What Are The Health Benefits Associated With Rhodiola Rosea?

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Welcome to my blog post discussing the health benefits of rhodiola rosea. It is one of my favourites which I have noticed significant changes to my health by supplementing, as have numerous clients (alongside a natural and well balanced lifestyle). But even with that personal and professional experience of using and recommending this herb, I was still surprised by the research out there.

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What Is Rhodiola Rosea?

Rhodiola rosea, known as “golden root” or “roseroot”, is a herb that belongs to the plant family Crassulaceae, is worldwide a botanical adaptogen. Adaptogen means it is able to help mitigate the effects of physical and chemical stress.

Modern pharmaceutical research identified more than 140 compounds isolated from Rhodiola species, including flavones, coumarins, volatiles, anthraquinone and organic acids.

It is grown at high altitudes and northern latitudes. Due to its purported adaptogenic properties, it has been studied for its performance-enhancing capabilities in healthy populations and its therapeutic properties in a number of clinical populations

What Are The Benefits Of Rhodiola Rosea?

R. rosea demonstrates multi-target effects on various levels of the regulation of cell response to stress, affecting various components of the neuroendocrine, neurotransmitter receptor and molecular networks associated with possible beneficial effects on mood (1)

  • Anti-stress
  • Anti-fatigue
  • Anti-depressant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Cardioprotective
  • Neuroprotective
  • Cognitive benefit
  • Anticancer
  • Subjective well-being
  • Recovery from exercise

Let’s look at these in a little more detail.

Rhodiola Rosea And Stress

One of Rhodiola Rose’s health benefits relates to its anti-stress properties. It has been shown to influence the release of stress hormones while boosting energy metabolism as revealed in animal literature.

Rhodiola offers comprehensive treatment of stress symptoms and can prevent chronic stress and stress-related complications (5).

Rhodiola Rosea And Anxiety

One study demonstrated a significant reduction in self-reported, anxiety, stress, anger, confusion and depression at 14 days and a significant improvements in total mood (7)

Rhodiola Rosea And Depression

57 subjects were randomized to 12 weeks of standardized R. rosea extract, sertraline (an anti-depressant medication), or placebo. Changes over time in Hamilton Depression Rating (HAM-D), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Clinical Global Impression Change (CGI/C) scores among groups were examined using mixed-effects models.

More subjects on sertraline reported adverse events (63.2%) than R. rosea (30.0%) or placebo (16.7%).

Although R. rosea produced less antidepressant effect versus sertraline, it also resulted in significantly fewer adverse events and was better tolerated.

These findings suggest that R. rosea, although less effective than sertraline, may possess a more favorable risk to benefit ratio for individuals with mild to moderate depression (4).

The Health Benefits Of Rhodiola Rosea And Inflammation

Has been confirmed to possess protective effects of inflammatory injury for many diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, sepsis, and cancer (2)

Neuroprotective Alzheimer’s Disease

A plethora of studies report that R. rosea has potent neuroprotective effects through the suppression of oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and excitotoxicity in brain tissues and antagonism of oncogenic p21-activated kinase (3).

Our findings suggest that a single oral dose of Rhodiola rosea extract intake modulates cortical plasticity in humans preventing the activity-dependent reduction in the efficacy of neuronal synapses. These results suggest that the adaptogenic and antidepressant effects of Rhodiola rosea extract might be based on its modulation of brain plasticity (12)

Rhodiola Rosea And Physical And Mental Fatigue

Research regarding R. rosea efficacy is contradictory. While some evidence suggests that the herb may be helpful for enhancing physical performance and alleviating mental fatigue, methodological flaws limit accurate assessment of efficacy. A rigorously-designed well reported RCT that minimizes bias is needed to determine true efficacy of R. rosea for fatigue. (6)

Rhodiola Rosea And The Menopause

“Numerous lines of evidence indicate that R. rosea should be investigated as a potential selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) to prevent, delay or mitigate menopause-related cognitive, psychological, cardiovascular and osteoporotic conditions.” (8)

The Health Benefits Of Rhodiola Rosea In Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A dry ethanolic extract of Rhodiola (WS® 1375) was studied in 100 subjects with prolonged or chronic fatigue symptoms. In an uncontrolled, open-label multicenter clinical trial, the subjects were administered the supplement for over 8 weeks.

The results indicate that 2 × 200 mg may be an effective treatment in subjects suffering from prolonged or chronic fatigue.

Is Rhodiola Rosea An Anti-oxidant?

Rhodiola may improve the negative emotions such as anxiety and depression by inhibiting oxygen free radicals and lipid peroxidation in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

Rhodiola Rosea And Cancer

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 (10).

For cancer, Rhodiola rosea extracts and salidroside inhibit the mTOR pathway and reduce angiogenesis

Rhodiola rosea extracts and salidroside can impose cellular and systemic benefits similar to the effect of positive lifestyle interventions to normal physiological functions and for anti-cancer (10)

Rhodiola Rosea And Autoimmune Diseases

R. rosea regulated the expression of JAK1, JAK2, STAT3 and RORγt in the spinal cord of EAE mice. Together, our findings suggested the adaptogenic effects of R. rosea on EAE, which may help to deepen the understanding of potential therapeutic values of traditional Chinese medicines for autoimmune diseases of CNS (13)

Is It Safe To Take Rhodiola Rosea Daily?

This question is difficult to answer because we currently lack a lot of long-term information from clinical trials. Because of its possible drug-like effects on neurotransmission, it’s difficult to rule out unintended side-effects or a loss of potency in the long-term. However, what studies we do have generally suggest that the effects of Rhodiola on stress/anxiety continually improve for at least for two months after the beginning of daily supplementation. Furthermore the best way to get that same effect, as discussed in the research is to mimic the dose and dosing schedule in that specific study.

Who Should Not Take Rhodiola Rosea? What Are The Side Effects?

It seems to be safe and well-tolerated at the doses used in the research (see below), but it needs more long-term research that’s specifically designed to evaluate its safety.

When Should I Take Rhodiola Rosea?

Often it is recommended to take with food, and with breakfast if taken one dose per day. This can be explored however – I typically take it one to three times a day with food (depending on the dose I am using).

How Much Rhodiola Rosea Should I Take For Its Health Benefits?

Doses seem to range from as low as 60 to as high as 680mg per day of standardised rhodiola.

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References For ‘What Are The Health Benefits Associated With Rhodiola Rosea?’

  1. Rhod.Ros L. as a putative botanical antidepressant: click here.
  2. Anti-inflammatory effects of Rhod.Ros L.: A review: click here
  3. Rhod.Ros L. and Alzheimer’s Disease: From Farm to Pharmacy: click here.
  4. Rhod.Ros versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial: click here.
  5. Stress management and the role of Rhod.Ros: a review: click here.
  6. Rhod.Ros for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review: click here.
  7. The Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. Extract on Anxiety, Stress, Cognition and Other Mood Symptoms: click here
  8. Pause menopause with Rhod.Ros, a natural selective estrogen receptor modulator: click here.
  9. Effects of Rhod.Ros on oxidative stress and negative emotional states in patients with obstructive sleep apnea: click here.
  10. Rhod.Ros L.: an herb with anti-stress, anti-aging, and immunostimulating properties for cancer chemoprevention: click here.
  11. Rhod.Ros in Subjects with Prolonged or Chronic Fatigue Symptoms: Results of an Open-Label Clinical Trial: click here.
  12. Exploring the effect of adaptogenic Rhod.Ros extract on neuroplasticity in humans: click here.
  13. Amelioration of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by Rhod.Ros, a natural adaptogen: click here.
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