Rhodiola, also known as Rhodiola rosea, is a medicinal plant that’s been used for hundreds of years to treat various ailments and promote general well-being. You can find rhodiola root tea, as well as rhodiola powder and rhodiola capsules. Modern research points to rhodiola being an effective natural remedy for depression comparable to pharmaceutical drugs. It may help counter stress, fatigue, and anxiety disorders while providing protective health benefits.
1. Helps Fight Stress and Fatigue
For occasional stress and fatigue, rhodiola may help. Rhodiola is an adaptogen, which is a type of herb that helps the body maintain homeostasis in the face of stress. In fact, it can improve the body’s resilience to stress, increase physical performance and endurance, and boost mental clarity.
2. May Improve Symptoms of Anxiety
In a small study, 10 participants with generalized anxiety disorder were given 340 mg of rhodiola every day. After 10 weeks, all participants given rhodiola had lower anxiety scores than at the start of the trial. As an adaptogen, rhodiola helps the nervous system stay out of “fight or flight” mode. In animal models, rhodiola has been shown to suppress the release of the stress hormone cortisol. By helping keep cortisol levels under control, rhodiola may help anyone with mild stress to severe anxiety cope with their symptoms.
3. Enhances Brain Function
Research studies have looked at the effect of rhodiola on the stress-impaired brain. When the body is in “fight or flight” mode, physical senses are sharpened, but cognitive functions can be compromised by high cortisol levels, causing brain fog and short-term memory loss. In a 28-day study, 576 mg of rhodiola extract per day was found to increase concentration and attention span, as well as cognitive performance.
4. Lowers High Blood Pressure and Protects Heart Health
Besides lowering stress, it seems rhodiola can also help by lowering blood pressure. When blood pressure becomes too high because of arterial plaque, it can put you at risk for heart disease. While research hasn’t been conducted on human patients, rats with hypertension showed reductions in blood pressure with rhodiola intervention. Rhodiola has even been shown in animal models to protect the heart against stress-induced damage. Rhodiola also increases cardiac output, which is the amount of blood pumped by the heart per minute.
While more research is needed, data from animals suggests that rhodiola has several heart-protective benefits. These benefits could potentially benefit athletic performance, as well as play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease.
5. Promotes Metabolic Health
Research shows that rhodiola has antidiabetic effects that promote metabolic health. According to a recent publication in Scientific Reports, rhodiola has the ability to lower blood sugar and insulin resistance. High blood sugar and high insulin resistance are some of the major markers of prediabetes and diabetes. By supporting the health and integrity of metabolic pathways, supplementing with rhodiola regularly could help prevent metabolic disorders.
6. Improves Exercise Endurance
When healthy volunteers took a four-week course of daily rhodiola supplements, they performed at a higher physical capacity by the end of treatment. The regimen was 200 mg of rhodiola per day, and it was linked to longer exercise endurance, faster movements, and quicker reaction times.
Rhodiola Dosage and Side Effects
Rhodiola is best taken in doses of 100 to 300 mg daily. Always adhere to the recommendation on your product’s label because some supplements can be more concentrated. Side effects of rhodiola can include dizziness, insomnia, jitteriness, and dry mouth. While rhodiola has been used in studies lasting 12 weeks, the safety of long-term use of rhodiola isn’t well known. If you’re having any adverse effects of taking rhodiola, discontinue taking it. Before taking rhodiola, check with your prescriber if you’re taking any medications, including medicine for diabetes and blood pressure, as there could be interactions.
Rhodiola Health Benefits
The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and stress-fighting actions of rhodiola make it beneficial for your health in various ways. There’s still a lot for modern science to learn about this herb, but it has a long history of medicinal use in Scandinavia and Russia. From what’s known so far, rhodiola can help counter the effects of stress on both the mind and body; it increases mental attention and focus, while improving physical endurance. It also helps protect your heart and metabolic health while potentially relieving anxiety symptoms.
It’s worth noting that even natural substances can sometimes produce negative effects. To ensure your safety, it’s critical to consult with a healthcare professional before using herbal products or other supplements, especially if you have any medical conditions, are taking other medications or supplements, or are pregnant.
- “Rhodiola rosea: A Versatile Adaptogen” by Farhath Khanum, Amarinder Singh Bawa and Brahm Singh, 20 November 2006, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety.
- “A Pilot Study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax®) for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)” by Alexander Bystritsky, Lauren Kerwin and Jamie D. Feusner, 8 March 2008, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
- “The Adaptogens Rhodiola and Schizandra Modify the Response to Immobilization Stress in Rabbits by Suppressing the Increase of Phosphorylated Stress-activated Protein Kinase, Nitric Oxide and Cortisol” by Alexander Panossian, Marina Hambardzumyan, Areg Hovhanissyan and Georg Wikman, 16 February 2007, Drug Target Insights.
- “A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study of the Standardised Extract SHR-5 of the Roots of Rhodiola rosea in the Treatment of Subjects with Stress-Related Fatigue” by Erik M. G. Olsson, Bo von Schéele and Alexander G. Panossian, February 2009, Planta Medica.
- “Rhodiola-Water Extract Induces β-endorphin Secretion to Lower Blood Pressure in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats” by Wei-Jing Lee, Hsien-Hui Chung, Yung-Ze Cheng, Hung Jung Lin and Juei-Tang Cheng, 28 November 2012, Phytotherapy Research.
- “The cardioprotective and antiadrenergic activity of an extract of Rhodiola rosea in stress” by L V Maslova, B Iu Kondrat’ev, L N Maslov and Iu B Lishmanov, 1994, Eksp Klin Farmakol.
- “Increase of myocardial performance by Rhodiola–ethanol extract in diabetic rats” by Yung-Ze Cheng, Li-Jen Chen, Wei-Jing Lee, Mei-Fen Chen, Hung Jung Lin and Juei-Tang Cheng, 29 August 2012, Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
- “The impact of Rhodiola rosea on biomarkers of diabetes, inflammation, and microbiota in a leptin receptor-knockout mouse model” byMahtab Jafari, Jasmin Grace Juanson Arabit, Robert Courville, Dara Kiani, John M. Chaston, Cindy Duy Nguyen, Nilamani Jena, Zhong-Ying Liu, Prasanthi Tata and Richard A. Van Etten, 22 June 2022, Scientific Reports.
- “Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance” by Katrien De Bock, Bert O Eijnde, Monique Ramaekers and Peter Hespel, June 2004, International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, it is important to consult with a qualified healthcare provider. This article is not intended to provide medical advice.