Rhodiola Rosea, or Siberian Ginseng
In the inaccessible mountainous regions of Scandinavia, Altai, Pamir, Tien Shan, in the Balkans, in the foothills of the Carpathians, in the Far North of the European part of Russia, the Urals, in the Western and Eastern Sayans, Tuva, Transbaikalia, the legendary healing plant grows in the polar region - Rhodiola Rose (Golden root).
Rhodiola rosea has been known in medicine for over 2 thousand years. The plant was first described in the 1st century A.D. Doctor Dioscorides. For many centuries this plant was considered the highest value and was used in folk medicine to enhance health and maintain active longevity. Special tea from Rhodiola rosea was drunk by Chinese emperors and Altai hunters, Scandinavian Vikings and shepherds in the Pamirs. Rhizomes of the plant were very appreciated by the ancient Greeks. The power of the golden root was well known to the inhabitants of Altai, where it grew in large quantities. The glory of this plant also reached the Chinese emperors, who for several centuries went hiking in Altai just for the sake of this valuable rhizome, equipped special expeditions in search of a golden root. Smugglers smuggled him as the greatest value across the border, his price was many times higher than the price of gold, and if someone found a root, he was executed without delay. Around the Golden Root, legends were created one more colorful than the other. One ancient Altai legend says:
“He who finds the Golden Root will be lucky and healthy until the end of his days, will live two centuries. However, those who dig this root for mercenary purposes or buy it from a mercenary person will fall into poverty ”.
The indigenous population of Altai carefully hid the place where the plant grew; the inhabitants of the mountains did not show it to anyone. The methods of using this plant were surrounded by a secret that was passed from father to son, and sometimes with the owner went to the grave. And it didn’t occur to any of the outsiders that the same Rhodiola rosea that grew around is the legendary plant - the golden root. This thought did not come to the numerous scientific expeditions that set off in search of a mysterious root; they returned with nothing. Not knowing what the plant looked like, nerds passed by it.
An interesting paradox: in the East, Rhodiola rosea has been considered a valuable plant for centuries, and at the same time in the West it was used as a dye.
In 1961, an expedition led by Professor G.V. Krylov found a golden root in the Altai taiga at an altitude of 3000 m. Then it was found that the legendary golden root and the well-known Rhodiola rosea, which scientists have long known, is one and the same plant.
After scientists identified Rhodiola rosea with a golden root, it began its extensive study and study of the effects of its preparations on humans, they were mainly carried out at the Tomsk Medical Institute and the Biological Institute of the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Studies of Rhodiola rosea have shown that this is just a storehouse of nutrients. The roots of the plant contain essential oil, tannins, more than 20 valuable trace elements (iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, antimony, etc.), ascorbic and nicotinic acids. In the leaves and stems of Rhodiola, malic and tartaric acids are present. The main biologically active substances on which the specific properties of Rhodiola rosea depend are salidroside and tyrazole. The stimulating properties of rhodiola rosea preparations are proven by animal experiments and clinical observations.
It is known that the golden root is the most powerful adaptogen, a stimulator of the central nervous system. In this respect, it surpasses ginseng, eleutherococcus, aralia, lemongrass, levzea. Like all plant stimulants, they have low toxicity, have a large breadth of therapeutic use, and the absence of negative consequences, in particular getting used to them.
With the beginning of a broad study of the golden root, when the “secret” of this legendary plant was revealed to people, the beginning of the mass harvesting of precious raw materials coincided. The mountains of Altai at that time were swept by a real “gold rush”. Previously, the thickets of Rhodiola rosea in our country were very significant. However, unorganized and unsystematic gatherings, often just the barbaric destruction of this plant, led to the fact that natural reserves were greatly reduced or even disappeared in some regions, especially in Altai. So that the natural plantations of Rhodiola rosea can be restored, the frequency of harvesting in the same areas should be at least 20 years, with the mandatory preservation of 40 percent of individuals. In Russia, the plant is introduced into the culture, but production plantations have not yet been created.
Now Rhodiola rosea is listed in the Red Book as a rare and endangered species.
Rod Rodiola (Rhodiola) has about 60 species. The scientific species name was given to the plant by Carl Linnaeus in 1755 - it is a diminutive of the Greek "rhodon" or "rhodia", the Latin "roseus" - rose, pink, small rose - due to the smell of freshly broken rhizome, reminiscent of the scent of a rose.
Rhodiola rosea is a widespread and very polymorphic species, i.e. morphological characteristics of this plant in different habitats vary greatly. This applies primarily to the number and density of branches, the arrangement of leaves of their shape and size, the serration of their edges, the size and shape of inflorescences. Rhodiola is a pink perennial herbaceous succulent dioecious plant from the family Crassulaceae. It has a thick, short tuberous rhizome with a large number of kidney regeneration. The rhizome resembles a human hand with five half-bent fingers, it is located almost on the surface of the soil, and coniferous roots go deep into the depths. The brownish rhizome is covered with scaly leaves of the color of old gilding with a peculiar pearlescent (metallic) shine. From this color comes the popular name - the "golden root". The stems are erect, not branched, 10-60 cm high. On one rhizome there are 10-15 stems, young plants usually have 1-2 shoots. The leaves, like all crassulaceae, are sessile, juicy, fleshy, oblong-ovate, serrated and pointed at the end. Flowers same-sex yellow, collected in a dense corymbose inflorescence. Male and female flowers are located on different bushes, male flowers are brighter, more noticeable, female flowers often remain green even during flowering. Fruits - oblong leaflets of red or green color, 6-8 mm long. Seeds are very small and light (up to 2 mm).
