Magazine article Newsweek

Health: Herbal Stress Buster?

Magazine article Newsweek

Health: Herbal Stress Buster?

Article excerpt

Byline: Anne Underwood

As a Soviet soldier in Afghanistan in 1979, Zakir Ramazanov discovered a tonic that helped him reduce stress, while boosting mental and physical energy. It wasn't alcohol, but tea--made from the golden-yellow roots of a Siberian plant called Rhodiola rosea, which the Siberian soldiers received in their mothers' packages from home. Now a plant physiologist and president of National BioScience Corp. in Chester, N.Y., he is supplying extracts of the same root to U.S. supplement makers and researching its beneficial properties. "Given the frenetic pace of American life," he says, "America needs rhodiola."

Although rhodiola is just starting to create a buzz in this country, it has been used for centuries in Russia, Scandinavia and Iceland. Even the Vikings used it to enhance their endurance. But it was the Soviet Union in the 1960s that began seriously researching it--in part to maximize the performance of its Olympic athletes. Now the herb is poised to take off in the United States, with GNC rolling out Pinnacle's Rhodax nationwide. "It's got everything to become an herbal superstar--a high-safety profile, compelling benefits and a reasonable amount of scientific research," says Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council.

Most of the studies on rhodiola have been Russian. But in recent years, Western journals have published some intriguing research showing improved performance in medical students during exams and physicians on night call after taking rhodiola. Next month the journal Phytomedicine will publish a trial by Georg Wikman at the Swedish Herbal Institute and Russian colleagues comparing 180 elite Russian cadets before and after routine night duty. Not surprisingly, the cadets were not as strong on abstract thought and memory tests at 4 a.m. as they were when rested. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.