What is Rhodiola Rosea? A Guide to This Adaptogen’s History, Benefits & Uses

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You do what you can to combat stress, from sitting down to meditate on the daily to walking in nature regularly. 

And yet, there are times in your life when stress is all but entirely inescapable. Whether it stems from the illness of a loved one or anticipation over an event is irrelevant: What matters is that stress can wreak havoc on your mood, vitality and brain function.

Clear Glass Mug of Golden-Colored Tea Surrounded by Herbs & Yellow Flowers on Woven Fiber Placement Representing Question What is Rhodiola | Vitacost.com/blog

Introducing rhodiola rosea. Used around the world for centuries, the herb, derived from the cold, upper regions of Asia, Europe and Alaska, has long held a sterling reputation for its stress-busting qualities. Russians, Scandinavians and Norwegians are just a few of the cultures that call upon the yellow-blooming plant for medicinal uses. Western science has now begun investigating its efficacy, demonstrating that rhodiola rosea has the potential to ease mental fatigue and support physical stamina—precisely what we need when the world is asking a great deal of us.

Here’s a primer on the herb—and why you might want to start supplementing with it.

What are some rhodiola benefits?

One of the greatest benefits of rhodiola rosea is its ability to organically encourage resistance to stress. It’s characterized as an adaptogen—a unique class of plants that modify the body’s response to stress and improve your capacity to adapt (and survive!) when confronted with stressors that compromise your health.Russian researchers confirmed this by demonstrating that rhodiola rosea can enhance opposition against a range of chemical, biological and physical stressors.

Translation? The herb—also known as “golden root” or “rose root”—has the potential to help maintain balance in the body when you’re otherwise under duress. What’s more, rhodiola rosea naturally supports the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and demonstrates free radical scavenging abilities, rendering it a solid antioxidant. The herb may also help fight fatigue, enrich mental clarity, and provide energy.

How much rhodiola rosea should I take—and in what form?

As with a number of herbal supplements, rhodiola supplements are available in a variety of forms, including liquid extract and dried powder. Most, however, choose to take it as a tablet or capsule.

Experts recommend taking 100-170 mg daily. Those using it specifically for its potential to increase energy are advised to take it two to three hours before exercising. Ideally, it should be taken roughly 15 minutes before eating.

What are some possible rhodiola side effects?

Rhodiola rosea is typically well-tolerated—and when side effects do occur, they’re generally mild. These may include dizziness, headache, both dry mouth and excessive saliva production and gastrointestinal distress. Some people have reported difficulty sleeping and jitteriness; others, drowsiness. Additionally, rhodiola rosea may have a slight stimulant-like effect and spur anxiety, agitation and restlessness. With this in mind, experts suggest taking it at least three hours before bedtime.

Should I take a rhodiola supplement?

Overstressed—or just keen on boosting your brain power and energy? If so, consult with your physician or naturopathic doctor to see if rhodiola rosea is a viable option. Do note, however, that not enough research has been done to prove that the herb is safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding mamas. Further, WebMD, among other experts, recommends using the herb only for the short-term.

Should you get the green-light from your doctor, consider Vitacost brand Rhodiola Rosea. The targeted wellness solution is not only suitable for vegetarians but it’s also free of other allergens such as milk, eggs, peanuts and gluten. Containing a potent mix of two of the herb’s most effective compounds—phenylpropanoids known as rosavins and salidrosides—it’s an excellent option for improving what we all covet: Overall well-being.

These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.