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Aging and disease    2019, Vol. 10 Issue (1) : 134-146     DOI: 10.14336/AD.2018.0511
Review |
Rosenroot (Rhodiola): Potential Applications in Aging-related Diseases
Wei Zhuang1, Lifeng Yue2, Xiaofang Dang3, Fei Chen1, Yuewen Gong4, Xiaolan Lin1, Yumin Luo5,*
1Department of Pharmacy, Xuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical University, Beijing 100053, China
2Dongzhimen Hospital, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100700, China
3Department of Pharmacy, Hospital of T.C.M.S Shijingshan District, Beijing 100043, China
4College of Pharmacy, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg R3E 0T5, Manitoba, Canada
5Institute of Cerebrovascular Disease Research and Department of Neurology, Xuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical University, Beijing 100053, China
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Aging is a progressive accumulation of changes in the body, which increases the susceptibility to diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Recently, Chinese medicinal herbs have been investigated for their therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of some aging-related diseases. Rhodiola, known as ‘Hongjingtian’ in Chinese, has been reported to have anti-aging activity. Here, we provide a comprehensive review about its origin, chemical constituents, and effects on aging-related diseases.

Keywords Rhodiola rosea      salidroside      neurodegenerative diseases      cardioprotection     
Corresponding Authors: Luo Yumin   
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These authors contributed equally.

Issue Date: 14 March 2017
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Zhuang Wei
Yue Lifeng
Dang Xiaofang
Chen Fei
Gong Yuewen
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Luo Yumin
Cite this article:   
Zhuang Wei,Yue Lifeng,Dang Xiaofang, et al. Rosenroot (Rhodiola): Potential Applications in Aging-related Diseases[J]. Aging and disease, 2019, 10(1): 134-146.
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SectionSeriesLatin NameGeographical OriginGrowing EnvironmentAltitude (m)
Sect. Chamaerhodiola (Fisch. et Mey.) A. Bor.Ser. Dumulosae (Frod.) S.H. FuR. dumulosa (Franch.) S.H. FuSichuan, Shanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shanxi, Hebei, Inner MongoliaSlopes, rocks1600-3900
Ser. Quadrifidae (Frod.) S.H. FuR. quadrifida (Pall.) Fisch. et Mey.Tibet, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Gansu, QinghaiAlpine meadows, schist on mountain slopes, rock crevices on mountain slopes, marshes3000-5700
R. scabrida (Franch.) S.H. FuSichuan, YunnanGrassland on slopes3200-4700
R. subopposita (Maxim.) JacobsenGansu, QinghaiRock crevices on mountain slopes1600-5000
R. atuntsuensis (Praeg.) S.H. FuYunnan
Ser. Fastigiatae (Frod.) S.H. FuR. fastigiata (Hook. f. et Thoms.) S.H. FuTibet, Sichuan, Gansu, YunnanSchist on mountain slopes, slopes, rock crevices3300-5400
R. pamiroalaica A. Bor.Xinjiang-2000-4200
R. himalensis (D. Don.) S.H. FuSichuan-3700-4200
R. tangutica (Maxim.) S.H. FuSichuan, Gansu, Ningxia, QinghaiRock crevices on mountain slopes, meadows, around water2000-4700
Sect. RhodiolaSer. Roseae (Praeg.) S.H. FuR. rosea L.Xinjiang, QinghaiAlpine grasslands, under forest, beside ditches1800-2035
R. sachalinensis A. BorHeilongjiang, JilinUnder hills and trees, under rocks1700-2300
R. crenulata (Hook. f. et Thomas) H. OhbaTibet, Sichuan, QinghaiAlpine gravel beach, slopes, grasslands, rock crevices3400-5600
R. kirilowii (Regel) Maxim.Qinghai, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Shanxi, GansuSchist on mountain slopes, under rocks in the forest, meadows, beside ditches3100-5600
R. linearifolia A. BorXinjiang-2000-4200
Ser. Bupleuroides Frod.) S.H. FuR. bupleuroides (Wall. ex Hook. f. et Thoms.) S.H. FuTibet, Sichuan, QinghaiHillside flow, alluvial plain, subalpine meadow, marshes, grassland2400-5600
Ser. Yunnanenses (Frod.) S.H. FuR. yunnanesis (Franch.) S.H. FuTibet, SichuanRocks under forest, rocks beside ditches2750-3200
R. henryi (Diels) S.H. FuSichuan, Shanxi, GansuSlopes, beside ditches, rocks1000-3300
Sect. Trifida (Frod.) S.H. Fu-R. sacra (Prain ex Hamet) S.H. FuTibet, QinghaiRock crevices on mountain slopes, grassland on slopes3500-4700
Table 1  Species, geographical distributions, and growing environments of medicinal Rhodiola.
