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Beneficial properties of Rhodiola rosea

Scientifically proven beneficial properties of Rhodiola rosea

Rhodiola is a supplement made from herb of same name, which grows mainly in cold mountainous regions of Europe and Asia.

This product is considered by doctors to be an adaptogen. This is because addition of rhodiola to diet allows body to adapt to stressful conditions.

Very often, rhodiola is called golden root or arctic root. In scientific circles, however, this plant is better known as Rhodiola rosea.

Root of plant contains more than 140 active substances that can have a positive influence on body. Most important of them, however, are rosavin and salidroside, which can reduce anxiety and fatigue as well as eliminate symptoms of depression.

Today, rhodiola rosea is used mainly in form of a dietary supplement with an impressive number of beneficial properties. Let’s consider them in detail.

Reduces stress levels

Researchers report that rhodiola belongs to a group of adaptogens – substances that increase a person’s resistance to stress in a non-specific way. Doctors recommend that people who frequently encounter stressful situations take the appropriate preparations and supplements.

Consumption of rhodiola extract at a rate of 400 milligrams per day for 4 weeks helps to significantly reduce stress levels and eliminate some of its symptoms, according to research data. After taking supplement for 3 days, 100 people showed signs of stress disappeared:

  • Fatigue;
  • Anxiety;
  • Mental exhaustion.

Moreover, people’s results improved with each subsequent intake.

Scientists found that inclusion of rhodiola in diet eliminated certain symptoms of burnout and depression resulting from chronic stress. This was the result of a study involving 118 people.

Reduces fatigue

Mental and physical fatigue are conditions that occur in many people. As a rule, they are caused by factors such as poor quality sleep, stress and increased levels of anxiety.

Rhodiola rosea has adaptogenic properties. Because of this, many scientists have claimed that this product can be used to treat major fatigue factors.

A four-week study, with more than 60 participants, showed that 576 milligrams of rhodiola in a diet can eliminate the symptoms of fatigue resulting from a large number of stressful situations. In another similar study, researchers found that 400 milligrams of radiola per day, when taken for eight weeks, improved quality of life, mood and concentration, among other things.

It is worth noting that the supplement had a cumulative effect. It improved the condition of study participants with each new intake.

Addressing symptoms of depression

Depression is a condition that can negatively affect well-being, lead to decreased activity and negatively affect quality of work.

According to scientists, this condition develops as a result of changes in the balance of neurotransmitters. Therefore, to treat it, doctors prescribe antidepressants to restore balance of chemicals in human brain.

According to experts, Rhodiola rosea also has antidepressant properties.

Including it in diet can eliminate symptoms of depression and restore the balance of neurotransmitters.

One of experiments with 89 people with mild to moderate depression confirmed this statement.

Supplementation of 340 to 680 milligrams eliminated symptoms of this unpleasant condition, increased emotional stability and defeated insomnia caused by elevated levels of anxiety.

Moreover, taking larger amounts of rhodiola increased study participants’ self-esteem.

In a study on supplement’s effects, scientists decided to compare effectiveness of rhodiola to an antidepressant such as sertraline.

12-week experiment showed that it was less effective for treating depression, but also had fewer side effects and was better tolerated.

Rhodiola rosea root
Rhodiola rosea root

Can be used to treat diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce insulin decreases and resistance to this substance increases, resulting in high blood sugar levels. It is often treated with insulin injections or medications that increase the body’s sensitivity to this substance in order to normalize blood sugar levels. However, some studies show that a similar effect can be observed when rhodiola is included in the diet.

One study showed a decrease in blood sugar levels in rats when rhodiola extract was added to their diet. The corresponding effect was caused by an increase in the number of glucose transporters in the blood and improved sugar transport to the tissues.

But this experiment was conducted exclusively on animals. Because of this, it cannot be unequivocally stated that rhodiola can help in the treatment of diabetes. Therefore, before including it in the diet should always consult a doctor.

Improving brain function

Most effective ways to improve brain function are quality sleep, a balanced diet and regular exercise. But not everyone is able to adhere to these recommendations. In this regard, doctors advise use of supplements to improve brain function. Rhodiola is one of them.

One of experiments showed that use of rhodiola extract in amount of 170 milligrams for 14 days reduces mental fatigue and improves brain performance by an average of 20 percent. And higher results were noted in people experiencing fatigue due to night work.

During an experiment involving military cadets, scientists found that adding anywhere from 370 to 555 milligrams of rhodiola to diet for 5 days improved mental performance. And effectiveness of supplement is significantly higher than that of a placebo.

Another study carried out on students suffering from mental retardation as a result of sleep deprivation showed that regular consumption of rhodiola can improve brain function. According to results, participants in experiment who took supplement did 8 percent better on their exams than group who took a placebo.

In some studies, scientists have found that rhodiola can have a negative effect on brain function when used incorrectly. However, researchers reported that number of such results is not enough to draw a definite conclusion about the effect of this product on brain function.

It can be used to fight cancer

Salidroside is one of strongest components of rhodiola. Scientists report that it can be used to fight certain types of cancer. According to research data, this component prevents growth of cancer cells in colon, bladder, liver and breast.

However, all of this is just theoretical information, which has only been confirmed by laboratory studies. Until human experiments are conducted, it is not possible to state definitively that this product can help treat cancer.

Recommendations for use of Rhodiola

Rhodiola can be used in form of capsules or tablets. But this product is also available in its natural form, intended to be brewed into a tea. Despite this, most people prefer supplements because they allow for more effective control over amount consumed.

How to choose a supplement with Rhodiola Rosea

Today on the market there is a large number of adulterated products of this type. Therefore, to avoid undesirable consequences, you should pay attention to products that have been certified by USP or NSF. Presence of such a certificate indicates that supplement has no foreign impurities that can lead to undesirable consequences.

In addition, it is important to pay attention to composition indicated on package. A quality product should have 3 percent rosavins and 1 percent salidrosides. This is the natural amount of substances, which corresponds to a natural product.

How and in what amounts to use rhodiola

Rhodiola should be consumed before first morning meal. This method of using supplement provides highest effectiveness of product.

To reduce stress levels, eliminate symptoms of depression and reduce fatigue, doctors recommend taking from 400 to 600 milligrams of rhodiola. However, benefits of rhodiola in increasing effectiveness of exercise are only shown if you consume 300 milligrams of supplement two hours before start of your workout.

Rhodiola Safety

Consumption of rhodiola does not pose any danger to human body. Moreover, this product is perfectly tolerated by many people.

Number of cases of side effects of rhodiola does not exceed 2 percent. Because of this, most people can use this product without fearing for their health.


For several hundred years, rhodiola rosea has been used in Scandinavian countries and former CIS countries as a medicinal plant. This supplement reduces stress levels, increases stamina and physical activity levels, and provides relief from symptoms of depression.

Laboratory studies show that this supplement prevents growth of cancer cells. However, more research is needed to use it as a treatment for cancer.

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