Use in decorative floriculture
Despite the fact that Rhodiola is mainly associated with a pharmacy, many gardeners grow it as an ornamental plant. On the plot, she looks good on a rocky hill, among the stones in the rockery, her golden inflorescences perfectly combine with blue muscari. The decorative advantages of the plant include early regrowth, immediately after the snow melts, in June it already blooms, the seeds ripen in August-September. With good watering, the bushes remain green until the fall. If humidification is insufficient, then after fruiting the aerial part of the plant dies.
Recently, in connection with the enthusiasm for Rhodiola, many gardeners amateurs get planting material in the markets and from friends. And instead of Rhodiola, they often come across other plants of the same family. It is also good if it turns out to be a different kind of Rhodiola, but much more often two types of stonecrops come across instead. Stonecrop (sedum) is often grown tenaciously, less often - stonecrop hybrid. Sedums have flowers with 5 petals, which distinguishes them from Rhodiola, which has 4 petals. But usually seedlings are bought in spring or autumn, when there are no flowers. How to distinguish these plants? Pay attention to the roots. Both types of stonecrops have a powerful root that resembles carrots in shape, often forked and branched, with conical roots pointing down. Already in a very small, one-year-old plant of sedum, this “carrot” is clearly visible. The color of the rhizome is light, the cork is dull without gloss, often with darker specks. In Rhodiola, the bulk of the rhizome is located horizontally and the roots are already departing from this rhizome. The one-year-old seedling has an almost spherical "nodule" at the bottom, the size of a small pea. In older rhizomes, a characteristic “golden” luster appears, especially noticeable on a damp surface.
Sunflower with constantly drying soil Rhodiola rosea is contraindicated. Abundant flowing moisture and a large amount of organic matter in the soil are preferable for it. Therefore, before planting make 2-3 buckets of compost or rotted manure per 1 sq.m. If the soil is heavy and clay, add sand (up to 10 kg per 1 sq. M). The reaction of the soil should be slightly acidic or neutral. It is not recommended to set aside for rhodiola after potatoes and cabbage. Rhodiola rosea is less demanding on light and heat.
Rhodiola rosea is propagated vegetatively and by sowing seeds.
With seed propagation of Rhodiola, there is a secret, without knowing which it cannot be grown: the seeds of the plant are in a state of deep dormancy. To get out of this state, they need stratification, non-stratified seeds have very low germination or do not germinate at all. Sow the seeds before winter in boxes or pots with a depth of at least 10 cm (in order to provide adequate nutrition for seedlings in the future). The seeds are very small, so before sowing it is better to mix them with sand. Sowing is superficial, without seeding (just roll it) at the rate of 0.1-0.2 g of seeds per 1 sq.m. Carry out crops on a balcony or on a site. In the area, draw the boxes or pots flush with the soil, cover with a film on top, this will prevent the seeds from erosion during melting snow and birds. If you bought seeds in the winter, then do the same, but in this case, bury the pots in the snow. In this form, they winter, or rather pass stratification. Well, if all these troubles are impossible for you, then you can stratify in the refrigerator for at least 1.5 months: you need to wrap the seeds in cotton or gauze, moisten, put in a dish and put in the refrigerator (the fabric should always remain wet ), but when grown at home, seedlings suffer greatly from the black leg, so the use of fungicides is indispensable. At room conditions, the seeds germinate at t 15-20 degrees.
Shoots will appear in the spring. They will be sparse, but quite sufficient to create their own plantation of the golden root. Sowing seeds in boxes makes it possible not to lose tiny and weak seedlings, where it will be convenient to weed and care for them, leave them like this in pots buried in the ground until next spring. The first year, seedlings develop very slowly. In summer, it is necessary to ensure that the earth in boxes or pots does not dry out, because in them this happens especially quickly, the seedlings will not tolerate this and will die immediately. Those pots or boxes that have not been buried in the ground since autumn, in the spring, it is also better to bury flush with the ground. Choose a place for seedlings sunny, but with mandatory shading in the hottest hours, because in extreme heat, when the temperature of the soil rises above 30 degrees, seedlings also die.
In the second spring, plants are transplanted to a permanent place, on a bed or in a flower bed, at a distance of 60-70 cm between rows and 30-40 cm between plants in a row. When the plants reach a height of 4-6 cm, the first top dressing with a solution of bird droppings (1:20) is done with the addition of half a tablespoon of superphosphate and potassium sulfate to the bucket. After watering, mulching is mandatory. For the entire growing season, 4-5 of the above top dressings are carried out. The latter, phosphorus-potash, is done in late August - early September, dissolving in a bucket of water of 1.5 tbsp. tablespoons of superphosphate and potassium sulfate. Such top dressing favorably affects the overwintering of plants. For winter planting, Rhodiola rosea is mulched with peat in a 1 cm layer. Plants grown from seeds will bloom for 2-3 years. Within a few years (5-6) your first crop will gain strength. Then the plants can be propagated vegetatively. Bear in mind that with age, the roots of Rhodiola come to the surface of the soil, so you have to periodically sprinkle them with nutritious soil or spud.
