By Mark Taylor
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Rhodiola Rosea?
- 2 Rhodiola Rosea Dosage
- 3 What Are The Top Benefits?
- 4 What Are The Potential Side Effects?
- 5 Supplementing Your Diet With Rhodiola Rosea
- 6 Stacking
- 7 Rhodiola Rosea Alternatives
- 8 Conclusion
- 9 Scientific & Reference Citations
What Is Rhodiola Rosea?
Rhodiola Rosea is a plant traditionally used in Chinese and Scandinavian medicine. The roots are dried and crushed to make infusions that help with stress management among other benefits.
As a supplement, Rhodiola Rosea keeps you alert, boosts your cognitive functions and makes you more resilient to stress and fatigue. Anyone who feels overwhelmed because of work, school or life-stress could benefit from taking a Rhodiola Rosea supplement.
The most interesting characteristic of this plant is that it is believed to work as an adaptogen. This means Rhodiola Rosea helps your system adapt to stress and fatigue. As a result, you become more resilient in difficult situations and can think clearly in situations that would otherwise be too stressful to handle.
This plant is sometimes referred to as rosenroot, arctic root or golden root. These names are actually used to refer to any species of Rhodiola that do not have the same properties as Rhodiola Rosea.
There haven’t been any conclusive studies on the adaptogen properties of this plant, but the popularity of Rhodiola Rosea in Scandinavian medicine indicates that it is an efficient remedy for individuals who live in extreme conditions. Rhodiola Rosea, whether you consume it as a tea or a supplement, could make you more resilient in challenging environments, including a stressful lifestyle1.
The exact functioning of Rhodiola Rosea is unknown. What we do know is that the roots of this plant are rich in phenols, flavonoids, quinones and alkaloids. The benefits of these different nutrients could be an indication of how Rhodiola Rosea supplements work:
- Phenols work as antioxidants and help you age in a healthy manner.
- Flavonoids are nutrients found in most fruits and vegetables. They could be the reason why a diet rich in fruits and vegetables significantly reduces your risks of developing cancer and cardiovascular disease2.
- Quinones are essential for cell health3.
- Alkaloids play an important part in supporting a healthy nervous system and also act as mild stimulants4.
Rhodiola Rosea Dosage
You can start seeing results with dosages as low as 50mg a day, but you will get optimal results by taking between 300 and 680mg a day5.
You will need to experiment with different doses and see what works best for you. A Reddit user reports taking 500mg in the morning and 250mg at lunch while another reports getting good results by taking 500mg a day along with other nootropics6.
You shouldn’t go over 680mg a day because higher doses aren’t believed to be more efficient. Besides, you will be more likely to experience nervousness and to disrupt your sleep pattern with a high dosage.
Things To Think About Before Taking Rhodiola
You should know that there haven’t been any studies on pregnant and breastfeeding women. You should avoid taking this supplement if you are pregnant or breastfeeding to avoid any complications.
Think of Rhodiola Rosea as a supplement that will help you get out of a funk. This would be a good option if you are showing classic symptoms of burnout. It will help you get your motivation back, you will be able to think more clearly and address your problems.
Taking Rhodiola Rosea in combination with a workout program and a plan to manage your stress or your busy schedule could be immensely beneficial.
However, taking Rhodiola Rosea to simply boost cognitive performance if you are not experiencing stress or fatigue would have few benefits. It is possible that you would see an improvement, but keep in mind that the main benefit of this supplement is to make you more resilient to stress and fatigue.
This supplement might not be an ideal option if you already take other stimulants. Consider reducing your caffeine intake and avoiding other stimulants to avoid experiencing negative side effects while you take Rhodiola Rosea.
What Are The Top Benefits?
You already know that Rhodiola Rosea roots contain alkaloids, which act as mild stimulants. This supplement will boost your energy levels and your mood, but the main benefits of Rhodiola Rosea can be observed on the long-term.
Benefits For Chronic Fatigue
A study followed 101 participants who experienced life-stress symptoms. These participants took a Rhodiola Rosea supplement and regularly filled out a detailed questionnaire to assess the progression of the symptoms linked to fatigue and stress7. This study found significant differences in how the participants were handling stress and chronic fatigue after a while. The participants also displayed a significant improvement in cognitive performance. It is unclear if Rhodiola Rosea actually boosts cognitive performance or if helping with fatigue and stress helped the participants recover a previous level of cognitive performance.
