What Are The Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea: A Comprehensive Guide to its Benefits and Uses

Rhodiola Rosea, also known as arctic root, golden root, or rose root, is a powerful adaptogenic herb with a rich history of use in traditional medicine. It has been used for centuries in Russia, Scandinavia, and other European countries to combat fatigue, enhance mental performance, and increase stress resistance. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the numerous health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea, its potential side effects, and how to use it effectively for optimal results.

Rhodiloa Background and Traditional Uses

Rhodiola Rosea is a perennial flowering plant that grows in cold regions and at high altitudes in Europe and Asia. Its roots contain more than 140 active ingredients, with the two most potent being rosavin and salidroside [1] . The herb has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including:

·        Anxiety

·        Fatigue

·        Depression

Today, Rhodiola Rosea is widely used as a dietary supplement for its numerous health benefits, including its potential to help with stress management, improve mental and physical performance, and protect against certain medical conditions [2] .

Potential Health Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea

1. Stress Reduction

Rhodiola Rosea has long been recognized as an adaptogen, a natural substance that enhances the body's resistance to stress in non-specific ways [3] . Consuming adaptogens during stressful times can help individuals cope better with stress and potentially reduce its negative effects on health. In animal models Rhodolia has been shown to slow the release of the stress hormone cortisol. 

Research has shown that Rhodiola Rosea can improve symptoms of burnout, which often occurs with chronic stress. In a study involving 118 people with stress-related burnout, participants who took 400 mg of Rhodiola Rosea daily for 12 weeks experienced significant improvements in stress and depression symptoms [4] . These improvements were observed during the first week and continued throughout the study.

2. Fatigue Management

Stress, anxiety, and inadequate sleep can contribute to fatigue, leading to feelings of both physical and mental tiredness. Due to its adaptogenic properties, taking Rhodiola Rosea is thought to help alleviate fatigue and improve overall well-being. [5] 

In a study involving 100 people with chronic fatigue symptoms, participants who received 400 mg of Rhodiola Rosea daily for eight weeks experienced significant improvements in stress symptoms, fatigue, quality of life, mood, and concentration [6]. These improvements were observed after just one week of treatment and continued to improve through the final week of the study.

3. Depression Management

Depression is a common but serious mental health condition that can negatively impact mood and behavior. It is thought to occur when neurotransmitters in the brain become imbalanced. Health professionals often prescribe antidepressants to help correct these chemical imbalances and reduce anxiety.

Research suggests that Rhodiola Rosea may have antidepressant properties, helping to balance neurotransmitters in the brain and improve mood. In a study comparing the effects of Rhodiola Rosea with a commonly prescribed antidepressant, sertraline (Zoloft), both treatments reduced symptoms of depression and generalized anxiety disorder. However, Rhodiola Rosea produced fewer side effects and was better tolerated [7] .

4. Cognitive Enhancement

Maintaining optimal cognitive function is crucial for overall health and well-being. Exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep are known ways to keep the brain functioning at its best [8]. Some supplements, such as Rhodiola Rosea, may also help improve cognitive function.

A review of 36 animal studies found that taking Rhodiola Rosea may improve learning and memory function^9^ . Additionally, a single dose of Rhodiola Rosea was found to increase memory and have an antidepressant effect on mice, backing up that it could be a valuable tool for enhancing cognition and combating mood disorders in humans [10] . There were also several studies that showed it improved both physical and mental performance.

5. Exercise Performance Enhancement

Rhodiola Rosea has been claimed to improve sports performance by reducing physical and mental fatigue and increasing antioxidant activity [11]. However, research results are mixed.

Some studies in medical journals have shown that Rhodiola Rosea can improve exercise performance by decreasing perceived exertion, or how hard participants felt their bodies were working [12] . On the other hand, other research has found no significant effect of Rhodiola Rosea on oxygen uptake, muscle performance, or immune system function in marathon athletes [13].

However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential effects of Rhodiola Rosea on exercise performance and to determine the most effective dosages and methods of administration.

6. Diabetes Management

Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar levels due to impaired insulin production or sensitivity. People with diabetes often use insulin injections or medications to increase insulin sensitivity and better manage their blood sugar levels.

Animal research suggests that Rhodiola Rosea may help improve diabetes management [14]. The salidroside compound in Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to protect against diabetes and diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease) in rats [15 ].

While these studies were conducted in rodents and their results cannot be directly applied to humans, they provide a compelling reason to investigate the effects of Rhodiola Rosea on diabetes management in human populations.

