Rhodiloa rosea (golden root or rose root) is an herb best known for its ability to improve mood, alleviate depression, reduce fatigue, and improve mental and physical performance. However, it can have dramatic benefit for women trying to get pregnant and struggling with female infertility.
Rhodiola grows in cold climates all over the world and has been used for centuries in Russian and Scandinavian folk medicine to help its users deal with cold winters. Rhodiola has been used to improve physical stamina and work productivity and for the treatment and prevention of altitude sickness, depression, anemia, nervous system disorders, fatigue, impotence, depression, infections, and gastrointestinal ailments. This helpful plant is commonly known as an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogenic herbs have broad effects that help the body respond to physical, emotional, and chemical stress. They have toning effects that balance endocrine hormones and the immune system.
Emotional stress has detrimental effects on a woman’s fertility. Chronic stress in women can cause menstrual irregularities, hormonal changes, ovulation problems, weight gain, and increased cortisol and prolactin levels, all of which interfere with conception. For naturopathic doctors, coping properly with stress has always been a key aspect in treating many conditions, including infertility. Adaptogenic herbs, such as Rhodiola, have been the secret weapon of naturopathic doctors and herbalists to help their patients overcome the negative physical and emotional consequences of stress.
The effect of Rhodiola extract was examined in women suffering from amenorrhea (loss of menstrual cycles). Forty women with amenorrhea received Rhodiola (either 100 mg of the extract orally twice daily for 2 weeks, or 1 mL of an injectable preparation intramuscularly for 10 days). Normal menstruation was restored in 25 women, 11 of whom became pregnant. In addition, it was noted that one of the study authors has treated several women in his practice who had failed to conceive with standard fertility drugs and who became pregnant several months after starting rhodiola extract.
More than 60% of the women had a return of normal menstruation, which is quite impressive. More than a quarter of women who get pregnant is just as impressive, if not more. To put that in perspective, recent research shows that the commonly prescribed Clomid for fertility is effective 16% of the time for unexplained infertility. Comparing this study of Rhodiola to advanced reproductive techniques like in vitro fertilization (IVF), which can cost $15,000 per treatment cycle, Rhodiola breaks even with IVF leading to pregnancy 26% of the time in a recent study. This little known and often overlooked herb has spectacular benefits in helping women improve fertility and become pregnant, even when compared to the most advanced techniques available.