity in an elderly population but had little effect on other markers of oxidative stress. J. Sci. Food Agric., 87: 2519-2527.

25. Anttonen, M. J. and Karjalainen, R. O. (2006). High-Performance liquid chromatography analysis of black currant (Ribes nigrum L.) fruit phenolics grown either conventionally or organically. J. Agric. Food Chem., 54: 7530-7538.

26. Heinonen IM, Meyer AS, Frankel EN. Antioxidant activity of berry phenolics on human low-density lipoprotein and liposome oxidation. J Agric Food Chem 199846: 4107–12.

27. Hertog MGL, Feskens EJM, Hollman PCH, Katan MB, Kromhout D. Dietary antioxidant flavonoids and risk of coronary heart disease: the Zutphen elderly study. Lancet 1993342: 1007-11

28. Rбcz-Kotilla E, Rбcz G. Salidiuretische und hypotensive Wirkung der Auszьge von Ribes Blдttern. Planta Med 197732: 110-4.

29. Szentmihбlyi K, Kйry A, Then M, Lakatos B, Sбndor Z, Vinkler P. Potassium-sodium ratio for the character-ization of medicinal plant extracts with diuretic activity. Phytother Res 199812: 163-6.

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31. Kessler T, Jansen B, Hesse A. Effect of blackcurrant-, cranberry- and plum juice consumption on risk factors associated with kidney stone formation. Eur J Clin Nutr. 200256: 1020-1023.

32. Han, X., Shen, T. and Lou, H. (2007). Dietary polyphenols and their biological significance. Int. J. Mol. Sci., 8: 950-988.

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The active ingredients of Rhodiola rosea

Among the active ingredients of the Rhodiola rosea there are glycosides (including rosavin and salidroside), organic acids (such as caffeic, gallic and chlorogenic), tannins (catechins and proanthocyanidins), flavonoids, polyphenols etc. Salidrosalide is the most pharmacologically active compound. This glycoside is present in the root of Rhodiola rosea, also called rodioloside and is known by the name of rhodosine. Taking it stimulates the production of serotonin, adrenaline and dopamine, improving the mood with a antidepressant effect, also enhancing the intellectual abilities by acting positively on metabolic functions (heart, liver and muscles) without side effects. The organic acids and flavonoids contained in the Rhodiola roseainstead, they determine its antioxidant properties.

  • Essential oil
  • Organic acids
  • Tannins
  • Beta sitosterol
  • Polyphenols
  • Flavonoids
  • Cinnamic glucosides (salidroside and rosavidine).

Rhodiola extract is known for its powerful adaptogenic activity, but not only. Infatti, la pianta è conosciuta anche per l'attività cardioprotettiva, tonica, nootropa e immunostimolante.

Attività biologica

La rodiola è una pianta dotata di numerose proprietà, benché il suo utilizzo non abbia ottenuto l'approvazione ufficiale per alcun tipo d'indicazione terapeutica.
Più nel dettaglio, a questa pianta vengono ascritte proprietà adattogene, antiossidanti, cardioprotettive, toniche e immunostimolanti.
In particolare, l'attività adattogena attribuita alla rodiola è stata ampiamente confermata da diversi studi che hanno dimostrato, appunto, come questa pianta sia in grado di ridurre il senso di fatica e stanchezza e di aumentare in maniera aspecifica le resistenze dell'organismo allo stress psico-fisico. Tutto ciò sembra essere esercitato attraverso la diminuzione del tempo di recupero muscolare dopo un esercizio fisico, l'aumento della sintesi delle proteine, l'incremento dei livelli di adenosintrifosfato (ATP) e di creatinfosfato (CP) nel tessuto muscolare striato e l'aumento dei livelli plasmatici di beta-endorfine.
Inoltre, da alcuni studi è emerso che la rodiola aiuta anche a controllare l'astenia depressiva e la fame ansiosa. Tale attività sembra essere svolta attraverso l'inibizione dell'azione di enzimi quali le monoammino ossidasi (MAO) e le catecol-O-metil transferasi (COMT), ossia attraverso l'inibizione degli enzimi responsabili del metabolismo di neurotrasmettitori quali serotonina e dopamina. Infatti, si ritiene che uno dei fattori scatenanti la depressione e i suoi sintomi risieda proprio in un deficit di questi stessi neurotrasmettitori.
Ad ogni modo, prima di poter approvare simili applicazioni mediche della rodiola, sono certamente necessari ulteriori e più approfonditi studi clinici.

Rodiola nella medicina popolare e in omeopatia

Le proprietà adattogene della rodiola sono conosciute anche nella medicina popolare, che utilizza la pianta come rimedio per migliorare la resistenza fisica e la produttività sul lavoro. Inoltre, la pianta viene utilizzata anche per contrastare la stanchezza e per il trattamento di patologie come l'anemia, l'impotenza, la depressione, le infezioni, i disturbi del sistema nervoso e i disturbi gastrointestinali.
Per quanto riguarda la medicina omeopatica, invece, al momento la rodiola non trova impieghi in quest'ambito.

N.B.: le applicazioni della rodiola per il trattamento dei suddetti disturbi non sono né approvate, né supportate dalle opportune verifiche sperimentali, oppure non le hanno superate. Per questo motivo, potrebbero essere prive di efficacia terapeutica o risultare addirittura dannose per la salute.

  • Fitorodiola è sconsigliato in gravidanza e allattamento
  • Possono manifestarsi effetti additivi nel caso in cui la rodiola venga somministrata in concomitanza ad altri rimedi adattogeni e/o stimolanti.
  • Inoltre, visti i potenziali effetti antidepressivi esercitati dalla pianta, se ne sconsiglia l'utilizzo nei pazienti affetti da disturbo bipolare che vanno incontro allo sviluppo di episodi maniacali in seguito all'assunzione di farmaci antidepressivi o di rimedi stimolanti.

Prezzo Fitorodiola - Scopri le Migliori Offerte Online Selezionate per Te

20,00+5,90 Sped.Totale 25,90€

20,00+5,90 Sped.Totale 25,90€

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22,90+4,90 Sped.Totale 27,80€

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25,09+ Sped.Totale 25,09€

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