Health & Wellness

A Root to Lift Your Mood & Decrease Stress! (3 Amazing Rhodiola Benefits)

When I’m treating someone who has adrenal fatigue, there are many herbs that I recommend as part of their treatment plan. But of all the options available, my favorite is rhodiola. Why? Well, quite simply, rhodiola (also known as Rhodiola rosea) is a fantastic adaptogenic herb that’s been shown to treat a variety of adrenal fatigue symptoms. Rhodiola benefits extend from decreasing stress to fighting fatigue and anxiety to improving both mental and exercise performance. As you can see, this versatile herb is truly a must-have for anyone fighting adrenal fatigue. But what makes it so effective? Here’s a closer look at this powerful plant and the many rhodiola benefits you can make use of—starting now!

 

What Is Rhodiola?

Rhodiola grows in mountainous regions of the Arctic, Europe, and Asia and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for over 1,000 years. It’s a commonly used adaptogenic herb, or adaptogen. In case you aren’t familiar with adaptogens, these herbs actually help your body to adapt so that it can better handle and manage stress. Interestingly, it’s been shown that adaptogens can actually alter the way your hormones and biochemistry respond to stress, which helps to ensure that your body functions as it should.

So, what makes rhodiola so effective? Well, the key to its effectiveness is its ability to mediate serotonin and dopamine levels, similar to certain prescription drugs used to treat depression. As a result, it’s been shown to be beneficial both for boosting mood and fighting depression. Interestingly, some studies have even shown that it may even hold promise for battling dementia! [1]

Today, people commonly use rhodiola as a supplement to fight anxiety, fatigue, mood swings, and more. So, let’s dive into the top rhodiola benefits and learn more about what this herb can do for you.

3 Amazing Rhodiola Benefits

Here are some of the top benefits of rhodiola, especially for those battling adrenal fatigue.

1. Helps manage stress and anxiety

We’ve talked a lot about how your body handles the daily stressors in your life much like it would if you encountered a bear in the woods. In order to manage the constant stress of running from so many “bears,” your body adapts to its surroundings. So, instead of handling the stress of the bear as you did previously, your body begins to anticipate it coming. And that means that you now have anxiety over it—and perhaps even insomnia. It was an adaptation in your body that caused the development of these symptoms. Therefore, another adaptation is required to repair your system so that it can function normally, as if there is no bear present.

One of the best rhodiola benefits? It’s fantastic at repair and reversal! It actually assists your body in adapting to and resisting stress, whether that stress is physical, emotional, or chemical.

In fact, according to a 2012 study, supplementing with 200 mg of rhodiola twice daily for four weeks reduced symptoms in people who reported life-stress symptoms. Moreover, researchers discovered that it only took three days for rhodiola to improve common stress symptoms such as fatigue and anxiety. The effects lasted as long as four weeks! [2]

Additionally, in an article published in 2017, researchers reviewed more than 50 studies on the impact of rhodiola on stress management. They determined that rhodiola not only serves as a comprehensive treatment of stress symptoms, but it also can help to prevent both chronic stress and stress-related symptoms. [3]

Finally, if you’ve ever been under extreme stress, you’re likely familiar with the feeling of anxiety. After all, your body is consntatly anticipating that next bear. The good news is that rhodiola benefits also include its ability to fight anxiety. One study revealed that rhodiola was able to reduce anxiety symptoms in people diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder after only 10 weeks of therapy. [4]

With its ability to improve stress and anxiety symptoms so promptly and effectively, imagine what it must be doing for your adrenal gland health as well!

 

Rhodiola benefits - Dr. Pingel

 

2. Fights fatigue

Aside from feeling overwhelmed with life, one of the most common symptoms of adrenal fatigue is a constant feeling of fatigue and exhaustion, regardless of the amount of sleep someone is getting. This fatigue is so severe that it impacts your everyday life, making it almost impossible to complete even the most minor tasks.

As I just shared above, it’s been documented that supplementing with rhodiola can quickly improve fatigue. But with a fatigue as severe as what I just described, you may be left wondering just how effective it is.

Rhodiola benefits have been show to include the two different types of fatigue: fatigue related to physical activity and fatigue caused by sleep deprivation. In fact, a 2012 study found that rhodiola improved mental fatigue as well as physical fatigue from exercise. [5]

Likewise, in a 2009 trial, 60 subjects with stress-related fatigue were given either a product containing rhodiola or a placebo twice a day for four weeks. The rhodiola group experienced improved concentration, which was attributed to decreased stress-related fatigue, and significant decreases in salivary cortisol compared to the placebo group. [6]

3. Boosts mental clarity and mood

In addition to improving physical fatigue, rhodiola has also been shown to fight mental fatigue as well. And if you’re suffering from exhaustion and/or insomnia, you know how crucial this rhodiola benefit can be.

One study followed more than 50 young, healthy physicians working the night shift. Researchers discovered that when the doctors took rhodiola supplements for certain periods over two weeks, they showed significant improvements in mental fatigue and overall mental performance. The researchers concluded rhodiola has the potential to reduce mental fatigue under stressful circumstances, proving it to be quite a powerful herb. [7]

Additionally, a 2018 study revealed that supplementing with rhodiola boosted the mental performance of 26 male students by shortening their reaction and response times. [8] But rhodiola benefits your mental health other ways, too.

It’s commonly known that rhodiola has positive effects on depression and its associated symptoms. Rhodiola was shown to have a positive effect on mild to moderate depression symptoms after only six weeks of supplementing with the herb once daily. The reason why rhodiola is able to improve depression symptoms is due to its direct positive effect on your neurotransmitters. [9] And, as a bonus, it comes without the side effects of pharmaceutical medication.

4. Supports the immune system

Believe it or not, rhodiola benefits also extend to boosting your immune system. And this is in large part due to its antioxidant and anti-viral activities.

In a 2015 study, researchers discovered that the properties in rhodiola offered protection against a stomach virus in 24 marathon runners. [10] Even more promising? Some newer studies are finding that rhodiola may contain anti-cancer benefits as well. [11] Other studies have found that rhodoila benefits include containing anti-tumor properties and protection against free radicals. [12]

Between its impact on stress and the immune system, rhodiola is one of those herbs you should consider keeping in your medicine cabinet year-round, especially since stress has been shown to lower your immunity to illnesses.

Now that you know some of the greatest rhodiola benefits, you’re probably wondering how you can find this herb and how best to use it. I have some tips on that below, along with some insight on how to get the most out of rhodiola.

How to Use Rhodiola

Overall, rhodiola is considered to be a safe herb, as there are no known interactions with other drugs. Moreover, it hasn’t been shown to have many adverse effects in clinical trials. In fact, the noted potential side effects are considered to be mild and include dizziness, trouble sleeping, nervousness, and dry mouth. [13]

As a synergistic herb, it works best when it’s blended with other herbs such as glycyrrhiza, ginseng, schisandra, astragalus, and ashwagandha. You can find rhodiola in your local health food and supplement stores. Look for it in either capsule or liquid form, and make sure to discuss dosage amounts with your doctor.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that’s been shown to treat a variety of adrenal fatigue symptoms.
  • Rhodiola benefits extend from decreasing stress to fighting fatigue and anxiety to improving both mental and exercise performance.
  • Overall, rhodiola is considered to be safe and has mild side effects.
  • As a synergistic herb, rhodiola works best when taken along with glycyrrhiza, ginseng, schisandra, astragalus, and ashwagandha.
  • It’s available in most local health food stores, but make sure to speak with your physician before starting any new supplements.

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