Over the last couple of decades, Arctic root also referred to as the Golden root, has become increasingly popular to athletes for use before or after workouts to enhance performance. The question is… Are these health benefits of Arctic root real? Or are these impacts of Arctic root exaggerated by folklore?
To fully understand the health benefits this root offers, let’s do a quick review of what Arctic root is including its Science-backed health benefits.
What is the Arctic root?
Arctic root is a common name for the root of the plant called Rhodiola Rosea. This plant is largely cultivated in different parts of the world for medicinal use and as natural remedies. It is usually found in cold regions such as the 'Arctic' (hence the term), Appalachian mountains of North America, mountainous regions of Central Asia, and some regions in Europe.
It is classified as an adaptogen – a substance with remarkable ability in supporting the body during stressful situations. By definition, adaptogens are substances that ‘enhance stress adaptation.’
From around 8th to the 11th century, it is believed that Arctic root was used by the naval warriors, known as Vikings to win their battles against fatigue and increase their stamina. In the Himalayas, the indigenous Sherpas used this root to adapt and be able to live at high altitude. Furthermore, the Soviet-era military benefited from Arctic root by improving their resiliency with the effects of the roots extending their time on the field.
What are the Health Benefits of Arctic Root?
Many has proven the benefits of Arctic root. And history aside, recent studies have found that there are many benefits to this root other than increasing the Viking’s stamina and Soviet military’s endurance.
Here, let us take a look at what other advantages Rhodiola can offer:
Improved Exercise Performance
Rhodiola a.k.a. Arctic root belongs to a group of herbs called adaptogens. They help enhance the synthesis of stored sugar (energy) which allows the body to improve endurance, especially during stressful periods. A recent study shows that it enhances performance when exercising, or during challenging workouts. If you are an athlete, it might be able to help you improve your speed, endurance, and strength.
Stimulates Fat Burning Mechanisms
In 2014, research on Arctic root and bitter orange was conducted to test fat burning effects of the said organic compounds. The study concluded that combinational therapy of both Arctic root and bitter orange offers potential synergistic effects in producing a greater degree of weight loss. Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) and Arctic root (Rhodiola rosea) promote improvements in the alterations on the body caused by high-fat feeding and obesity.
Boosts the Function of the Nervous System
Researchers have found that Arctic root enhances the activity of many neurotransmitters such as dopamine, and serotonin in the brain. These hormones are necessary to keep us calm and and have a balanced mood. They also assist in enhancing self-esteem as well as boost confidence.
Scientific studies have found that adaptogens, such as arctic root, can improve cognitive function. Aside from its soothing and calming effects from increasing the happy hormones (dopamine) and mood-elevating hormones (serotonin), Rhodiola can reduce feelings of tiredness and fatigue levels. Although the exact mechanism is not yet known, many cases have shown that this root can minimize general fatigue under certain conditions that may cause stress.
Boosts Anti-viral Immunity
According to recent studies, Arctic root (Rhodiola rosea) contains anti-microbial properties. In one study, researchers found that there was an increase of bioactive compounds in the bodies of twenty-four marathoners supplemented with the root. These compounds are responsible for protecting the body against viral infections. This discovery means that the root can be advantageous during training periods when athletes are more susceptible to getting sick with colds and flu.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the benefits of Arctic root for your overall health. If you found this article about Rhodiola Rosea a.k.a. Arctic root useful, please do share this with your friends on Facebook and other social media sites.
Mike Zhang is the founder of the MZF Group. He was a two time National Muay Thai Champion, and a strength and conditioning coach to several professional athletes. Mike has over 14 years of experience as a Muay Thai Coach. He calibrated from the University of Toronto on the dean's list with a Masters Degree in science.