Stress: Rhaponticum

R. carthamoides has been used for centuries in Siberia as a folk medicine for the treatment of fatigue, anemia, and impotence, as well as for convalescence after illness. In 1961 the liquid extract (1:1) was officially recognized and included in the Soviet Pharmacopoeia as a natural agent for overcoming fatigue, improving physical and mental productivity and stamina, and shortening recovery time after illness. The roots and rhizomes are considered the plant’s medicinal parts; the active ingredients are primarily phytoecdysterones (especially ecdysterone), although the plant also contains a number of other biologically active compounds, including flavonoids, sesqui-terpene lactones, and polyines. R. carthamoides extract standardized to 5% ecdysterone is considered the most potent form. Several decades of research have demonstrated numerous pharmacologic effects in animal models and human studies. It is a classic adaptogen with a wide range of activities, including normalizing effect on the central nervous and cardiovascular systems, sleep, appetite, moods (neurotic, asthenic, depressive, hypochondriac), mental and physical state, and the ability to function well under stress. It has marked anabolic activities, building lean muscle, reducing body fat, and improving work and athletic capacity and performance, improving mental acuteness, alleviating depression; is a tonic for the vital organ systems, and is erythropoietic and antioxidant, delaying the effects of aging. Rhaponticum improves stress response and adaptability to physical and mental challenges, enhances mental and physical capacity for work under stressful conditions, inhibits disorders of energetic metabolism, maintains stable glycogen levels in the skeletal muscles, increases the blood supply to the muscles and brain, and shortens the recovery period after prolonged muscular workloads. Rhaponticum favorably affects heart rate, improving arterial pressure, and hastening recovery after work load. In trained athletes, Rhaponticum improves endurance, speed, recovery, and physiologic markers, and allows anabolic processes to outpace catabolic processes, leading to greater fitness, endurance, and performance. Rhaponticum has also shown some preliminary beneficial outcomes in childbearing women, shortening the duration of labor and improving postpartum recovery. A comprehensive list of rhaponticum’s effects appears in Therapeutic Actions of Rhaponticum carthamoides.

Therapeutic Actions of Rhaponticum carthamoides

  • Increases protein synthesis, reduces adipose tissue, builds muscle mass
  • Increases stamina, endurance and athletic performance, and work productivity
  • Improves mental health, learning, and memory
  • Improves additivity to cold climates
  • Enhances immune activity
  • Improves insulin sensitivity, stabilizes blood sugar, antidiabetic
  • Reduces body fat / Increases lean muscle
  • Lowers cholesterol, reduces atherosclerosis; cardiovascular restorative
  • Antiarrhythmia
  • Hepatoprotective / Regenerative
  • Protects against the effects of steroids
  • Enhances mitochondrial activity
  • Antioxidant
  • Stabilizes cell membranes
  • Anticancer
  • Antiepileptic
  • Stimulates erythropoiesis, increasing erythrocytes and hemoglobin
  • Renal protective
  • Sexual enhancement
  • Antidepressant; reduces alcohol cravings
  • Anti-giardia; antifungal