Long ago, when the Vikings sailed the world seeking lands to conquer, they relied on the herb roseroot to boost their moods, bestow strength and endurance and to boost their fighting spirit.
Today, modern science has revealed that roseroot has a wealth of beneficial health effects, not the least of which is slowing down the process of aging.
Roseroot, also known as rhodiola, was a staple for ancient healers to treat depression, fatigue, stress, and anxiety. People in Russia and Scandinavia also used it to help folks cope with high altitudes.
And now modern medical tests have shown it has anti-cancer effects, reduces inflammation, can work against depression, improves the health of the cardiovascular system and yields longevity support
So, lets take a look at how this Viking favorite can help you conquer some of the negative results of getting older…
Right now, one of the biggest risks to your quality of life as you age is diabetes. Experts estimate that one in ten Americans have diabetes and 20 percent of those folks don’t even realize they have the disease.
In addition, a huge number of us have pre-diabetes, when blood sugar climbs and every passing year brings an increased risk of type-2 diabetes. According to researchers, diabetes is a chief cause of “accelerated” aging.1 The illness curtails your life expectancy, ages your brain 26 percent faster and shortens your telomeres, structures that protect your DNA against aging.2,3
But rhodiola, according to researchers at the University of California, Irvine, can be an important tool for managing diabetes. In their laboratory tests, the scientists report that an extract of rhodiola can lower blood sugar levels and improve the body’s response to insulin, while encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria living in the digestive tract. These bacteria improve health and reduce inflammation.4
At the same time, laboratory tests in Asia show that rhodiola can protect the heart from damage that can result from diabetes. This includes defending against what’s called diabetic cardiomyopathy – when the heart muscle is altered in ways that compromise its blood-pumping abilities.5 In particular, a helpful natural chemical in rhodiola called salidroside has proven especially beneficial for supporting the heart and the rest of the body’s efforts to be healthier.
For instance, this compound may be able to slow down or reverse what’s known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a widespread condition that threatens the well-being of many Americans. About one in four Americans now have this problem that occurs when fat starts to infiltrate the liver.
Tests show that salidroside can potentially improve the way the body handles fat so it’s less likely to invade the liver. It also lowers oxidative stress, reduces inflammation, and modifies the population of microbes in the intestinal tract that can support better liver health.6
Support For Adapting to the Modern Lifestyle
Rhodiola is classified as an adaptogen – an herb that normalizes the body’s functions and helps it cope with stress and well-being. And world-wide research is confirming its versatility in taking part in a host of health-improving effects. For example, rhodiola may:
- Lower the risk of breast cancer spreading through the body: An investigation at the Wake Forest School of Medicine demonstrates that the salidroside in rhodiola may be able to slow down or stop breast cancer metastasis into the lungs. It does this by limiting the “pro-tumor” immune cells that collect in lung tissue.7
- Protect the brain and nervous system against illness: The salidroside in rhodiola can protect the brain and central nervous system from damage and dysfunction. According to researchers in Asia, salidroside can influence the signals that nerve cells send to each other so that they are better able to fend of oxidative stress and inflammation. In addition, salidroside encourages the regeneration of neurons.8
- Help the body deal with stress and lower the risk of mental distress. Lab tests in Switzerland demonstrate that a rhodiola extract could counteract stress as an “adaptogenic response.” In this investigation, some of rhodiola’s benefits were linked to the way it improved the function of mitochondria – the organelles that fuel cellular activity.9
It seems to me that if you’re generally having trouble coping with the day-to-day stress of your hectic lifestyle, a rhodiola extract might be worth a try. Along with the studies that show rhodiola can help with stress, a study in Austria finds that it can also help you deal with burnout – when you feel emotionally exhausted and unenthusiastic about your daily tasks.10
In the Austrian research, the scientists found that seven days of taking rhodiola could relieve fatigue and exhaustion in folks who had reported feeling burned out. The tests also showed that rhodiola could yield an “alleviation of stress-induced impairment of sex life.”
And unlike drugs designed to help with these problems, rhodiola, say the Austrian researchers, is characterized by “near-non-toxicity,” which is research talk for saying people almost never experience problematic side effects from the herb.