I received another email from one of our members, who managed to climb Mount Kinabalu on the 4th of July. Alison went to climb the summit with her family – her husband and two children. She did asked me about Rhodiola Rosea, few weeks before she climbed Mount Kinabalu, but I could not give her a good answer.
She went up to the peak – and prepared herself with Rhodiola Rosea one week before the climb – after Googling about the herb from the net. And the result was stunning. This is her email:
WE DID IT!! Thanks to our wonderful guide, Sapirin Sumping, I am happy to say that 3 out of our family of 4 made it to the summit on 4 July. My husband and 19 year old son who are both very fit, experienced headaches. The 16 year old who is less fit suffered severe AMS symptoms and stayed at Laban Rata while we climbed to the summit.
I had chosen to take Rhodiola Rosea (2 capsules daily for week before climb) and experienced NO AMS SYMPTOMS AT ALL. Thought this follow up might interest you and possibly your readers.
Thank you again for your informative newsletter. We will return to Sabah next year but not to climb the mountainâ€¦..once was enough!!
Well, congratulations and thank you for your feedback, Alison! I really appreciate what you have done for yourself and for other readers of this blog. After receiving your email last two days, I did some research on Rhodiola Rosea. As I am a practicing medical physician, I don’t like to endorse medication or supplement to the climbers, UNLESS I have a good and solid information about it and have a positive feedback (like the one that I received from you).
I did some Googling the past couple of days about Rhodiola Rosea and I found a very interesting new information about combating acute mountain sickness – without using paracetamol and ibuprofen. Although the result that I found were merely mixed (positive and negative), I guess it is no harm using Rhodiola Rosea as a supplement for preventing acute mountain sickness.
Rhodiola has been used by Tibetans as a traditional remedy for more than 1000 years. Today, it is popular around the world, used as an adaptogen. Adaptogens are defined as substances that have no toxicity or side effects at normal dosages and that non-specifically increases the body’s resistance to disease and to physical and chemical stresses.
Rhodiola has been used by Tibetan doctors in formulas to treat dysentery, back pain, lung inflammation, painful and irregular menstruation, leukorrhea, epidemic diseases, limb edema, traumatic injury, and to heal burns. According to Chinese interpretation, rhodiola can support vital energy (qi), help the body resist pathogens, enrich the blood, nourish the brain, improve intelligence, and preserve health.
Recently, various preparations of rhodiola, alone or compounded into prescriptions, have been produced and used in clinical practice to prevent and treat various diseases. The rhodiola preparations have been shown the following effects: to reinforce physical strength, enhance body endurance, compensate for low oxygen, relieve tiredness and weakness, improve efficiency of physical and mental work, treat cardiac and pulmonary diseases, and counteract side-effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancers.
In the clinical studies, rhodiola was evidently effective for treating weakness, poor appetite, heart palpitations, dizziness, chest distress and insomnia. The herb could also increase blood levels of hemoglobin and platelets and reduce the heart rate. After rhodiola was used to treat patients with coronary heart disease, attacks of angina pectoris were relieved along with the partial blood oxygen pressure of the arteries and arterial blood oxygen saturation was elevated.
One of the adaptogenic applications of rhodiola that has received considerable research attention is for aiding adaptation to high altitudes, thus, as a preventive and treatment for mountain sickness. Perhaps by related mechanisms, rhodiola has been shown to significantly aid athletic performance and to delay fatigue by improving oxygen utilization during exercise. Researchers speculate that rhodiola also helps reduce the stress that occurs secondary to exercise by regulating the parasympathetic nervous system, normalizing the body functions more rapidly after vigorous exercise.
So, if you plan to climb Mount Kinabalu next time, try Rhodiola Rosea as a supplement. It will then reduce the risk of you getting acute mountain sickness during your once a lifetime quest to the summit of Borneo.