Maral root (Leuzea carthamoides, Rhaponticum carthamoides, Stemmacantha carthamoides)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
1-Beta-hydroxymakisterone, 3',4',5,7-pentahydroxy-6-methoxyflavonol (patuletin), 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid (protocatechuic acid), 4',5,7-trihydroxy-6-methoxyflavone (hispidulin), 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, 5,7,3',4'-tetrahydroxyflavanone (eriodictyol), 6-hydroxykaempferol-7-(6"-acetyl-beta-glucopyranoside), 6-hydroxykaempferol-7-O-(6''-O-acetyl-beta-D-glucopyranoside), 14-epi-ponasterone-A22 glucoside, 15-hydroxyponasterone A, 20-hydroxyecdysone, 20,22-acetonides of inokosterone and integristerone A, 24(28)-dehydro-makisterone A, ajugasterone, ajugasterone C, aplotaxene, carthamoleusterone, Cnicus carthamoides, cynaropicrin, cyperene, dehydroxymakisterone, (E)-1-[5-(hept-5-en-1,3-diynyl)-2-thienyl]ethan-1,2-diol, E-3,3-dimethoxy-4,4dihydroxystilbene, ecdisten, ecdysten, ecdysteroids, ecdysterone, eriodictyol, eriodictyol-7-beta-glycopyranoside, geraniol, hispidulin, hydroxyponasterone A 22-deoxy-28-hydroxymakisterone, integristerone A, isorhamnoside-rhamnoside, Leuzea carthamoides, linalool, makisterone C, N-feruloylserotonins, norsesquiterpene-13-norcypera-1(5),11(12)-diene, parkeyl acetate, patuletin, p-caryophyllene, protocatechuic acid, quercetin-5-O-galactoside, Rhaponticum carthamoides, Stemmacantha carthamoides, thiophene polyine (E)-2-[5-(hept-5-en-1,3-diynyl)-thien-2-yl]-ethan-1,2-diol.
Combination product examples: Admax® (ethanol/water extracts of dried roots of Leuzea carthamoides (maral root), Rhodiola rosea, Eleutherococcus senticosus, and fruit of Schisandra chinensis).
Note: The maral plant is called by at least three scientific names: Leuzea carthamoides, Rhaponticum carthamoides, and Stemmacantha carthamoides. Leuzea carthamoides will be used in this summary, in most cases.
The maral plant (Leuzea carthamoides, also known as Rhaponticum carthamoides and Stemmacantha carthamoides) is a perennial herb native to Siberia. Its name was derived from the maral deer that commonly ate its roots to gain strength during mating season.
Although more than 100 active compounds have been found in different parts of the maral plant, its most common extract, ecdysteroids, such as ecdysten, are taken from the root.
Traditionally, maral root has been used to provide relief from overstrained muscles, fatigue from overwork, and weakness from illness. In particular, Russian, Eastern European, and Chinese athletes have used maral root extracts to improve recovery time following intense training, rapidly build muscle mass, and increase strength.
Currently, there is little clinical evidence on the use of maral root for the treatment of any medical condition in humans. Additional studies are needed to confirm any of its proposed health benefits.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Preliminary evidence suggests that maral root may decrease symptoms of depression. Additional research is needed in this area.
Enhanced muscle mass / strength
Preliminary results suggest that maral root may increase muscle mass and the ability to perform work. In athletes, it may also improve recovery time following training. Additional research is needed in this area.
Limited research suggests that maral root may increase levels of various immune system compounds in athletes and patients with ovarian cancer. Further research is required before conclusions can be made.
Parasite infection (giardiasis)
Preliminary evidence suggests that maral root may decrease symptoms of giardiasis (parasitic infection commonly associated with diarrhea). Additional research is needed in this area.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Adaptogen, alcohol dependence, antiaging, antiarrhythmic, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, anxiety/stress, blood thinner, body building, breast cancer, cancer, cardiotonic, erectile dysfunction, estrogenic effects, fatigue, high blood pressure, hormone imbalances, infertility (male), ischemic stroke, memory, ovarian cancer, sexual dysfunction.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
For depression, four ounces of maral root has been taken by mouth 4-5 times daily for two months or longer.
For giardiasis (parasitic infection commonly associated with diarrhea), five milligrams of ecdysten has been taken by mouth three or four times daily for 10 days.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for maral root in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to maral root (Leuzea carthamoides), its constituents, or members of the Asteraceae family.
Side Effects and Warnings
Information on the safety, efficacy, or side effects of maral root is limited to observations from traditional medicine usage or expert opinions. Additional research is needed in these areas.
