Rosavin is a compound found in the Rhodiola rosea plant. It is a glycoside compound, which means that it has sugar as one of its primary constituents. This compound is believed to produce an anti-depressant effect in humans, and at least one clinical trial supports this. Rosavin™ is also the brand name of a mood elevation and physical performance enhancement drug.
The Rhodiola rosea plant grows in northern climates and at high altitudes up to 7,480 feet (2,280 meters). This plant is most commonly found in Central Asia and Northern Europe, typically in mountainous regions. In Russia, the plant has long been used as a depression and stress treatment. Several studies indicate that the root of plant may elevate mood and increase energy levels. The effects are thought to be caused by maximizing serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, both of which contribute to overall mood enhancement.
Rosavin, along with the compounds rosarin, rosin, and salidroside, are believed to be the active ingredients in Rhodiola rosea. These glycoside compounds are often referred to as adaptogens, which is a term used to describe a compound that has a broad effect on the body's resistance to multiple stressors. Often, it is difficult to specify what exactly an adaptogen does, but at the very least it must conform to three standards.
First, it must be non-toxic to the body. Second, it must produce a resistance to multiple stressors. Third, it must normalize the body's physiology, regardless of the effect of the stressor. In other words, if a stressor increases energy levels, an adaptogen must lower them. If a stressor causes lethargy, an adaptogen must be energizing. Its goal is to normalize bodily function.
The drug known as Rosavin™ purportedly does just that, offering benefits such as maintenance of energy levels, improved endurance, and increased mental performance. This drug is produced only from the Siberian version of the Rhodiola rosea plant, and contains all four of the potentially active ingredients of the plant. It has been used in clinical case studies in the United States, although the results are not definitive.
There has been little research done on the side effects of rosavin, both the compound itself and the trademarked drug. Doses above 800 milligrams (mg) per day can cause irritability or insomnia, and there is some evidence to indicate that it is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). The effects of the compound on those with pre-existing conditions, such as pregnancy or illness, are unknown.