This study strongly suggests that this supplement would be beneficial for individuals who suffer from excessive stress and chronic fatigue, whether it is linked to specific events, a busy schedule or sleep problems.
Benefits For Depression
Another study looked at how Rhodiola Rosea helped individuals with mild to moderate depression symptoms. The participants reported a significant improvement in their symptoms, especially with insomnia and mood swings8.
The fact that Rhodiola Rosea is a traditional remedy used in Scandinavian medicine suggests that this could be an efficient way to fight off the symptoms of seasonal depression.
Benefits For Working Out
Taking Rhodiola Rosea will lead to higher kinase levels. This enzyme plays an important role in repairing muscle tissue, which means you will get better results from your workouts9. The positive impact of this supplement on stamina and resilience also makes Rhodiola Rosea a popular option among athletes. You will find that it is easier to focus on your workout and to stay motivated.
What Are The Potential Side Effects?
The general consensus is that Rhodiola Rosea is safe to take as long as you are not pregnant and breastfeeding. However, it is recommended to avoid taking this supplement for longer than ten weeks at a time since long-term side effects haven’t been studied1.
A reliable study found that this supplement doesn’t have any impact on blood pressure 2, but some sources mention side effects such as dry mouth, jitteriness, and sleep problems. You should be able to prevent getting jittery or experiencing insomnia by opting for a lower dosage and by not taking Rhodiola Rosea during the evening3.
Because this supplement can act as a mild stimulant, it would be best to avoid combining it with other stimulant and you should avoid it if you suffer from anxiety or bipolar disorder.
Supplementing Your Diet With Rhodiola Rosea
This is a supplement you should consider taking if you are going through stressful life events or experience chronic fatigue. You should try taking Rhodiola Rosea for a month and see if you notice an improvement in your symptoms.
Rhodiola Rosea will help you handle stress and fatigue. You should notice that your mind is sharper once the brain fog caused by stress and fatigue is lifted. This makes Rhodiola Rosea an interesting option if your performance at work or school is negatively impacted by insomnia or stress4.
It is best to take this supplement in the morning on an empty stomach. Remember that long-term side effects haven’t been studied, which is why it would be best to stop taking this supplement after ten weeks.
If you want to take Rhodiola Rosea to get more out of your workouts, take this supplement an hour before each workout session to help with building muscle tissue.
Rhodiola Rosea tea is a traditional Chinese remedy. You can purchase teabags or make your own if you can find roots.
If you find roots, dry them, ground them and let them steep. You should only need 5g of dried roots per cup of tea. You will get better results if you can let the dried roots steep for 4 hours, but be careful not to let the water get hotter than 85°F to avoid damaging some of the nutrients (source).
If you are unable to find teabags or roots, your best option is to purchase liquid Rhodiola Rosea extract. You can add two or three drops to a cup of green tea.
Side effects and counteractions associated with Rhodiola Rosea are very limited. This is good news since you can easily add this supplement to an existing stack or create a stack around Rhodiola Rosea.
The main thing to keep in mind when stacking is that Rhodiola Rosea can cause jitteriness, and sleep problems. Combining it with another nootropic that acts as a stimulant could worsen these side effects.
If you experience fatigue and depression symptoms, use this stack to get your energy back5:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Folic acid
- Rhodiola Rosea
This stack will help you manage stress symptoms (source):
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Siberian ginseng
You can add St. John’s wort to this stack if you tend to overeat because of stress. This supplement will help you manage your appetite.
Rhodiola Rosea Alternatives
Rhodiola Rosea is believed to be one of the best adaptogens. However, there are other options you might want to consider depending on what you need help with:
Lemon balm is also an adaptogen and this natural remedy is thought to help reduce panic attack as well.
If you would like to reduce your stress rather than adapting to it, L-tyrosine is a good option7.
Caffeine could be an interesting alternative if you want a stimulant that works on the short-term.
Fenugreek is another interesting alternative if you want to boost your mood, your cognitive function and your ability to exercise8.
If you experience more serious depression symptoms, medication like SSRIs might be a better approach.
Taking Rhodiola Rosea will make you more resilient to stressful situations. You will perform better under pressure and have the necessary energy and motivation to get your life back on the right track if you are currently experiencing stress or mild depression symptoms because of specific events.
Chronic fatigue is another thing this supplement can help you manage. However, keep in mind that it is unclear if you will get any benefits from taking Rhodiola Rosea if you do not experience stress and fatigue.
Scientific & Reference Citations