Every so often a “new” herb intended for medicinal use enters the market. It’s usually cloaked in the romantic musings of its benefits and further mystified by its origins in a far-off land. If you keep up with obscure new offerings, you may have run across the name of an herb called rhodiola, or heard of it advertised as golden root or roseroot. Much of the current romance on the herb dribbles down to us from its use in the former Soviet Union, where in their search for adaptogens (a fancy word for tonic) in the 1960s to 1980s, extensive research was conducted on the plant. Their preparations from the root were given in response to stress or as a mild stimulant. Like so many herbs before it, it first entered the American market through multilevel marketing channels, then others began selling the herb, the hype and mystery grew, and we get a new name such as golden root. The questions begin to mount. What is this herb, really? Where does it come from? Has it ever been used before? And finally, is there any scientific evidence to justify the claims? These are the questions that came into my mind when I first heard about this herb. Here is what I discovered.
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