I gave this book a five star rating because it convinced me to try the product it is, in a sense, pushing.
Rhodiola rosea is a plant that loves to grow in cold climates, as far north as Siberia. Its traditional medicinal uses are well known in certain regions of Scandinavia, Russia, China and Greece. The latter connection comes by way of trade routes and is indisputable; the co-authors did their homework. Thatís partly why the book is so convincing; there have been no corners cut, no stones left unturned under which a rhodiola plant might be growing. The authors report everything they know to be true about the herb and its properties and uses.
Itís lamentable but predictable that any ďmiracle cureĒ will claim to be a cure ALL. Rhodiola rosea is no exception, but the pair of psychiatrists on the authorship team, Brown and Gerbag,, have taken pains to ensure that their cure-all takes it proper place in the pantheon of herbal medicines. It is best used as an energizer, and has been tested for that purpose. Unfortunately the testing took place in Soviet Russia and we didnít trust the Russkies then, maybe still donít, to perform proper research.
Both Brown and Gerbag prescribe Rhodiola rosea regularly for people suffering from stress and other ills that our twenty-first-century bodies and psyches are heir to. For instance, if youíre overweight, it makes sense that if you have more energy, you will feel like exercising more often and with an energizing supplement you may be able to break your cycle of overeating and under-working. So RR might be a useful intervention.
The active substance in this plant, as in many others such as St. Johnís Wort, gingko biloba, SAM-E and kava kava, to name only a few of the many recently discovered and highly-touted folk remedies, is known as an ďadaptogen". Adaptogens seem to affect the chemicals in the brain that trigger certain responses, and thatís about as scientific as it gets. The fact is that in specific doses, some adaptogens do help some people to feel better. It remains for each individual, probably with no help or support from oneís family physician, to determine what that dosage is and whether the positive effects of the remedy are real or lasting.
My sense from reading what the two psychiatrists, helped by author Barbara Graham, had to say, was that RR might help me retain my weakening memory faculties at age sixty, and would be worth trying. It isnít terribly expensive nor hard to take. A quick web search turned up a number of products that conform to the authorís recommendations about dosages and drug reliability and purity. I figured a monthís trial would constitute a reasonable experiment, if it would give me a mental kick-start when I need it and maybe help me write better book reviews!