Anti-inflammatory activity of Rhodiola rosea – “a second-generation adaptogen”

Rhodiola rosea (golden root), a unique phytoadaptogen grown in high-altitude regions has gained attention for its various therapeutic properties. In India, this plant is found in the Himalayan belt and has not been completely explored for its beneficial health effects. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the anti-inflammatory efficacy of the tincture extract of Rhodiola rosea roots (RTE). The anti-inflammatory activity was determined through carrageenan-induced paw oedema, formaldehyde-induced arthritis and nystatin-induced paw oedema in rat model. The tincture extract exhibited inhibitory effect against acute and subacute inflammation at a dose of 250 mg/kg body weight. Inhibition of nystatin-induced oedema was also observed in a dose-dependent manner. The in vitro inhibitory effects of the tincture extract from R. rosea roots was evaluated against the enzymes relating to inflammation. The enzymes include cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and Phospholipase A2 (PLA2). The extract showed varying inhibitory activities against these enzymes depending on the concentrations. A potent inhibition was observed against Cox-2 and PLA2. Inhibition of nystatin induced oedema and phospholipase A2 suggested that membrane stabilization could be the most probable mechanism of action of RTE in anti-inflammation. The findings in this study may provide the use of R. rosea root extract in the treatment of inflammatory conditions.