Maral root

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Commonly referred to as either Maral Root or Russian Leuzea, Rhaponticum carthamoides is a plant source of ecdysteroids that are thought to promote muscle growth in a non-hormonal manner. Applied human studies on this topic are lacking.

Maral root is most often used for

Summary

Rhaponticum carthamoides (Russian Leuzea or Maral Root) is an herb used in traditional Siberian and Russian medicine to bolster physical performance particularly after illness, in addition to being used as a general physical enhancement and male sexual enhancement aid. It is a source of molecules known as ecdysteroids which are hormones involved in the molting and maturation process in insects but have different actions when ingested by non-insect organisms. Despite being an 'insect steroid' of sorts, ecdysteroids have not been found to interact with estrogen or androgen receptors nor influence levels of these hormones in the body.

The major claim associated with Rhaponticum carthamoides is the enhancement of physical strength and muscle protein synthesis. The evidence to support these claims are limited to rodent evidence at this point in time and focuses mostly on the ecdysteroid known as 20-hydroxyecdysone (also known as ecdysterone). However, the limited evidence does suggest potential for oral supplementation to aid in both of these claims.

A major limitation of orally supplemented Rhaponticum carthamoides and 20-hydroxyecdysone, however, is rapid metabolism of 20-hydroxyecdysone in serum (with an 8 minute half-life or less) which results in limited amounts of the molecule reaching skeletal muscle. This has been circumvented in some animal studies where 20-hydroxyecdysone has been administered directly to the muscular area via injections, and it appears that in this manner it causes time-dependent increases in the size of the muscle in the applied area with limited peripheral actions (ie. other muscle groups may not experience muscle protein synthesis nor do organs appear to be affected).

Human studies are nonexistent at this point in time, but there does appear to be potential for this herb and the 20-hydroxyecdysone content to be an ergogenic aid pending future research, including research into preserving its stability in serum (to allow more to reach the target tissues).

