Rhodiola Extract for Stress Levels & Many Other Benefits
The beautiful succulent Rhodiola “Rose of Heaven” is an adaptogenic herb known to relieve stress, fatigue, depression, and helps you improve your brain functions and overall health.
Fortunately, this great herb comes in a supplement form that helps us get all of the benefits. And, as a bonus, if you grow this plant, it's as beautiful as it is helpful (yes, you can grow it indoors).
The Lovely Rhodiola – What is it?
The Rhodiolarosea plant is also known as Arctic root or golden root. It's a beautiful succulent that produces a yellow-golden top as it grows. Currently, it's favored by succulent collectors for its brilliant foliage. As part of the stonecrop family native to the Arctic regions of North America, Europe, and Asia, it prefers cool weather and grows abundantly in the summer.
In Scandinavia and northern Russian communities, Rhodiola has been a stimulant herb for centuries. It’s often used throughout the winter to help fight off the winter chill and decrease chances of getting sick.
Several studies show that this herb helps promote balance, reduce stress, increase endurance, and improved immune function – more on that below. Rhodiola works with the body to help restore balance and make people feel better.
How Rhodiola Works as an Adaptogenic Herb
Rhodiola contains two primary active ingredients, rosavin and salidroside, among it’s over 140 identified active ingredients. Both of these components have actively been researched to show they help the body. Mainly salidroside has been studied as an extract with great success. We have links to several of the studies below.
As trade progressed south of Russia into India, the benefits of Rhodiola were combined with ashwagandha. Both are adaptogenic herbs that are known to help improve memory and mood, and they work exceptionally well together. Ashwagandha and Rhodiola enhance the benefits and risks of each other. Primarily, taking both together may lower blood pressure significantly, so they should not be used by people with current low blood pressure.
Rhodiola Side Effects & Dosage
Researchers found the best Rhodiola extract dosage is between 400 and 600 mg per day for the optimum effect of helping to relieve stress, fatigue, and depression. If you're looking to help increase your performance during exercise or sports, taking 200 to 300 mg approximately an hour before exercise helps.
A few people may be allergic to Rhodiola and the Crassulaceae family of succulents. If you’re allergic to any of the plants within the stonecrop family, do not take this herb. You should use caution using Rhodiola if you have low blood pressure, are taking medications that lower blood sugar, or have autoimmune disorders.
The adaptogenic benefits of Rhodiola help the body work better and feel better. Primarily, its best use is when you are stressed, because it helps the body adapt to that stress without developing more complicated diseases and problems.
Rhodiola for Adrenal Fatigue
Several studies have shown Rhodiola can help improve mental performance, stress-induced fatigue, and reduce your stress symptoms. Although not directly related to adrenal fatigue, stress places a significant burden upon our adrenal system, and anything that reduces stress helps improve our adrenal functions.
Adaptogens, by their nature, help reduce stress upon the adrenal glands. Reducing stress reduces the amount of cortisol and endorphins within the body. By reducing stress hormones, the adrenal gland can reduce production, and the body can heal. Adaptogens do not work like medications, so you need to be patient for the effects.
Rhodiola for Brain Function
This herb can help reduce mental fatigue. One study of military cadets showed that Rhodiola improved the cadet's ability to think and do mental work after just five days. When used by physicians in a study on mental fatigue, after only two weeks, the physicians experienced a 20% increase in their ability to perform.
The phytonutrient salidroside has neuroprotective components that work with nitrous oxide pathways inhibition. It also helps stimulate the antioxidant enzymes thioredoxin, beta oxygenase-1, and per oxiredixin-1. These factors helped improve memory and protect the nerves of the brain from oxidative damage. One suspected cause of dementia and Alzheimer's disease is oxidative damage to nerves, which Rhodiola may help reduce.
Rhodiola for Controlling Diabetes
This herb is not a replacement for insulin, but it can help the body lower blood sugars naturally by increasing the ability of glucose transport in the blood.When combined with a diet that’s low in carbohydrates, Rhodiola can help keep your blood sugars and A1C lower. It may help reduce insulin resistance in some people.
Rhodiola for Blood Pressure
Although not a significant player in reducing blood pressure, it does have some MAO inhibitor ability, which can lower blood pressure. For people with low to moderate increases in your blood pressure, Rosalia might help bring you back into the normal range. However, people with normal to low blood pressure should avoid larger doses of Rhodiola to avoid their blood pressure going too low.
Rhodiola for Sleep
We might think that an herb that helps reduce our stress and gives us a little bit more energy and mental clarity would help keep us awake at night, but some evidence suggests the opposite. It’s because we have less stress and better activity during the day that our bodies are better able to relax at night and get a good night’s sleep.
Take this one with a grain of salt, however. There is no direct study showing that Rhodiola improves sleep quality or quantity, but one study does show salidroside has a sedative effect on rats. Because it is an adaptogen, it helps balance the rest of our lives, and sleep is one part of our life. Feeling better overall helps us get a better night's sleep.
Rhodiola for Weight Loss
The active component salidroside was extracted and shown in a study in Physiology and Behavior, indicating that this component helps reduce binge eating in rats. Researchers believe that the anti-stress properties may help people better control their choices when it comes to food. By having control over food choices, people can make better decisions, and this results in weight loss.
Additionally, Rhodiola has been shown to help improve exercise performance, reducing fatigue and perceived exertion during workouts. It also helped athletes exercise longer and better. Some trainers recommend a low dose of Rhodiola before workouts to feel better while working out and to work out longer.
Rhodiola for Anxiety & Depression
One of the primary benefits of Rhodiola is it helps reduce the stress in the body. People find improvements in their symptoms can include fatigue, exhaustion, and anxiety after taking Rhodiola for just three days. Some studies show that it can help balance the neurotransmitters in your brain, reducing depression and anxiety. People who take Rhodiola experienced significant improvements in depression, insomnia, and emotional fluctuations. One study compared the effects of Rhodiola to Zoloft, finding although the prescription medication had a more substantial impact, Rhodiola produced fewer side effects.
In one study, it inhibited the Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) A and B. These often are elevated in people with depression symptoms.
The herb Rhodiola is an excellent adaptogen to add to your supplement routine to give you a bit of an edge in reducing stress, improving mental and physical performance, and feeling better overall. It's been shown in studies to reduce anxiety and depression, mental fatigue, and stress in the body.
Many herbalists include Rhodiola in preparations because it works very well with other herbs, such as ashwagandha, and helps give a balancing effect to many compounded herbs. You won’t feel the effects of Rhodiola immediately or drastically; it works gently with the body to restore you to balance.
- Joshua Lovern