What can Rhodiola Rosea help you with?

What is Rhodiola rosea?

Rhodiola rosea is a medicinal plant in the Rhodiola genera (Crassulaceae family) which has traditionally been used as an anti-fatigue agent and adaptogen compound. The root contains a number of bioactive compounds, but the main two that are thought to mediate its effects are rosavin and salidroside. Rhodiola supplements are generally taken in the form of root powder or standardized extracts with 1–5% salidrosides. Although rhodiola supplements are usually taken for their stress-and fatigue-reducing effects, they may also have antidepressant, anti-inflammatory,and antioxidant properties.

Rhodiola Rosea 2

Benefits 7 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Rhodiola rosea

  • 1. May help decrease stress

Rhodiola has long been known as an adaptogen, a natural substance that increases your body’s resistance to stress in non-specific ways.
Consuming adaptogens during stressful times is thought to help you handle stressful situations better.
Rhodiola has also been shown to improve symptoms of burnout, which can occur with chronic stress. One study involved 118 people with stress-related burnout who took 400 mg of rhodiola daily for 12 weeks. Study participants showed clear improvement in various symptoms such as stress and depression commonly associated with burnout.
The most improvement occurred during the first week and continued throughout the study. Researchers noted that this was the first trial investigating clinical outcomes of rhodiola treatment for burnout. They found the results encouraging and recommended further trials .

  • 2. May help with fatigue

Stress, anxiety, and inadequate sleep are just a few factors that can contribute to fatigue, which can cause feelings of physical and mental tiredness.
Due to its adaptogenic properties, rhodiola is thought to help alleviate fatigue.
In one study, 100 people with chronic fatigue symptoms received 400 mg of rhodiola every day for 8 weeks. They experienced significant improvements in:
stress symptoms
quality of life
These improvements were observed after only 1 week of treatment and continued to improve through the final week of the study .

  • 3. Could help reduce symptoms of depression

Depression is a common but serious illness that negatively affects how you feel and act.
It’s thought to occur when chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters become unbalanced. Health professionals commonly prescribe antidepressants to help correct these chemical imbalances.
It has been suggested that Rhodiola rosea may have antidepressant properties that help balance the neurotransmitters in your brain.
One study compared the effects of rhodiola with the commonly prescribed antidepressant sertraline, which is sold under the name Zoloft. In the study, 57 people diagnosed with depression were randomly assigned to receive rhodiola, sertraline, or a placebo pill for 12 weeks.
While rhodiola and sertraline both reduced symptoms of depression, sertraline had a greater effect. However, rhodiola produced fewer side effects and was better tolerated.

  • 4. May improve brain function

Exercise, proper nutrition, and a good night’s sleep are sure ways to keep your brain running strong .
Some supplements may also help, including rhodiola.
A review of 36 animal studies concluded that rodiola may improve learning and memory function .
An animal study found that just a single dose of rhodiola increased memory and had an antidepressant effect on mice. It suggested that rhodiola could become a good tool to increase cognition and counteract mood disorders in people .
Another research review concluded that the therapeutic properties of rhodiola may benefit many age-related diseases. Researchers called for more research to bridge the gap between experimental results and clinical applications .

  • 5. May improve exercise performance

Rhodiola has been claimed to improve sports performance by reducing physical and mental fatigue and increasing antioxidant activity .
However, research results are mixed.
On the positive side, one animal study found that rhodiola could improve muscle power and strength performance in rats. In the study, the rats were given Rhodiola rosea extract combined with another compound in rhodiola called Rhaponticum carthamoides (Rha) after resistance exercise .
Another study found that ingesting rhodiola shortened reaction time and total response time in young, healthy, physically active men. It also increased antioxidant activity but had no effect on overall endurance .
In other studies, rhodiola has been shown to improve exercise performance by decreasing perceived exertion, or how hard participants felt their bodies were working (14Trusted Source).
On the skeptical side, research points to studies showing that rhodiola supplementation did not change oxygen uptake or muscle performance, and it didn’t enhance the immune system of marathon athletes .
Also, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health warns that there is insufficient evidence from human studies to conclude that rhodiola is helpful for any health-related use . Part of the reason for this may be that researchers do not yet understand exactly how rhodiola affects human performance .

  • 6. May help manage diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that occurs when your body develops a reduced ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels.
People with diabetes commonly use insulin injections or medications that increase insulin sensitivity to better manage their blood sugar levels.
Interestingly, animal research suggests rhodiola may help improve diabetes management .
The salidroside compound in rhodiola has been shown to help protect against diabetes and diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease) in rats .
These studies were performed in rats, so their results can’t be generalized to humans. However, they’re a compelling reason to investigate the effects of rhodiola on diabetes in people.
If you have diabetes and wish to take rhodiola supplements, speak with your dietitian or doctor first.

  • 7. May have anticancer properties

Salidroside, a potent component of rhodiola, has been investigated for its anticancer properties.
Test-tube and animal studies have shown that it may inhibit the growth of lung, bladder, gastric, and colon cancer cells .
As a result, researchers have suggested that rhodiola may be useful in the treatment of many types of cancer.
However, until human studies become available, whether rhodiola can help treat cancer remains unknown.

Dosage information
Medical disclaimer
Supplementation of rhodiola rosea tends to refer to either the SHR-5 extract in particular or an equivalent extract, any that confers both 3% rosavins and 1% salidroside.
Usage of rhodiola as a daily preventative against fatigue has been reported to be effective in doses as low as 50mg.
Acute usage of rhodiola for fatigue and anti-stress has been noted to be taken in the 288-680mg range.
As rhodiola has been shown to have a bell-curve response before, it is recommended to not exceed the aforementioned 680mg dosage as higher doses may be ineffective.