Top secret plant found in Russia

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Top Secret Plant Found in Russia

Was this plant a cold war military secret? Believe it or not, yes, and now it's being grown by a farmers collective right here in the United States.

Native to Siberia, the so-called "Golden Root" is said to have a whole slew of health benefits. It's used in traditional Asian teas and has long been thought useful in treating depression, to improve endurance and even as an aphrodisiac.

But during the Cold War, Petra Illig, a doctor who founded the collective told "Atlas Obscura" the Kremlin considered Golden Root a military secret. Illig believes it was used to improve the physical and mental endurance of soldiers and athletes and she claims it was also tested on Soviet cosmonauts.

Native to Siberia's Altai mountain ranges, Golden Root is right at home in the permafrost of Alaska, where the farmers collective is located.

Golden Root has not been approved by the FDA for any use, but demand is growing and it could become a money crop for the state in the future.

Click through the slideshow below for more photos of cool plants:
Plants are awesome (golden root up front)
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Top secret plant found in Russia
(Photo via Shutterstock)

Roseroot, Golden root or Aaron's rod (Rhodiola rosea), Crassulaceae.

(Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

Roseroot or golden root (Rhodiola rosea), Crassulaceae.

(Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

A Thread-leaved Sundew sits on display at a presentation of carnivorous plants at the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden on July 20, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Carnivorous plants derive most of their nutrients by consuming animals, most commonly flying, foraging, or crawling insects, and have adapted to grow in places where the soil does not contain enough nutrients for them to survive.

(Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

The Corpse Flower or Amorphophallus titanium flowers in the Botanical Gardens of Copenhagen, Friday July 11, 2014. The plant, which flowered two years ago, is 191 cm high with a diameter of 95 cm.

(AP Photo/POLFOTO, Rasmus Flindt Pedersen) 

Elephant foot yam, Whitespot giant arum or Stink lily (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius), Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia, Southeast Asia

(Photo by Bernd Mehmen, Getty Images)

A Dracunculus Vulgaris lily is seen at the Wellington Botanic Garden in Wellington on October 12, 2012. A 'grotesque' plant that mimics the smell of rotting flesh to attract flies has gone on display in Wellington's Botanic Gardens.

(Photo credit Marty Melville/AFP/GettyImages)

A Tropical Pitcher Plant at the Auckland Domain Wintergardens on June 16, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. The Winter Garden at the Auckland Domain was designed in the early 1900s in the style of the famous English partnership of Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jeckyll. It was officially opened in 1913.

(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

(Photo via Shutterstock)
(Photo via Getty)

Edible Witches Butter Jelly Fungus, Dacrymyces palmatus, sometimes added to soups. Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

(Photo by Ed Reschke, Getty Images)

A picture shows the Dragon Blood tree on the virtually untouched Yemeni Island of Socotra, a site of global importance for biodiversity conservation, located in the northwestern Indian Ocean, some 350km south of the Arabian Peninsula on March 27, 2008. Socotra is the main island of an archipelago of the same name, sometimes referred to as 'the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.' The island is historically famous for its unique and spectacular vegetation -- botanists rank the flora of Socotra among the ten most endangered island flora in the world -- and now the opening of an airport in 1999 and other infrastructure developments are turning Socotra into a possible off-beat eco-tourist destination. The Dragon Blood tree is unique to the island.

(Photo credit Khaled Fazaa, AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Six-month-old Sanne Timmerman lies on the leaf of a giant water lily (Victoria Amazonica) at Diergaarde Blijdorp, also known as Rotterdam Zoo, Netherlands, Wednesday Sept. 2, 2009. The zoo organised the event for parents to take pictures of their children on the leaves which can grow up to 3 meters (10 feet) in diameter and can easily support a weight of 15 kilograms or 33 pounds.

(AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

An utricularia during the opening of the exhibition of carnivorous plants at La Reserva biopark in the municipality of Cota, outskirts of Bogota, on January 13, 2012.

(Photo credit Guillermo Legaria, AFP/Getty Images)

A Nepenthes truncata is part of the Petal Madness exhibition at the Quito Botanical Garden in Quito, Ecuador, Friday, May 18, 2012. Ecuador is recognized worldwide for their diversity of flower species known to be home to hundreds of orchid genres.

(AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

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