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Spain’s authorities have certified the entirety of Nektium’s Rhodiolife® Rhodiola rosea inventory as CITES-compliant. The approval means the Las Palmas-based company now has permits in place to commercialise large volumes of Rhodiolife® for customers within the EU and worldwide, both directly and via its network of global distributors.

In February, CITES incorporated Rhodiola spp. into Appendix II, its list of endangered species that are subject to international trade controls. On 20 May, the EU added Rhodiola spp. to Annex B, its equivalent list of species subject to restrictions. Subsequent to this, Nektium applied for trade permits for its existing Rhodiolife® stocks. These were granted on 16 June.

Bruno Berheide, Nektium’s Commercial & Partnerships Director, said: “Our approved Rhodiolife® stocks are sufficiently abundant to meet market demand for the foreseeable future. This is a major boost for the Rhodiola rosea category, which continues to thrive. At the same time, we are continuing to communicate regularly with our suppliers to guarantee compliant raw material from future harvests to ensure long-term continuity of supply.”

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna. Although a voluntary organisation, its decisions are considered binding for the 184 countries that are members.

Rhodiola rosea is one of nature’s most potent adaptogens, offering a range of scientifically proven cognitive health and sports performance benefits. The popularity of the plant, which grows wild in the remote Altai mountains in south and central Asia, has put pressure on supplies, leading to over-harvesting. Historically, Nektium has relied on wild Rhodiola rosea roots harvested using sustainable practices. But the company recently pioneered the large-scale cultivation of Rhodiola rosea at levels sufficient to satisfy market demand.

Nektium is taking steps to secure the long-term sustainability of its Rhodiolife® Rhodiola rosea extract by switching a significant proportion of its raw material sourcing to cultivated plants. The move – an industry first on such a large commercial scale – will reduce reliance on under-pressure wild-grown supplies.

Rhodiola rosea is one of the most powerful adaptogens found in nature, offering a range of cognitive and sports nutrition benefits. It grows wild in the remote Altai mountains in south and central Asia at the intersection of Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China. The rapidly growing market for adaptogens has increased demand for Rhodiola rosea roots, leading to concerns about over-harvesting.

In response, Nektium has worked with its long-standing local partner to establish fields that offer conditions optimal for the controlled growing of Rhodiola rosea. Together, they have converted barren land in undeveloped, unpopulated locations, ensuring minimal impact on communities close by. After a successful trial, initial exploratory fields were extended to provide full-scale sustainable cultivation sufficient to satisfy market demand at an industrial level.

The plant material used to grow Nektium’s cultivated Rhodiola rosea for Rhodiolife® was originally taken from wild-harvested Siberian plants growing near where the fields have been established. This means there are no physical or phytochemical differences between Rhodiolife® produced from wild-harvested roots and that produced from cultivated raw materials.

Debbie Thoma, Marketing Manager at Nektium, said: “As a responsible supplier of botanical ingredients, we are acutely aware of the importance of conservation, and this initiative will help to secure a sustainable and reliable source of Rhodiola rosea roots for years to come. In addition, cultivation in a controlled setting results in a more predictable and secure long-term raw material supply, which leads to improved price stability, superior safety, and more effective quality control. It also offers greater peace-of-mind around authenticity, which is especially significant in an age of widespread adulteration.”

Rhodiola rosea’s adaptogenic activity is usually attributed to four principal compounds – salidroside, rosin, rosavin, and rosarin – all found at high concentrations in the roots. Nektium’s Rhodiolife® standardised Rhodiola rosea ingredient was launched 25 years ago, since when it has earned a reputation as a high-quality and effective botanical extract. It is also available certified drug-free for athletes by the third-party Banned Substances Control Group.