Rhodiola: Nature’s Herbal Solution to Stress and Fatigue

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Along with providing information on whether rhodiola supplements might be right for you, this article also links to Fullscript where you can buy rhodiola supplements online through the secure healthcare formulary and get free shipping and 20% off the retail price of professional-grade supplements.

Rhodiola is a fascinating plant native to cold regions such as the Arctic and mountainous parts of Europe and Asia. This herb has a long history in traditional medicine. Modern studies point to a range of health benefits. These include reducing stress and fatigue and improving mental focus. Let’s explore what makes this ancient root so interesting today.

What Is Rhodiola?

Rhodiola, scientifically known as Rhodiola rosea, is a perennial herb native to the cold regions of Asia, Europe, and North America, particularly the Arctic and mountainous areas. It belongs to the Crassulaceae family and is commonly known as golden root, Arctic root, or rose root. Rhodiola has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, particularly in Russia, Scandinavia, and other parts of Eastern Europe, to enhance physical endurance, mental performance, and resistance to stress.

Rhodiola contains several bioactive compounds, including rosavin, salidroside, and tyrosol, which are believed to contribute to its adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body adapt to various stressors, support physiological processes, and promote balance.

What are the Benefits of Rhodiola?

Rhodiola rosea has been studied for its potential health benefits, particularly as an adaptogen that may help the body adapt to stress and support overall well-being. Some of the key health benefits of Rhodiola include:

  • Stress reduction: Rhodiola may help modulate the production and release of stress hormones like cortisol, reducing the impact of stress on the body. [PMID: 29325481]
  • Anxiety: In a 2 week trial with 80 mildly anxious participants, the group who took Rhodiola rosea L (2 x 200 mg dose) showed significant reductions in self-reported anxiety, stress, anger, confusion, and depression, with no notable differences in cognitive performance or safety issues. [PMID: 26502953, PMC6208354]
  • Stress-Related Fatigue: In a 28-day trial with 60 people suffering from stress-related fatigue, the group receiving rhodiola showed better results in attention and burnout and also had a different cortisol response to awakening stress, indicating the extract’s anti-fatigue effect. [PMID: 19016404]
  • Mood enhancement: Rhodiola has been studied for its potential antidepressant effects and may help improve mood and alleviate mild to moderate depression. [PMC9228580]
  • Improved cognitive function: Some research indicates that Rhodiola may enhance cognitive performance, including memory, attention, and mental processing speed, although the reasons for these effects is not yet understood. [PMC6230218]
  • Exercise performance: In a recent review of the studies, 10 papers were reviewed. Most reported that rhodiola supplementation was safe and has a positive effect on athletic ability and sports performance. Athletes taking rhodiola showed a reduction in pain and muscle damage after exercise training, improved skeletal muscle damage, enhanced antioxidant capacity thereby reducing oxidative stress, reduced perceived exertion scores, and improved athletic explosive power. [PMC9021834]
  • Cancer: Rhodiola affects many of the pathways that are active in cancer. Research is ongoing, but human data is lacking. [PMC6208354]

How Rhodiola Benefits Your Health

In addition to its multiplex stress-protective activity, Rhodiola rosea extracts have recently demonstrated its anti-aging, anti-inflammation, immunostimulating, DNA repair and anti-cancer effects in different model systems. Molecular mechanisms of Rhodiola rosea extracts’s action have been studied mainly along with one of its bioactive compounds, salidroside. 

Rhodiola rosea L.: an herb with anti-stress, anti-aging, and immunostimulating properties for cancer chemoprevention [PMC6208354]

How Chronic Stress Can Lead to Low Mitochondrial ATP Production, and How Rhodiola Can Help

The linked article, Stress management and the role of Rhodiola rosea: a review, describes how chronic stress leads to high cortisol levels as well as decreased ATP energy production in the mitochondrial cellular powerhouses. [PMID: 29325481]

The details are highly technical, but here’s the point. The lack of ATP production (the most basic cellular energy) explains the physical and mental fatigue that is experienced by people under chronic stress.

Is Rhodiola Safe?

Rhodiola is generally considered safe for most people and has a favorable safety profile. Many studies have shown that use of this supplement results in few or no side effects. Commonly reported side effects, such as dry mouth or dizziness, tend to be mild. Overall, Rhodiola stands out for its low risk of adverse effects, especially when compared to pharmaceutical alternatives for stress and fatigue.

Medication Interactions with Rhodiola

  • Diabetes Medications: Rhodiola may lower blood sugar. Using it with diabetes drugs could result in low blood sugar.
  • High Blood Pressure Medications: Rhodiola may also lower blood pressure. Combining it with antihypertensive medications may cause too low blood pressure. Watch your blood pressure carefully.
  • Losartan (Cozaar): Rhodiola may change how the body processes losartan, possibly increasing its effects and side effects.
  • Immunosuppressants: Rhodiola may boost the immune system. Using it with medications that suppress immunity, like after a transplant, could make these drugs less effective.
  • P-Glycoprotein Substrate Medications: Rhodiola may affect cellular pumps that move these medications, altering their effectiveness and side effects.
  • Liver-Processed Medications (Cytochrome P450 2C9 substrates): Rhodiola may change the speed at which the liver processes these medications, altering their effects and side effects.

Supplement Interactions with Rhodiola

  • St. John’s Wort: May increase the risk of serotonin syndrome due to effects on serotonin levels.
  • 5-HTP: Risk of serotonin syndrome due to similar effects on serotonin.
  • Ginseng: May intensify stress response and energy-boosting effects.
  • Caffeine: Increased risk of overstimulation or jitters.
  • Melatonin: Possible alterations in sleep quality and mood regulation.
  • Valerian Root: Potentially stronger effects on the nervous system, such as sedation.
  • Ginkgo Biloba: May increase the risk of bleeding due to blood-thinning properties.

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Rhodiola – 500 mg

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) is indigenous to the Arctic and Alpine regions of Europe, Asia and America and has long been used as a tonic by many cultures, including the Ancient Greeks. Rhodiola is generally known as an “adaptogen, ” a term which refers to any agent possessing the ability to support the bodys natural capacity to adapt to lifes changing conditions.* NOW® Rhodiola is standardized to 3% Total Rosavins and min. 1% Salidroside.

Take 1 capsule 1 to 2 times daily on an empty stomach.

Serving Size: One Veg Capsule

Amount Per Serving
Rhodiola Extract … 500mg
(Rhodiola rosea)(Root)
(Standardized to min. 3% Total Rosavins
and min. 1% Salidroside)

Food First!

Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.

Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.

To Sum It Up

Rhodiola supplements offer several health benefits worth noting. From reducing stress-related fatigue to enhancing mental performance, this herbal extract can be a significant addition to a wellness regimen. Studies also highlight its impact on cortisol levels, indicating its role in stress management. Although more research is needed, the current evidence suggests Rhodiola has a favorable safety profile and delivers specific health advantages.

This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.

About the Author

Stephanie Figon, MS, RDN, LD

Creator of Supplement Sciences and NutriScape.NET. As a dietitian since 1992, Steph has had experiences in consulting, 15 years in clinical, and has operated a private practice nutrition counseling office for since 2011. Log in to comment and save this article on your board or send your comments to reviews@supplement-sciences.com

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