First Ground Breaking Study Shows How Rhodiola Rosea Protects People From Viral Infections

By Mae Chan

Also known as arctic root or golden root, Rhodiola Rosea has already been clinically shown to stimulate serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine activity, and support healthy neurotransmitter balance, but human trials have now shown that the herb protects against viral infection.

Arctic Root is a plant indigenous to Siberia, where it thrives in high altitudes and dry arctic climate. The primary medicinal compounds of Arctic Root are derived from the root of the plant. In Russia, Scandinavia and much of Europe, Arctic Root has been traditionally recognized for its adaptogenic properties. An adaptogen is a physiological agent that naturally increases the body’s resistance to physical and emotional stress. Rhodiola Rosea has been clinically shown to stimulate Serotonin, Norepinephrine and Dopamine activity, and may help to support healthy neurotransmitter balance.

Groundbreaking studies led by David Nieman, DrPh, FACSM, director of the Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory at the NC Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis, are building on previous human trials that demonstrate the antiviral activity of blueberry and green tea polyphenols.

A 2002 review in HerbalGram, the journal of the American Botanical Council, reported that numerous studies of Rhodiola in both humans and animals have indicated that it helps prevent fatigue, stress, and the damaging effects of oxygen deprivation. Evidence also suggests that it acts as an antioxidant, enhances immune system function, and can increase sexual energy. Rhodiola’s efficacy was confirmed in a 2011 review of 11 placebo-controlled human studies. The reviewers considered studies that all had study designs rated as moderate to good quality, and the analysis of their combined data concluded that Rhodiola might have beneficial effects on physical performance, mental performance, and certain mental health conditions.

Testing For Anti-Viral Defense

Nieman’s study “Rhodiola Rosea exerts antiviral activity in athletes following a competitive marathon race,” which was published July 31 in Frontiers in Nutrition, is the first to show anti-viral activity.

In his study, 48 marathon runners participating in the 2012 Thunder Road Marathon in Charlotte were randomly divided into two groups that ingested either 600 milligrams of Rhodiola Rosea or a placebo for a month before the race. Blood samples were collected the day before the marathon and 15 minutes and 1.5 hours post-race. Initial studies found no impact on inflammation and oxidative stress. Additional studies used an in vitro assay to measure the ability of the polyphenolic compounds to protect the cells against Vesicular stomatitis virus. The results demonstrated that Rhodiola Rosea delayed viral infection for up to 12 hours after the marathon.

Nieman was the first scientist to find that marathon runners are prone to viral illnesses such as upper respiratory tract infections after competing. This discovery motivated him to research plant-based compounds that could prevent infection and enhance recovery and overall athletic performance.

Since Rhodiola Rosea administration appears to impact central monoamine levels, it might also provide benefits and be the adaptogen of choice in clinical conditions characterised by an imbalance of central nervous system monoamines. It also suggests that research in areas such as seasonal affective disorder, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome, among others, is warranted.

“Basically after heavy exertion, bacteria and viruses can multiply at a higher rate than normal due to factors in the serum like stress hormones and inflammatory cytokines,” Nieman said. “This is why runners are six times more likely to get sick after a marathon. We showed that in those who used Rhodiola Rosea the viruses could not multiply, meaning it was acting as a countermeasure.”

The in vitro assay used in the study was developed by Nieman and Maryam Ahmed, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology at Appalachian who is a virology expert and study co-author.

“A lot of these types of compounds, you cannot test in humans,” Ahmed said. “So the really unique aspect of this study is that we gave these individuals the supplements, and we were able to test their blood in the lab using the experimental procedures that we developed to find out whether the compounds in the blood can protect cells against viruses.”

Using the specially developed assays, Ahmed and Nieman also identified a mix of polyphenolic compounds from green tea and blueberries that is even more effective than Rhodiola Rosea at preventing viral replication in athletes after intense competition. Those findings were reported in the 2014 study “The Protective Effects of a Polyphenol-Enriched Protein Powder on Exercise-Induced Susceptibility to Virus Infection” that was published in the journal Phytotherapy Research. The study was led by Nieman in collaboration with the Dole Nutrition Institute and the NC State University Plants for Human Health Institute, both at the NCRC.Anybody Can Benefit

Rhodiola both stimulates and protects the immune system by reinstating homeostasis (metabolic balance) in the body. It also increases the natural killer cells (NK) in the stomach and spleen. This action may be due to its ability to normalise hormones by modulating the release of glucocorticoid into the body.

Both Nieman and Ahmed assert that the anti-viral effects of polyphenols are beneficial to more than athletes. In a 2012 study published in the journal Nutrients, Nieman lead a 1,000 person community study that demonstrated people who eat three or more servings of fruit per day substantially reduced their incidence of upper respiratory tract infections.

“These compounds that we are looking at are not only for athletes,” Ahmed said. “They are also antioxidant and anti-cancer and have other properties that can benefit the general public, “Nieman added, “We are producing some of the first human studies showing plant polyphenols — the naturally occurring chemicals in fruits and vegetables that give them their colors like purple, red and yellow — work with the immune system to help clear viruses and keep their ability to multiply under control.”


Mae Chan writes for Prevent Disease where this article first appeared

[Editor’s note: I personally use this Rhodiola every day and love it. At first it can cause some nervousness in people so the lowest amount possible should be used with the oversight of your preferred healthcare practitioner. I know that it helps with anxiety but it was exciting to see the antiviral properties!]

Also see:
Rhodiola Herb Noted by Study as Potential Treatment for Depression15 Serotonin Supplements To Boost Mood Naturally

Become a Natural Blaze Patron and Support Health Freedom

Become a Patron!

Get Natural Health News Delivered

Enter Email Below To Stay Informed!

Widget not in any sidebars

10 Best Books To Survive Food Shortages & Famines

Your survival library won’t be complete without these books!

Plus get top natural health news delivered daily. Stay informed about health and food freedom, holistic remedies, and preparedness.

Claim your FREE download TODAY!

Enter your email address below to get instant access!

Enter Email Below To Stay Informed!

Thank you for sharing. Follow us for the latest updates.
Send this to a friend