Similarities rhizome of Rhodiola and the seeds

Published: 2020-06-16 03:26:03
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Similarities and Differences: Rhodiola Rosea and Theobroma Cacao.
Botanical Names: Rhodiola Rosea L. and Theobroma Cacao L. (IPNI)
Common Names: Rhodiola: Rosenroot, Golden root, Aaron’s root (Heinrich 2018) Roseroot stonecrop (Hoffman 2003), Arctic root, Sedum roseum (Kress 2018). Cacao: Cocoa, Chocolate tree, Chocolate nut-tree (Kress 2018)
Families: Rhodiola: Crassulaceae (Heinrich 2018) Theobroma Cacao: Sterculiaceae (Kress 2018)
Parts Used: The root and rhizome of Rhodiola and the seeds of Theobroma cacao.
Botanical description, range and collection:
These two plants are very different in terms of botany, yet they share some similarities and may be used for similar indications, as this essay will show. Rhodiola is a dioecious perennial reaching 5-35 cm in height (Heinrich 2018). A succulent of the stonecrop family, it has blue-green leaves and clusters of small yellow flowers in late summer. It has a thick root with a rose-like scent (Herbarium 2018). Rhodiola grows easily in the cold regions of world; the Arctic, Central Asia, Scandinavia, Central Europe and the Rocky mountains (Heinrich 2018), however it is unsustainably harvested in the wild (Herbarium 2018).
Theobroma cacao is a tropical evergreen tree which grows to 12-16 feet with bright green lanceolate leaves and small red odourless flowers that only live for a day. The leaves never fall off, and so the tree displays leaves and fruit at all stages of development (Sacred Earth 2018) The large fruit is a capsule containing about 25 large seeds (Grieve 1931). It is indigenous to South America, and widely cultivated in the West Indies (Kress 2018).
Rhodiola root is harvested in the late autumn or early spring, 3-5 year old plants are most potent, and while it is easy to cultivate, wild sources are usually used and not generally harvested sustainably (Herbarium 2018). Cacao fruit is gathered in June and December (Grieve 1931).
Actions and Indications:
Rhodiola rosea is viewed primarily as an adaptogen, which is mainly due to its neuroprotective, cardioprotective, anti fatigue and anxiolytic qualities (Heinrich 2018). Theobroma cacao is not considered an adaptogen, yet it also has significant cardioprotective (Erdman 2008) and anti-fatigue effects (Sacred Earth 2018). Both Rhodiola and Cacao can be used short term to provide a quick boost of energy (Herbarium 2018).
Both Rhodiola (Heinrich 2018) and Cacao (Dinges 2006) can be used for depression and conditions of the nervous system. Rhodiola is indicated specifically for neurodegenerative diseases by improving memory, concentration, mood and focus (Herbarium 2018). Long term use is necessary in chronic conditions such as physical/mental exhaustion, poor memory and concentration. Rhodiola has significant CNS stimulating effects (Heinrich 2018). Theobroma cacao is also useful for enhancing cognition and cerebral blood flow (Dinges 2006).
Cacao is diuretic, stimulant and nutritive and, like Rhodiola, is indicated for low energy and exhaustion. It also helps with low libido, edema and PMS (Sacred Earth 2018). Cacao is specifically indicated for cardiovascular disease risk (Erdman 2008)
Herbal Constituents and pharmacology:
These two plants share many indications, yet the pathways of action are different. Theobroma Cacao contains compounds similar to the neurotransmitter Anandamide, which produces feelings of bliss and well being (Di Tomasio 1996). Phenylethylamine is a compound found in Cacao believed to provoke euphoria when someone falls in love (Sacred Earth 2018). The plant also contains methylxanthines and alkaloids which are hot water soluble, potent CNS stimulants. These share some structural similarity to endogenous adrenaline (epinephrine) (Ganora 2009). It also contains caffeine which is a CNS, cardiac and respiratory stimulant, as well as diuretic (Hoffman 2003). Its vasoconstricting qualities make caffeine useful for some types of migraine While caffeine increases mental clarity, its overuse often causes adrenal exhaustion. (Ganora 2009).
Theobromine (the precursor to caffeine) is diuretic, cardiac stimulant, vasodilator, CNS stimulant, smooth muscle relaxant, and toxic for dogs. The precursor constituent, theophylline, is also a cardiac stimulant, CNS stimulant, smooth muscle relaxant, and has been used to treat emphysema, COPD and bronchial spasm. (Ganora 2009). Theophylline, also found in coffee and tea, is used as an isolated compound, and indicated in reversible airway obstruction, particularly acute asthma. (Heinrich 2018).
Caffeic acid (also a phenylpropanoid or phenolic antioxidant) is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti carcinogenic (Ganora 2009). Cacao is highly nutritive, containing potassium, magnesium, vitamins ABCDE, Calcium, Iron, fats and amino acids. Cocoa is particularly rich in flavonoids known as flavanols. Several human dietary intervention trials with flavanol-containing cocoa products showed improvements in endothelial and platelet function, as well as blood pressure (Erdman 2008).
Rhodiola rosea root contains glycosides called rosavins (the phenylpropanoid glycosides rosavin, rosi

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