Rhodiola: the High-Altitude Adaptogen Whose Toughness is Your Blessing – KOS.com

Rhodiola: the High-Altitude Adaptogen Whose Toughness is Your Blessing

4 mins

You try evolving in the mountains of Siberia for several million years and not developing adaptogenic mechanisms for maximizing survivability. Rhodiola did the hard adaptive work so we could bottle it and thrive. Fair? Yep. 

Table of Contents

Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, the Soviet Union, Iceland. What do these exotic destinations have in common? Besides costing an arm and a leg to visit from the U.S.? They’ve long known what some of us are just excitedly discovering. In fact, more than 180 pharmacological, phytochemical, and clinical studies have been published on Rhodiola in those countries since 1960, following centuries of medicinal use of the root. 

The Golden Root as Adaptogen

Traditional folk medicine has long used the stuff to increase endurance, battle altitude sickness, mitigate fatigue, depression, anemia, nervous system disorders, and even as a salve for nasty scrapes. As roots go, this one is like a Swiss Army Knife.

This breadth of use-cases speaks to the “field testing” done by traditional rural societies over the centuries. We owe much to the traditional societies who have, over time, trial-and-errored thousands of those healing agents that just sprout from the ground in any given meadow the world over.

“Hey, I ate some of this root, and the rest I rubbed on the wound where Ingólfur inexplicably scraped me with a jagged rock. This stuff really works! It even seemed to manage my heart rate as I fled the rock-wielding Ingólfur.”  

Chinese emperors sent expeditions to Siberia to bring back the "golden root" for its medicinal mojo. Today, KOS does all the heavy lifting, so you can enjoy the naturally simple adaptogenic power of this unassuming herb. No, we did not walk to Siberia to curate our Rhodiola.

Rhodiola: An Adaptogen Unconnected with the Rodeo

We agree that the name of this particularly potent herb suggests characteristics that are not really in play. One would assume Rhodiola has deep connections to both gladioli and the Rodeo culture. Well, this just goes to prove the old adage: "Never judge an adaptogen by its purely phonetic association with things like rodeos and gladioli”.

Rhodiola proves another adage: Mother Nature has your back. Time and again we find the plant kingdom imbued with natural curatives that make sweet adaptive sense of their surroundings.

In the case of Rhodiola, the fact that it grows within a certain altitudinal stratum explains the bravado exhibited by this leafy little power-puncher.

Rhodiola’s basic talent as an adaptogen makes it an all-purpose helpmate. When your body boosts cortisol in a perceived Darwinian emergency, Rhodiola’s adaptogenic properties bring your innards back to their senses, calming the “fight or flight” fugue so you can get on with the biz of actually living. 

Oh, Adaptogenic Rhodiola. How Do I Love Thee? Let's Count.

Belly fat? Where that extra padding comes from stress eating, Rhodiola normalizes cortisol levels, reducing once-survivalist cravings for fat-increasing foods. The "Golden Root" has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and gut microbiome-modulating properties that affect the presence of inflammation in visceral adipose tissue, or body fat.

Stamina? Endurance? You want this adaptogen in your corner. Rhodiola is shown to increase your red blood cell count. Red blood cells hustle the oxygen around to your internal neighborhoods, boosting your ability to pour it on with less huffing and puffing. 

Crummy night’s sleep? Rhodiola decreases those sleepless effects, rightly recognizing them as systemic stressors. Rhodiola's adaptogenic magic reads your stress and strikes compensatory balance in your system. Rhodiola even seems to boost two of your favorite neurotransmitters—serotonin and dopamine. These increase focus, pleasure, memory, and your vibe. Or "mood" as it's more commonly known.

Keep misplacing your car keys, only to find -- about half the time -- that you're holding them? An extensive 2018 study showed that Rhodiola boosts cognition and learning through a number of mechanisms, including reducing calcium in nerve cells and strong antioxidant behavior.

Plucky Russian Genius Tells All

In '61 a determined Russian botanist led an expedition to the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia. Why? He was following up fantastic-sounding rumors of an acutely curative plant there. His professional interest was piqued, and today we should all be grateful for his scientific curiosity.

He found the "golden root" in one of the harsher environments on Earth and laboriously dragged it home from snow-blasted climes.

Examining his haul back at the lab, he found that 17 extracts of the rhodiola root contained physio-balancing adaptogens, powerful ones.

It turned out that Ma Nature had endowed rhodiola with exactly the stuff animals needed to survive the bitter conditions of these Siberian elevations. Another exampole of the Plant and Animal Kingdoms' quiet alliance. More research hinted at the herb's role in boosting physical and mental performance.

The phytochemical Pandora's Box that is rhodiola began opening; and continues to yield benefits to this day.

Rhodiola's Adaptogenic Mojo: a Siberian Rhapsody

I mean, Siberia?! You try evolving in the mountains of Siberia for several million years, and you'll likewise develop mechanisms for maximizing survivability. Rhodiola did the hard adaptive work so we could bottle it and thrive. Fair? Yep. We're all in this biosphere together.


For more information or to shop for KOS products, click here.