7. Anticancer Properties

Salidroside, a potent component of Rhodiola Rosea, has been investigated for its potential anticancer properties. Test-tube and animal studies have shown that salidroside may inhibit the growth of lung, bladder, gastric, and colon cancer cells [16, 17] .

As a result, researchers have suggested that Rhodiola Rosea may be useful in the treatment of various types of cancer. However, until human studies become available, the potential anticancer effects of Rhodiola Rosea remain unknown.

How to Take Rhodiola Rosea Supplements

Rhodiola Rosea is primarily available as an extract in capsules or tablets. It can also be consumed as a tea, but many people prefer the pill form for accurate dosing.

What to Look for in Rhodiola Rosea Supplements

Unfortunately, Rhodiola Rosea supplements are at risk of adulteration, or having their quality and purity compromised. [18] To avoid this, look for brands that carry the USP or NSF seal. These third-party, nonprofit organizations ensure that supplements contain the ingredients they claim and are free from impurities.

Additionally, check the supplement labels to ensure they contain a standardized amount of 3 percent rosavins and 1 percent salidrosides. These are the naturally occurring proportions of these compounds in Rhodiola Rosea root.

Rhodiola Rosea Dosage and Timing

It is best to take Rhodiola Rosea on an empty stomach, but not before bedtime, as it can have a slightly stimulating effect [19]. Most people take Rhodiola Rosea extract in capsules or tablets containing between 100 to 200 mg with 3 percent rosavins and 0.8-1 percent salidroside. Tinctures are also available.

According to current research findings, the arctic root may be effective for improving symptoms of stress, fatigue, or depression when taken in doses ranging from 400-600 mg per day, taken in single or divided doses [20,21].

Some studies have also shown that lower doses between 200 and 300 mg per day may help boost athletic performance. [22]

Rhodiola Rosea Side Effects

Current research suggests that Rhodiola Rosea extract is generally safe and well-tolerated, with few serious side effects reported in clinical studies [23] . However, the FDA has issued warning letters to some manufacturers of Rhodiola Rosea supplements regarding purity, branding, and unwarranted health claims [24] .

It is essential to remember that the FDA regulates dietary supplements as foods, not drugs, and does not allow supplements to claim to cure, treat, or prevent diseases [25] .

As with any dietary supplement, Rhodiola Rosea may have negative side effects, especially if it is impure or combined with other herbs. Rhodiola Rosea may also interact with other medications or aggravate existing medical conditions. Its effects have not been tested in children, pregnant individuals, or other vulnerable groups.

It is crucial to carefully evaluate the source of any herbal supplement, particularly when purchased online. Consult a medical professional to ensure that Rhodiola Rosea is safe and appropriate for your specific health condition.

Rhodoila Effectiveness Conclusion

Rhodiola Rosea is a powerful adaptogenic herb with a long history of traditional use in managing stress, fatigue, and depression. While research on its potential health benefits is still ongoing, current evidence suggests that Rhodiola Rosea may offer several advantages, such as stress reduction, enhanced cognitive function, and improved exercise performance. 

Generally speaking the most compelling evidence to support the use of rhodiola supplements is related to mental health conditions, anxiety disorders as an integrative health solution rather than a primary treatment. More research will be needed before rhodiola supplementation is considered widely for physical fatigue as it seems that a lot of the improvements will largely come down to the herbal supplements improving stress related fatigue and a mixed perception of rhodiola supplements resulting in correlative improvements.

However, it is essential to choose high-quality Rhodiola Rosea supplements from reputable sources and to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating Rhodiola extract into your wellness routine.

Rhodiola Supplement Efficacy Ratings

Stress - 4/5

Anxiety Disorders - 4/5

Mental Fatigue - 3/5

Physical Performance - 2/5

General Cognition - 2/5


1 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6208354/

2 - https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/rhodiola

3 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26502953

4 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5370380/

5 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28219059

6 - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711315000331

7 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6288277/

8 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4008828/

9 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26967223/

10 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6345333/

11 - https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/457918

12 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590898/

13 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5856322/

14 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29093682

15 - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464620305533

16 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31432697/

17 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6208354/

18 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26626192

19 - https://www.mhanational.org/sites/default/files/MHA_CAM.pdf

20 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6230218/

21 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22228617/

22 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590898/

23 - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13651501.2017.1417442

24 - https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/compliance-actions-and-activities/warning-letters

25 - https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/08/should-you-take-dietary-supplements

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