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A root to success


A plant called roseroot grows wild in Norway. Roseroot helps improve memory and the immune system and stabilizes cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Roseroot has been used in folk medicine for more than 3000 years, and grows throughout Norway

(University of Trondheim) NTNU’s Plant Biocentre in the Department of Biology has analysed the plant’s essential oils and volatile compounds. A test of the plant’s cancer prevention properties is also planned. The Norwegian Crop Research Institute, Planteforsk, is working on cultivating the plant, while Norwegian companies are trying to develop new dietary supplements containing roseroot.

The list of roseroot’s beneficial qualities is long: it is thought to improve memory and help with the way the body manages stress. Some of its compounds benefit the heart by reducing the levels of stress hormones in the blood. Roseroot may also stabilize blood pressure, as well as blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It is also thought to be a strong antioxidant that might act to prevent cancer. Last but not least, roseroot appears to be a libido booster – a kind of natural Viagra – that works for both men and women.

With such a stellar list of properties, roseroot looks to challenge ginseng on the world market as a health product and dietary supplement, especially since roseroot appears to have no unwanted side-effects. Ginseng, in contrast, may cause constipation or nausea. And roseroot ranks far higher than ginseng when evaluated as a plant with adaptogen effects, or a plant that responds to the body’s needs. Only eleven such plant species are known from around the world, and only roseroot and two others – schizandra and Russian root – exhibit all the characteristics that define adaptogens.

Norway is in a unique position to produce the raw materials for roseroot products because of the country’s particularly good growing conditions, and the fact that the plant grows wild in most parts of Norway. Because roseroot thrives in cool and humid coastal and mountainous climates, Norway could have a competitive edge in roseroot product development, he says. Roseroot also grows in other northern countries, and in mountainous areas further south. Currently, researchers from Norway, Russia, and Finland have joined forces to compare the quality of roseroot from the three countries.

Thomas Evensen | alfa
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