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Rhodiola rosea, also called golden root, Arctic root, and Rose Root, grows in arctic and mountain regions throughout Europe, Asia, and America.
Its use was first recorded by the Greek physician Dioscorides in 77 BC in De Materia Medica.
It has been used for centuries as a traditional medicine in Russia, Scandinavia, and other countries to promote physical endurance, longevity, and work productivity.
Rhodiola appeared in the scientific literature of Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, the Soviet Union, and Iceland as early as 1725.
It is also officially registered in Sweden and Denmark and is widely used in Scandinavia as a general tonic that increases mental work ability under stress. Rhodiola is classified as an adaptogen.
It contains a range of antioxidant compounds, and its adaptogenic activities are attributed to its unique phenylpropanoids rosavin, rosarin, and rosidirin, and to phenylethanol derivatives p-tyrosyl and salidroside (also called rhodioloside), as well as to flavonoids, triterpenes, monoterpenes, and phenolic acids.
Rosavins are the accepted marker compounds for water and alcohol extracts.