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.
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.
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.