The Rhodiola genus consists of more than two hundred species, at least twenty of which have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Among them, R. rosea L. (also known as golden root or Arctic root) is the best known species. The plant is distributed in Arctic regions of Europe, Asia and North America. Alberta is the major grown area in Canada. For centuries it has been used in eastern European and Asian cultures as a tonic and adaptogen to aid physical endurance, extend longevity, protect against altitude sickness and help to treat fatigue, depression, anemia, impotence, gastrointestinal ailments, infections and nervous system disorders.

Phytochemical investigations showed the existence of three classes of important active constituents in R. rosea, namely, phenylethanoids (salidroside, tyrosol), phenylpropanoid glycosides (rosarin, rosavin, rosin), and a monoterpene (rosiridin). Among them, rosavins (rosavin, rosin, and rosarin), which has not been detected in the other 21 Rhodiola species that are morphologically similar to R. rosea, is specific to this species. Recently, rosavins has attracted particular interest because of its antidepressant, anticancer, neurotropic, immune-stimulating and hepato-protective properties in some animal experiments.

Current market production of commercial R. rosea root powder extracts is standardized for the contents of both salidroside and rosavins. But with the limited resources and quantity of output, many Rhodiola P.E. do not come from R. rosea, and are standardized for only salidroside. CPC’s analysis revealed that the quality issue of commercial R. rosea extracts was a great concern because the characteristic bioactive compounds, i.e. rosarin, rosavin and rosin of R. rosea were not detected in 33.3% of the commercial R. rosea extract samples tested. Furthermore, there was also a considerable variation between the actual rosavins content and the amount claimed by suppliers [1].

Our Canphy® Rhodiola P.E. is reliable with strict source control and optimal extraction conditions to achieve the highest extraction effectiveness. Meanwhile, our research indicates that the chemical profile of Rhodiola roots does not change during the extraction process. Furthermore, CPC has developed a rapid, sensitive and reliable RRLC method for six biologically active compounds (salidroside, tyrosol, rosarin, rosavin, rosin and rosiridin) in Rhodiola rosea roots and powder extracts conducted within 8 minutes [1]. So, every batch of Canphy® Rhodiola P.E. which is standardized at 3% rosavins is stable and characteristic with the established RRLC profile. In addition, we have developed a RRLC method for polyherbal formulated products with Rhodiola, enabling effective quality control of formulated products containing Rhodiola P.E.[2].


[1] Yuan-Chun Ma, et al. Rapid Resolution Liquid Chromatography (RRLC) Analysis for Quality Control of Rhodiola rosea Roots and Commercial Standardized products. Natural Product Communications. 2011, 6(5): 645-650.

[2] Yuan-Chun Ma, et al. Simultaneous quantification of polyherbal formulations containing Rhodiola rosea L. and Eleutherococcus senticosus Maxim. using rapid resolution liquid chromatography (RRLC). Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis. 2011, 55:908-915.

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