Component or extraction methodAilmentPharmacological functionRefs
SalidrosideADUpregulates p-GSK-3β and downregulates p-tau5
Upregulates PI3K/AKT signaling6,7
Weakens the abnormal processing of APP8
Induces antioxidant enzymes TRX, HO-1, and PRXI9
Prevents caspase 3 activation, increases BAX/BCL-2 ratio, and reverses hippocampal neuronal loss10
Protects mitochondria against sodium-azide-induced damage11
DepressionReduces TNF-α and IL-1ß levels21
Attenuates levels of IL-6 and TNF-α22
Attenuates NE and 5-HT levels in the prefrontal cortex22
Regulates BDNF/TRKB signaling pathway23
Huntington’s diseaseReduces neuronal death and behavioral dysfunction mediated by polyQ32
Regulates AMPK/SIRT1/FOXO1 signaling33
CVDAttenuates H2O2-induced cell damage by downregulating Ca2+ and ROS via cAMP-dependent pathway43
Promotes mitochondrial biogenesis and functions44, 45
Increases the phosphorylation of AKT and ERK1/2; reduces the intracellular levels of ROS and the phosphorylation of JNK and p38 MAPK47
Reduces the contents of CK, CK-MB, and LDH; increases GSH-Px and SOD activities; and reduces MDA content in liver tissue48, 49
Increases levels of VEGF; upregulates HIF-1α protein expression and induces its translocation49
Regulates BCL-2 protein family, reduces the expression of BAX; rescues the balance of pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins50
Increases phosphorylation of AKT and reduces activation of caspase 3; markedly increases BCL-2/BAX ratio; preserves mitochondrial transmembrane potential51
DiabetesReduces diabetes-induced oxidative stress64
Inhibits the function and expression of CaL channels in vascular smooth muscle cells67
Inhibits neuroinflammation and P2X7 receptor expression68
Hepatic fibrosisInhibits lipid peroxidation73
Acute liver fibrosisAntioxidant activity and inhibits the function of HIF-1α74
Bladder cancerInhibits the mTOR pathway and induces autophagy79
Lung cancerReduces intracellular ROS generation and phosphor-p38 MAPK expression80
FibrosarcomaDownregulates the ROS/PKC/ERK1/2 signaling pathway81
Colon carcinomaInhibits the JAK2/STAT3-dependent pathway82
SarcomaReduces tumor-induced angiogenesis83
Pulmonary hypertensionRegulates ET-1, NO, VEGF, ACE, NF-κB, TNF-α, and IL-6 expressions59
Water extract of Rhodiola roseaPDInhibits MAO-A and MAO-B activities and prevents the degradation of important neurotransmitters in PD patients35
CVDReduces iNOS expression55
Pulmonary hypertensionACE-inhibitory activity56
CVDCauses withdrawal of sympathetic vasomotor tone and the circulatory angiotensin system60
STZ-induced diabetesIncreases β-endorphin secretion from adrenal glands to activate opioid μ-receptors72
LeukemiaIncreases intracellular ROS in K-562 cell line; induces apoptosis, drives the cell to an oxidative-stress-induced cell death; arrests cell-cycle progression at G2/M84
Ethanol extract of Rhodiola roseaPulmonary hypertensionACE-inhibitory activity56
DiabetesInhibits the activities of α-amylase, α-glucosidase, and ACE56
Diabetic nephropathyLowers the expression of TGF-β1 in renal tissues71
Polysaccharide from Rhodiola roseaT lymphocytes in tumorsIncreases the spleen and thymus indices and the production of cytokines (IL-2, TNF-α, and IFN-γ); increases the CD4+/CD8+ ratio86
TyrosolDiabetesInhibits the activity of α-glucosidase56
Oligomeric proanthocyanidin (OPCRR)ADIncreases SOD and GSH-Px activities19
Methanol extract of Rhodiola roseaPDInhibits MAO-A and MAO-B activities and prevents the degradation of important neurotransmitters in PD patients35
Ethanol extract of Rhodiola crenulataDiabetesInhibits α-amylase, α-glucosidase, and ACE activities56
Water extracts of Rhodiola crenulataDiabetesInhibits α-amylase, α-glucosidase, and ACE activities56
3% rosavin and 0.8% salidroside from Rhodiola roseaDepressionIncreases the blood-brain barrier permeability to precursors of DA and 5-HT;induces neural stem cell proliferation in the hippocampus26
Rhodiola crenulata root extractHepatomaIncreases glycogen synthesis and the expression of regulatory enzymes in HepG2 cells; suppresses fat accumulation in hepatic cells under high-glucose conditions; is associated with the AMPK signaling pathway77
Rhodiola crenulata root
DiabetesSuppresses fructose-induced hyperinsulinemia and increases the insulin resistance index by modulating sarcolemmal and intracellular CD36 redistribution69
Water extract of radix et rhizoma Rhodiola kirilowiiAMIElevates the expressions of HIF-1α, HIF-1β, and VEGF59
Rhodiola rosea extractCVDIncreases the levels of endogenous opioid peptides54
Extract of Rhodiola roseaHypomnesiaRegulates the expression of monoamines and opioid peptides to increase the adaptability and activity of the central nervous system40
Modulates the activity and levels of ACh in the brain38
Increases the levels of NE, DA, 5-HT and ACh39
Extract of Rhodiola roseaPDFacilitates production and proliferation of dopamine-producing cells36
Table 2  Pharmacological functions of medicinal Rhodiola on various ailments.
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