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Rhodiola rosea (artic root, arctic root) for memory/cognition?
Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2012 8:59 PM
Joined: 12/20/2011
Posts: 217

Anyone have any experience, pro or con, with Rhodiola rosea (also called artic root - or arctic root) for memory?  I have no experience with it but here's some info I came across:


 Efficacy and tolerability of a Rhodiola rosea extract in adults with physical and cognitive deficiencies
"During a 12-wk drug monitoring study, the efficacy and safety of a Rhodiola rosea extract given in combination with vitamins and minerals (vigodana®) were tested in 120 adults (83 women and 37 men, ages 50–89 y) with physical and cognitive deficiencies...Global assessment of efficacy revealed that treatment was “very good” or “good” for 81 % of patients, as reported by physicians..." 


 Rosenroot (Rhodiola rosea): Traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacy  

"... Post-Russian ‘Western’ research on Rhodiola has grown over the past decade. Results of some clinical trials are discussed in several review articles (Kelly, 2001; Brown et al., 2002; Khanum et al., 2005; Walker and Robergs, 2006; Blomkvist et al., 2009; Panossian and Wikman, 2009a,b). In total, more than 30 publications on clinical efficacy of various Rhodiola preparations can be found in Pubmed database. The majority of these studies (of varying methodological rigor) are related to efficacy of Rhodiola on cognitive functions and mental performance in fatigue..." 

New Pharmacotherapeutic Opportunities in the Management of Mild Cognitive Impairment
"... Rhodiola rosea is an herbal alternative treatment for mild cognitive impairment.  Its extract (bioactive alkaloids, poly-phenols and phenyl-propanoids including tyrosol, rosavin, rosin and rosarin) have complex effects on brain function: cognitive stimulation with emotional calming... It is being used to... enhance learning and memory...",%20Nr.4.pdf#page=25

Does Rhodiola rosea possess ergogenic [performance enhancing] properties?
"... Several investigations conducted in Eastern Europe have indicated that Rhodiola rosea ingestion may produce such positive effects as improved cognitive function and reduced mental fatigue...";jsessionid=yOC2TTM4BYHlCNbRKvvw.4  

 Acetylcholinesterase inhibitory-active components of Rhodiola rosea L 


 WebMD profile of Rhodiola:

Lane Simonian
Posted: Monday, March 26, 2012 11:38 AM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 4845

Thank you for the great information, Onward.  These studies and those provided by Myriam (Black Cohosh) and SunshineFour (Ashwagandha root) likely get us closer to effectively treating Alzheimer's disease.  Plant alkaloids and phenolic compounds can be used to not only prevent further oxidative damage in Alzheimer's disease but to reverse some of the oxidative damage that has already occurred.  Rhodiola rosea contains both alkaloids and phenolic compounds.  The first link provides one testimonial for the use of Rhodiola rosea for early-stage Alzheimer's disease (see first comment).  The second link incudes articles on the antioxidant capacities of Rhodiola rosea. 


I have just returned home from Seattle so this is good news to return home to.  We purchased hawthorne syrup and a friend brought over magnesium citrate for my mother's heart problems.  Hopefully, they will also help her with her Alzheimer's disease (if my sister feels comfortable giving them to her). 

Posted: Monday, March 26, 2012 12:58 PM
Joined: 12/20/2011
Posts: 217

 Lane, thanks very much for the links.

By the way, here's a warning I came across at the Ray Sahelian website:

"As with many herbs that increase energy, too high a rhodiola rosea dose can cause side effects. These may include restlessness, irritability, and insomnia. A possible adverse reaction on high doses is increased heart rate. A rare side effect on very high doses could include heart palpitations. It is possible that high doses could increase blood pressure but I have not seen extensive research. Many herbs that have some stimulant properties could influence blood pressure."

Question:  "I recently started taking rhodiola herb... After 2 weeks of taking it I developed atrial fibrillation. Have you any knowledge of rhodiola herb being associated with the onset of atrial fibrillation?"
Answer:  "There are some reports that the regular use of this herb could cause heart rhythm disturbances."


"It is generally best to take a break from rhodiola herb, ginseng, and other stimulating herbs every one to two weeks. The length of the break could be a few days but each person is different. I personally do not take the same herb for more than one week at a time without taking a break. I have not taken rhodiola herb for more than 5 days in a row." 

Posted: Monday, March 26, 2012 2:17 PM
Joined: 12/29/2011
Posts: 17

many thanks for the post as well, I tried to find out whether it was ok to take the Ashwanga root with my mum's meds (see my previous post) but no one could help, I have started it with mum now and will probably take a break from it as per your advice after a few days.

I have also read an article today about a doctor in India who is showing promising results in helping alzheimers patients by Ayurveda not sure how valid it is much read the article for yourself I am thinking of dropping him an e-mail...

Lane Simonian
Posted: Monday, March 26, 2012 4:10 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 4845

Thanks, Onward, for the cautions.  I read similar cautions about magnesium citrate and hawthorne to my sister, which is why she is reluctant to try them. 

I have a sense that many of the alternative treatments can pose problems in healthy individuals because they increase the binding of ligands (adrenaline, for instance) that increase blood pressure and heart palpitations (by increasing the formation of peroxynitrites and calcium influx).  Because of oxidation, these receptors don't function very well in Alzheimer's patients.  High adrenaline levels can be a problem for some Alzheimer's patients and therefore certain alternative treatments may have to be used with particular caution in these situations. 


Thank you very much for your post as well, SunshineFour.  My mother takes no medications for Alzheimer's disease (other than aromatherapy), and unfortunately I have very little knowledge of interactions between alternative treatments and conventional medications for Alzheimer's disease.