If you decide to collect seeds from your own bushes, you must remember that Rhodiola is a dioecious plant. Therefore, if you once acquired one copy and propagated vegetatively, you will have either only female or only male plants, and of course there will be no seeds.
The vegetative propagation of Rhodiola is conveniently combined with the digging of medicinal raw materials: the upper part of the roots with 2-3 buds of renewal is cut off and planted on a previously prepared site in grooves with a depth of 15 cm, and large rhizomes are divided into several parts, at least 5-10 cm long. Before planting, it is useful to sprinkle the slices with crushed charcoal and slightly dry - so they probably will not rot. It is very important - when planting the root segments - not to bury them more than 1 - 1.5 cm, the kidneys of renewal should remain on the surface. Rhodiola can be planted both in spring and late autumn. With vegetative propagation, raw materials can be dug up every 1-2 years, but in order to harvest so often, it is necessary to have bushes of different ages on the site, so new plants must be planted every year.
Diseases and Pests
Badan weevil, gray-headed weevil.
Procurement of medicinal raw materials
The optimal time when they start harvesting the roots is August-September, when the female plants are in the fruiting phase (when harvesting raw materials in natural conditions, this is very important, because the seeds are shedding, which ensures further renewal of natural thickets). Dig large plants with roots with a shovel. Rhizomes are shaken off the ground, washed in running water, cleaned of old brown cork, rotted parts. Wither in the shade, cut lengthwise and dry in a dryer or oven with an ajar door at t 50-60 degrees. It is impossible to dry in the sun. The color of the dried roots is golden, and in the places of cuts it is white, pinkish or light brown, but not brown. The smell is specific, somewhat reminiscent of the smell of a rose. Store the dried roots in linen bags or paper bags in a dry, well-ventilated area. Shelf life 3 years.
When harvesting raw materials in natural thickets, do not dig out the rhizomes completely, leave some of the roots in the ground.
The healing properties of Rhodiola rosea
All useful things are concentrated in the rhizome along with the roots. If in official medicine, Rhodiola rosea is used mainly as an adaptogenic and stimulating agent, then folk herbal medicine finds its application in a wide variety of diseases: gastrointestinal, liver, anemia, impotence. In practically healthy people, golden root preparations increase working capacity in case of physical and mental fatigue, normalize metabolic processes, because they contribute to the economical use of energy resources, improve memory and attention, and activate the thyroid function.
How to use at home
The root is used at home mainly in the form of vodka or water tincture and a tea drink. The drink from the golden root has excellent taste, its aroma is very delicate, pleasant, resembles the smell of a rose. The taste is slightly astringent, and the color changes from pinkish-brown to densely crimson.
Golden root tea, unlike drinks made from other plants, has a very strong, stimulating central nervous system effect.In this regard, he probably will not give in, or even surpass caffeine containing tea (Ceylon, Georgian, Indian) and coffee, so it should be taken only if necessary, and not daily. To prepare a drink, take one teaspoon of crushed root per liter of water, boil for 7-10 minutes, insist 30-40 minutes and drink 2-3 glasses a day, adding sugar or honey to taste.
Golden root tea with the addition of the following medicinal plants is very popular: frankincense (black leaves), leaves of wild strawberry, blackberry, raspberry and black currant; St. John's wort flowers, shrubby cinquefoil, thyme grass, taken in equal quantities.
- Two or three tablespoons of the dry mixture of herbs, insist 1 hour in 1 liter of boiling water, add honey or sugar to taste.
Tea has tonic properties, restores impaired metabolism in the body. It is good to drink it during hard physical or mental work, with colds, disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and other painful conditions of the body. The Golden Altai tonic soft drink was obtained from the golden root. Or “CMEA-Cola”, which surpasses in its properties the world-famous Coca-Cola.
Drinking neither tincture nor tea daily is recommended. Do not forget that the forces of the body are not infinite and cannot be constantly stimulated. Stimulating drugs are best taken in cases where it is necessary to maintain the body tone, but after five days of constant use, they can begin to give the opposite effect, so every five days you need to take a break for a week. Also, Rhodiola root preparations should not be used if you have increased pressure or temperature, as well as in cases where you experience strong emotional arousal: emotions will only intensify, and the drug will not do you any good. Here you need to remember that emotions take a lot of energy. Therefore, when you feel "squeezed like a lemon" from the experience, lie down and sleep for an hour or two, and when you wake up, take a few drops of tincture or refresh yourself with freshly brewed tea with golden root. To avoid sleep disturbance, Rhodiola rosea preparations should not be taken later, than 4-5 hours before bedtime.
The golden root is ready to come to the rescue of both healthy and sick people, to give them high performance and good mood, to help get away from illness and fatigue. He is ready to be friends with everyone.