What else is Maral root known as?
Note that Maral root is also known as:
  • Maral Root
  • Rhaponticum
  • Russian Leuzea
  • Leuzea Carthamoides
  • Rhaponticum Carthamoides
References
2.^Dushkin M, Khrapova M, Kovshik G, Chasovskikh M, Menshchikova E, Trufakin V, Shurlygina A, Vereschagin EEffects of rhaponticum carthamoides versus glycyrrhiza glabra and punica granatum extracts on metabolic syndrome signs in ratsBMC Complement Altern Med.(2014 Jan 20)
3.^Kokoska L, Janovska DChemistry and pharmacology of Rhaponticum carthamoides: a reviewPhytochemistry.(2009 May)
4.^Zhang XP, Zhang J, Dong M, Zhang ML, Huo CH, Shi QW, Gu YCChemical constituents of plants from the genus RhaponticumChem Biodivers.(2010 Mar)
7.^Budesínský M, Vokác K, Harmatha J, Cvacka JAdditional minor ecdysteroid components of Leuzea carthamoidesSteroids.(2008 May)
8.^Sovová H, Opletal L, Sajfrtová M, Bártlová MSupercritical fluid extraction of cynaropicrin and 20-hydroxyecdysone from Leuzea carthamoides DCJ Sep Sci.(2008 May)
9.^Sólyomváry A, Mervai Z, Molnár-Perl I, Boldizsár ISpecific hydrolysis and accumulation of antiproliferative lignans in the fruit of Leuzea carthamoides (Willd.) DCNat Prod Res.(2014 Jan 31)
10.^Harmatha J, Buděšínský M, Vokáč K, Pavlík M, Grüner K, Laudová VLignan Glucosides and Serotonin Phenylpropanoids from the Seeds of Leuzea carthamoidesCollect Czech Chem Commun.(2007)
11.^Hajdu Z, Varga E, Hohmann J, Kalman A, Argay G, Gunther GA stilbene from the roots of leuzea carthamoidesJ Nat Prod.(1998 Oct)
12.^Koleckar V, Opletal L, Brojerova E, Rehakova Z, Cervenka F, Kubikova K, Kuca K, Jun D, Polasek M, Kunes J, Jahodar LEvaluation of natural antioxidants of Leuzea carthamoides as a result of a screening study of 88 plant extracts from the European Asteraceae and CichoriaceaeJ Enzyme Inhib Med Chem.(2008 Apr)
13.^Stodulka P, Koleckar V, Jun D, Kuca K, Rehakova Z, Kubikova K, Jahodar L, Kunes J, Opletal LHigh-performance liquid chromatography analysis of four Leuzea carthamoides flavonoidsJ Chromatogr Sci.(2008 Feb)
14.^Koleckar V, Opletal L, Macakova K, Jahodar L, Jun D, Kunes J, Kuca KNew antioxidant flavonoid isolated from Leuzea carthamoidesJ Enzyme Inhib Med Chem.(2010 Feb)
15.^Koleckar V, Brojerova E, Rehakova Z, Kubikova K, Cervenka F, Kuca K, Jun D, Hronek M, Opletalova V, Opletal LIn vitro antiplatelet activity of flavonoids from Leuzea carthamoidesDrug Chem Toxicol.(2008)
16.^Pavlík M, Laudová V, Grüner K, Vokác K, Harmatha JHigh-performance liquid chromatographic analysis and separation of N-feruloylserotonin isomersJ Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci.(2002 Apr 25)
17.^Harmatha J, Buděšínský M, Vokáč K, Pavlík M, Grüner K, Laudová VLignan Glucosides and Serotonin Phenylpropanoids from the Seeds of Leuzea carthamoidesCollect Czech Chem Commun.(2007)
18.^Nosáĺ R, Perečko T, Jančinová V, Drábiková K, Harmatha J, Sviteková KNaturally appearing N-feruloylserotonin isomers suppress oxidative burst of human neutrophils at the protein kinase C levelPharmacol Rep.(2011)
19.^Biskup E, Gołębiowski M, Gniadecki R, Stepnowski P, Łojkowska ETriterpenoid α-amyrin stimulates proliferation of human keratinocytes but does not protect them against UVB damageActa Biochim Pol.(2012)
20.^Havlik J, Budesinsky M, Kloucek P, Kokoska L, Valterova I, Vasickova S, Zeleny VNorsesquiterpene hydrocarbon, chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of Rhaponticum carthamoides root essential oilPhytochemistry.(2009 Feb)
21.^Wang S, Liu S, Liu H, Wang J, Zhou S, Jiang RJ, Bendena WG, Li S20-hydroxyecdysone reduces insect food consumption resulting in fat body lipolysis during molting and pupationJ Mol Cell Biol.(2010 Jun)
22.^Kumpun S, Girault JP, Dinan L, Blais C, Maria A, Dauphin-Villemant C, Yingyongnarongkul B, Suksamrarn A, Lafont RThe metabolism of 20-hydroxyecdysone in mice: relevance to pharmacological effects and gene switch applications of ecdysteroidsJ Steroid Biochem Mol Biol.(2011 Aug)
23.^King-Jones K, Thummel CSNuclear receptors--a perspective from DrosophilaNat Rev Genet.(2005 Apr)
25.^Dzhukharova MK, Sakhibov AD, Kasymov B, Syrov VN, Takanaev AA, Saatov ZPharmacokinetics of ecdysterone in experimentsPharm Chem J.(1987 Oct)
26.^Yamamotová A, Pometlová M, Harmatha J, Rasková H, Rokyta RThe selective effect of N-feruloylserotonins isolated from Leuzea carthamoides on nociception and anxiety in ratsJ Ethnopharmacol.(2007 Jun 13)
27.^Kizelsztein P, Govorko D, Komarnytsky S, Evans A, Wang Z, Cefalu WT, Raskin I20-Hydroxyecdysone decreases weight and hyperglycemia in a diet-induced obesity mice modelAm J Physiol Endocrinol Metab.(2009 Mar)
28.^Wu C, Okar DA, Kang J, Lange AJReduction of hepatic glucose production as a therapeutic target in the treatment of diabetesCurr Drug Targets Immune Endocr Metabol Disord.(2005 Mar)
30.^Chen Q, Xia Y, Qiu ZEffect of ecdysterone on glucose metabolism in vitroLife Sci.(2006 Feb 2)
31.^Yamauchi T, Kamon J, Minokoshi Y, Ito Y, Waki H, Uchida S, Yamashita S, Noda M, Kita S, Ueki K, Eto K, Akanuma Y, Froguel P, Foufelle F, Ferre P, Carling D, Kimura S, Nagai R, Kahn BB, Kadowaki TAdiponectin stimulates glucose utilization and fatty-acid oxidation by activating AMP-activated protein kinaseNat Med.(2002 Nov)
32.^Hotta K, Funahashi T, Arita Y, Takahashi M, Matsuda M, Okamoto Y, Iwahashi H, Kuriyama H, Ouchi N, Maeda K, Nishida M, Kihara S, Sakai N, Nakajima T, Hasegawa K, Muraguchi M, Ohmoto Y, Nakamura T, Yamashita S, Hanafusa T, Matsuzawa YPlasma concentrations of a novel, adipose-specific protein, adiponectin, in type 2 diabetic patientsArterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol.(2000 Jun)
33.^Weyer C, Funahashi T, Tanaka S, Hotta K, Matsuzawa Y, Pratley RE, Tataranni PAHypoadiponectinemia in obesity and type 2 diabetes: close association with insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemiaJ Clin Endocrinol Metab.(2001 May)
34.^Seidlova-Wuttke D, Ehrhardt C, Wuttke WMetabolic effects of 20-OH-ecdysone in ovariectomized ratsJ Steroid Biochem Mol Biol.(2010 Apr)
35.^Gorelick-Feldman J, Maclean D, Ilic N, Poulev A, Lila MA, Cheng D, Raskin IPhytoecdysteroids increase protein synthesis in skeletal muscle cellsJ Agric Food Chem.(2008 May 28)
37.^Cheng DM, Kutzler LW, Boler DD, Drnevich J, Killefer J, Lila MAContinuous infusion of 20-hydroxyecdysone increased mass of triceps brachii in C57BL/6 micePhytother Res.(2013 Jan)
38.^Tóth N, Szabó A, Kacsala P, Héger J, Zádor E20-Hydroxyecdysone increases fiber size in a muscle-specific fashion in ratPhytomedicine.(2008 Sep)
39.^U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and ResearchGuidance for Industry: Estimating the Maximum Safe Starting Dose in Initial Clinical Trials for Therapeutics in Adult Healthy Volunteers.(2005 Jul)
42.^Nosal R, Perecko T, Jancinova V, Drabikova K, Harmatha J, Svitekova KSuppression of oxidative burst in human neutrophils with the naturally occurring serotonin derivative isomer from Leuzea carthamoidesNeuro Endocrinol Lett.(2010)
43.^Seidlova-Wuttke D, Christel D, Kapur P, Nguyen BT, Jarry H, Wuttke WBeta-ecdysone has bone protective but no estrogenic effects in ovariectomized ratsPhytomedicine.(2010 Sep)
46.^Frydrychová S, Opletal L, Macáková K, Lustyková A, Rozkot M, Lipenský JEffects of herbal preparation on libido and semen quality in boarsReprod Domest Anim.(2011 Aug)
47.^Matsuda H, Kawaba T, Yamamoto YPharmacological studies of insect metamorphotic steroidsNihon Yakurigaku Zasshi.(1970 Sep 20)