Rhodiola Rosea is a traditional herb found in Europe and Asia. For centuries, places like Russia and some Scandinavian countries have used the extract for medicinal purposes. Research shows that the roots of this herb contain over 140 active ingredients. The two most potent ingredients are salidroside and rosavin. These ingredients deliver multiple medical benefits, and that’s why the extract is so popular in the dietary supplements market. It’s believed to be effective for treating conditions such as stress, headaches, anemia, depression, fatigue, anxiety, just to mention a few.
While Rhodiola Rosea has been around for centuries and is already widely used, it’s important to point out that clinical data on the herb is far from comprehensive. Some Rhodiola Rosea supplements make bold claims about different medical benefits, some of which are not even proven by any studies. This is part of the reason why some people buy and use these supplements only to end up with disappointments and frustrations because they didn’t get what was promised.
So, here are the proven health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea extract:
Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea Extract
- Decreases Stress
This is by far the most popular benefit of Rhodiola Rosea. The herb is known as an adaptogen, i.e., a compound that improves the body’s response or resistance to stress. Research shows that the use of adaptogens, especially in times of stress, helps to improve the situation. For instance, this study looked at the effects of Rhodiola Rosea on individuals with life-stress symptoms. The study involved 101 subjects who were given 200mg of Rhodiola Rosea twice per day for 4 weeks. The researchers noticed significant improvements as soon as 3 days into the study. The symptoms of stress improved significantly. The subjects were also less fatigued with reduced stress-related burnout.
Multiple trials have pointed out that Rhodiola Rosea is a potential treatment for stress and stress-induced heart problems, but they also report that additional research is necessary.
- Eases Depression
Studies show that that Rhodiola Rosea extract has antidepressant properties that can help relieve the symptoms of depression. The studies suggest that Rhodiola balances neurotransmitters in the brain to ease the symptoms of depression.
Several trials have proven the effectiveness of Rhodiola Rosea extract for treating mild to severe depression. However, the subjects involved had to use the extract for a considerably long period of between 6 to 12 weeks to get the desired results. Also, the impact was not as substantive as that of antidepressant drugs. For instance, one study compared the impact of Rhodiola Rosea to that of a prescription antidepressant called Sertraline. The researchers noticed that Sertraline had a more significant impact. However, Rhodiola was better tolerated with fewer side effects than the prescription drug. This means Rhodiola Rosea could be a better option for people with sensitive systems.
- Reduces Fatigue
Rhodiola Rosea can reduce fatigue among students and professionals. It can also help military personnel who are sleep-deprived. Some studies show that in addition to reducing fatigue, Rhodiola extract can boost the mental performance of overworked or tired individuals performing mental tasks like accounting.
Rhodiola Rosea is also believed to be effective for stress-related fatigue because it eases depression, stress, and anxiety. It also works relatively fast, with many people reporting improvements within a week of taking the extract.
- Improves Athletic Performance
Some Rhodiola Rosea extracts can boost athletic performance. Studies don’t know how exactly it does so, but it’s suggested that it reduces perceived exertion, which helps the subjects exercise better and longer.
While Rhodiola Rosea might improve athletic performance, it’s still not very reliable, especially if you want a significant impact. A few studies have also reported contradicting results. In summary, the impact of Rhodiola Rosea on athletic performance is inconclusive at best. Control your expectations if this is your primary goal.
- Boosts Brain Functions
Rhodiola Rosea can improve brain functions by reducing mental fatigue. In the process, it dramatically increases your productivity. In one trial, researchers investigated the effects of this extract on young and healthy physicians during night shifts. The researchers used several parameters, including concentration, short-term memory, and associative thinking, which were tested before and after the night shift. At the end of the study period, they observed statistically significant improvements among the subjects who were given Rhodiola Rosea.
Other studies have also shown that Rhodiola extract can reduce stress-induced mental fatigue and boost brain performance in students.
- Can Help with Diabetes
Animal studies show Rhodiola Rosea can control diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels. The trials show the extract helps to move glucose into cells. These studies reported very promising results, but it’s still unclear whether the same can be replicated in humans. We hope to see more studies on this in the future.
Other potential benefits of Rhodiola Rosea extract are:
- Can regulate cholesterol
- May help fight cancer of the colon, bladder, liver, and breast
- Can reduce eating disorders induced by stress
- May improve libido
Rhodiola Rosea Side Effects
Rhodiola Rosea is a safe, natural extract that’s well tolerated by most people. You have to be extremely sensitive to experience any adverse reactions. Some reactions may occur if you take the extract in high doses or for long periods. Some of the possible side effects are dizziness, excessive production of saliva, dry mouth, jitteriness, sleep problems, stomach upset, headaches, and drowsiness.
You should stick to the recommended dosages to avoid these side effects.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take Rhodiola Rosea supplements without a doctor’s approval. Individuals with preexisting medical conditions should also consult licensed physicians before taking Rhodiola Rosea extract.
The ideal dosage varies depending on the condition you are treating. For instance, to boost exercise performance, most people take between 200 and 300 mg, one and a half hours before working out. To treat stress, fatigue, and depression, many people take 400-600mg once per day.
You should know that there aren’t enough clinical trials showing the exact dosage of this extract. You have to experiment a little to find the ideal dosage for your unique situation. It’s best to consult a pharmacist or medical practitioner to help you out with the dosing.
Rhodiola Rosea has been used for centuries, and we also have recent clinical trials supporting some of its claimed health benefits. However, you have to get it in the right quality and use it properly to reap these benefits. Since it is sold as a dietary supplement in the US, there is no proper regulation of the extract, which means it’s very easy to end up with a low-quality supplement. Try and go for Rhodiola Rosea extract supplements with 1% salidroside and 3% rosavin. You also want to check the quality control policy and certifications from the stores. This is the only way to make sure you are getting an effective and safe supplement.