Most of the world’s supply of Rhodiola rosea comes from wild fields in the mountains of Russian Siberia and northern China. In the wild, these plants can take decades to grow, and they are harvested without much thought given to sustainability of the species. At least in Russia, they are “red listed” (requiring permits) but of course there is also quite a black market there due to their value. Unfortunately, there is no such protection in China, and often times when sold as “rhodiola” they may actually be species other than Rhodiola rosea. Certainly there are many additional concerns for cleanliness, purity, and quality, especially from China.
In 2009, as an experiment, Dr. Petra Illig decided to try to grow Rhodiola rosea in her front yard in Anchorage, to see how they might grow in Alaskan farms. To her delight they did very well, and she started 100,000 seedlings over the next two winters. She convinced a few farmers to put them in their fields and when it was clear that the plants were loving it, she started a farmer’s co-op to start an agricultural industry in Alaska. However, since there was no instruction book as to how to do this, much had to be learned the hard way. Fortunately, the plants are extremely hardy and forgiving as long as the winters are cold and the summers not too hot or dry.
For one, it takes Rhodiola rosea at least five years in carefully tended fields to reach the state of maturity required to produce potent rosavin and saldiroside levels at the same concentrations as is found in mature wild roots. For another, it takes a lot of hand weeding, as the plants do not grow well when crowded out by local weeds. Please remember that the natural environment (niche) for Rhodiola rosea is high in cold mountains where other plants simply cannot grow. Therefore, when they are brought down to elevations where people live and farm, local weeds can easily crowd them out and stunt their root development. And of course, one cannot use any form of pesticide and herbicides as they must remain uncontaminated by non-organic chemicals. Fortunately, moose don’t like to eat them, and there have been no other pests associated with Alaskan rhodiola crops.
We have now had a few years of harvest experience, and are proud that that we are able to produce Rhodiola rosea roots in our pristine Alaskan soils on par with roots from wild harvest. Since our farmers operate ethically and organically, we also know that we are producing the highest quality product in a sustainable manner. Most importantly, as the world demand for rhodiola rosea grows, we are able to alleviate the stress of this threatened species in the wild by supplying the finest cultivated Rhodiola rosea on the planet. And, best of all, it’s made in the USA!
When you buy Alaskan grown Rhodiola rosea products, you not only know that you are getting the freshest and highest quality possible, but you are also supporting Alaskan farmers.