Maral root may cause an adverse skin reaction following sun exposure.
Maral root may affect the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that may affect the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Use cautiously in combination with antidepressants, due to its potential to diminish depressive symptoms.
Use cautiously in combination with immunosuppressants (compounds that diminish the activity of the immune system), as it may stimulate the immune system.
Use cautiously in obese persons or in combination with weight loss supplements, due to a potential to increase muscle mass, organ weight, and body weight.
Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available safety information.
Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to maral root (Leuzea carthamoides), its constituents, or members of the Asteraceae family.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Maral root is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Preliminary studies have examined the potential toxic effects of maral root on embryos. Further details are lacking.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Maral root may affect the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
Maral root may interact with anabolic agents, antianxiety drugs, antibiotics, anticancer agents, antidepressants, antifungals, antiparasitics, antiulcer agents, cardiovascular agents, drugs that affect the immune system, erectile dysfunction agents, hormonal agents, performance-enhancing agents, and weight loss agents.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Maral root may affect the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
Maral root may interact with anabolics, antibacterials, anticancer agents, antidepressants, antifungals, antioxidants, antiparasitics, antiulcer herbs and supplements, antianxiety herbs and supplements, cardiovascular herbs and supplements, erectile dysfunction herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements that affect the immune system, hormonal herbs and supplements, performance-enhancing agents, and weight loss agents.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Amosova EN, Zueva EP, Razina TG, et al. The search for new anti-ulcer agents from plants in Siberia and the Far East. Eksp Klin Farmakol 1998;61(6):31-35. View Abstract
Azizov AP, Seifulla RD. The effect of elton, leveton, fitoton and adapton on the work capacity of experimental animals. Eksp Klin Farmakol 1998;61(3):61-63. View Abstract
Azizov AP, Seifulla RD, Chubarova AV. Effects of leuzea tincture and leveton on humoral immunity of athletes. Eksp Klin Farmakol 1997;60(6):47-48. View Abstract
Budesinsky M, Vokac K, Harmatha J, et al. Additional minor ecdysteroid components of Leuzea carthamoides. Steroids 2008;73(5):502-514. View Abstract
Chobot V, Vytlacilova J, Kubicova L, et al. Phototoxic activity of a thiophene polyacetylene from Leuzea carthamoides. Fitoterapia 2006;77(3):194-198. View Abstract
Gaube F, Wolfl S, Pusch L, et al. Effects of Leuzea carthamoides on human breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells determined by gene expression profiling and functional assays. Planta Med 2008;74(14):1701-1708. View Abstract
Kokoska L, Janovska D. Chemistry and pharmacology of Rhaponticum carthamoides: a review. Phytochemistry 2009;70(7):842-855. View Abstract
Kokoska L, Polesny Z, Rada V, et al. Screening of some Siberian medicinal plants for antimicrobial activity. J Ethnopharmacol 2002;82(1):51-53. View Abstract
Koleckar V, Brojerova E, Rehakova Z, et al. In vitro antiplatelet activity of flavonoids from Leuzea carthamoides. Drug Chem Toxicol 2008;31(1):27-35. View Abstract
Koleckar V, Opletal L, Brojerova E, et al. Evaluation of natural antioxidants of Leuzea carthamoides as a result of a screening study of 88 plant extracts from the European Asteraceae and Cichoriaceae. J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem 2008;23(2):218-224. View Abstract
Kormosh N, Laktionov K, Antoshechkina M. Effect of a combination of extract from several plants on cell-mediated and humoral immunity of patients with advanced ovarian cancer. Phytother Res 2006;20(5):424-425. View Abstract
Kosar K, Opletal L, Vokac K, et al. Embryotoxicity of 20-hydroxyecdysone and polypodine B from Leuzea carthamoides DC. Pharmazie 1997;52(5):406-407. View Abstract
Maslov LN, Guzarova NV. Cardioprotective and antiarrhythmic properties of preparations from Leuzea carthamoides, Aralia mandshurica, and Eleutherococcus senticosus. Eksp Klin Farmakol 2007;70(6):48-54. View Abstract
Mirzaev IuR, Syrov VN, Khrushev SA, et al. Effect of ecdystene on parameters of the sexual function under experimental and clinical conditions. Eksp Klin Farmakol 2000;63(4):35-37. View Abstract
Slama K, Koudela K, Tenora J, et al. Insect hormones in vertebrates: anabolic effects of 20-hydroxyecdysone in Japanese quail. Experientia 1996;52(7):702-706. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017