Leuzea carthamoides Leuzea carthamoides (also called Rhaponticum carthamoides) is a rare endemic plant belonging to the Composite family. It is a big herbal perennial, reaching 130 cm in height. Leuzea grows on the mountain slopes in a limited area of southern Siberia (Altai, Sayani).


Maral Root In the scientific literature maral root may be called Leuzea carthamoides or Rhaponticum carthamoides. In the 1995 compendium

Leuzea (=Rhaponticum) carthemoides D.C. or Maral root

It is a Siberian medicinal plant which is very popular in Eastern Europe and Russia as an adaptogen and is receiving wide attention recently in the west as a body building aid.

Scientific literature:

There are over 800 sites for this species on the internet and Sci finder lists over 100 published articles in scientific journals, mostly in Russian. The Russian literature about the plant is positive but unfortunately only four articles in internationally peer reviewed journals are available that might be acceptable to regulators in G8 countries.


It is reputed to have adaptogenic properties and is indicated for fatigue, memory loss, to improve physical strength and activity, for sexual dysfunction.


Roots are most commonly used and are prepared as an alcohol tincture, but tablets and drinks are also available.

On the plate must appear spots of cherry color on the level of aralozide spots in saparal. It is allowed to have additional spots both of cherry and other colors.


The main constitutent is 20 hydroxy -ecdysone which is found in leaf (0.01-0.1%), seed (2%) and root (0.1-0.2%). This is an insect hormone that is produced by a number of plants as a growth disrupting defence against insect herbivores. A second type of ecdysteroid, 24(24(l))[Z]-dehydroamarasterone B I has recently been isolated from seeds. There are a number of flavonoids and the plant also contains thiophenic polyynes that are characteristic of the Asteraceae.


The one peer reviewed international paper on biological activity shows that 20 hydroxy-ecdysone isolated from Leuzea and fed to quails increased the body mass in a dose dependent manner. The effects of the purified compound were similar to the effects of the compound administered as seed. Other Russian literature suggests that Leuzea extracts administered for 20 days increased treadmill work capacity of animals and the time of swimming to exhaustion. Three weeks of administration of Leuzea to adult humans undertaking aerobic training reduced body fat significantly. Other affects on the immune system are also reported.


Leuzea or Maral root is a promising plant which may have a large market opportunity.

Summary by

J.Arnason, PhD
Univ. of Ottawa
J. Thor Arnason
U. of Ottawa
for Andy One
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