Here’s How Rhodiola Rosea Can Boost Your Energy – Backed by Research
- 11 minutes read
Rhodiola is an herb that grows in the mountains of Asia and Europe.
The roots of Rhodiola are considered adaptogens, which means that they can help your body to cope with stress when consumed.
The English name for Rhodiola is golden root or arctic root. The scientific name is Rhodiola rosea. The root of Rhodiola contains at least 140 active ingredients. Of these two, the most potent are salidroside and rosavin (1).
The Scandinavians and Russians have used rhodiola for many centuries to treat:
Rhodiola is widely used as a dietary supplement for its numerous health benefits.
One of the main health benefits of rhodiola is its role as an adaptogen and energy booster. But what does the science say about this claim?
In this article, we’ll see how Rhodiola can boost your energy, as well as other evidence-based health benefits of Rhodiola rosea.
How Rhodiola can boost your energy
Rhodiola can help decrease stress
Rhodiola is a well-known adaptogen. An adaptogen is a natural substance that makes your body to be more resistant to stress in non-specific ways.
Studies suggest that taking adaptogens during stressful periods can help you to adapt better to stressful situations (2, 3).
Rhodiola improves burnout, which usually accompanies chronic stress. A recent study published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment (4) found that Rhodiola caused tremendous improvement in symptoms such as depression and stress.
Both symptoms are associated with burnout. The study which was conducted in 2017 involved 118 participants with stress-related burnout who took 400mg of rhodiola every day for 12 weeks. The results were encouraging and further trials were recommended.
Rhodiola may help with fatigue
Anxiety, stress, and poor sleeping habits are some of the factors that can contribute to fatigue, and fatigue can cause feelings of mental and physical tiredness.
The adaptogenic properties of rhodiola alleviates fatigue.
In a study involving 100 people with chronic fatigue, researchers discovered that 400mg of rhodiola administered daily for 8 weeks helped to relieve the symptoms of chronic fatigue (5).
The subjects experienced significant improvements in:
These improvements occurred within a week of treatment and improved right through the end of the study.
Rhodiola may ease symptoms of depression
Depression is a common illness. It affects how a person feels and acts.
Depression is thought to occur when neurotransmitters in your brain become unbalanced. Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to help correct these imbalances.
Studies indicate that Rhodiola rosea may have some antidepressant properties that help balance your brain’s neurotransmitters.
A study published in the journal Phytomedicine compared the effects of rhodiola with sertraline, an antidepressant (6).
The study which involved over 50 people diagnosed with depression found that rhodiola reduced the symptoms of depression like sertraline. Rhodiola also had fewer side effects and was better tolerated than sertraline.
Improves exercise performance
Yes, there are claims that rhodiola improves performance in sports by reducing mental and physical fatigue and boosting antioxidant activity (5).
But the research shows mixed results.
On one side, one animal study showed that rhodiola could improve strength performance and muscle power in rats. The rodents were treated to rosea extract combined with Rhaponticum carthamoides. Rhaponticum carthamoides is a compound in rhodiola. The extract was administered after a bout of resistance exercise (7).
In another study, researchers found that taking rhodiola reduced the reaction time in health, young, physically active men. Rhodiola was also found to increase antioxidant activity but did not affect overall endurance (8).
In another study, rhodiola improved exercise performance by drastically decreasing perceived exertion (9).
On the other hand, some research shows that taking rhodiola supplements did not have any positive effect on muscle performance or oxygen uptake, neither did it boost the immune system of marathon athletes (10).
The best way to take rhodiola rosea supplements
Rhodiola is an uncommon plant. It is available as an extract in tablets and capsules. Rhodiola rosea extract is also available as tea. However, many people prefer the pill form because its dosing is more accurate.
What to consider
Rhodiola supplements are at high risk of adulteration (11).
The best way to avoid this is to look for brands bearing the NSF or USP seal. Both NSF and USP are nonprofit organizations that verify the purity of each supplement and ensure they contain what they claim.
You should also study the labels of these supplements to ensure that they contain rosavins and salidrosides at a ratio 3:1. Rosavins and salidrosides are compounds that are present in the root of rhodiola rosea.
When should you take it, and how much?
Rhodiola rosea is best taken on an empty stomach. However, it should be taken during bedtime. The reason is because it has a slightly stimulating effect.
Current findings show that rhodiola may be effective against fatigue, stress, or depression when taken when taken within the dose 400-600 mg daily (5).
Studies have also shown that doses between 200-300 mg daily may improve athletic performance (9).
Li, Y., Pham, V., Bui, M., Song, L., Wu, C., Walia, A., Uchio, E., Smith-Liu, F., & Zi, X. (2017). Rhodiola rosea L.: an herb with anti-stress, anti-aging, and immunostimulating properties for cancer chemoprevention. Current pharmacology reports, 3(6), 384–395. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40495-017-0106-1
Cropley, M., Banks, A. P., & Boyle, J. (2015). The Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. Extract on Anxiety, Stress, Cognition and Other Mood Symptoms. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 29(12), 1934–1939. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.5486
Anghelescu, I. G., Edwards, D., Seifritz, E., & Kasper, S. (2018). Stress management and the role of Rhodiola rosea: a review. International journal of psychiatry in clinical practice, 22(4), 242–252. https://doi.org/10.1080/13651501.2017.1417442
Kasper, S., & Dienel, A. (2017). Multicenter, open-label, exploratory clinical trial with Rhodiola rosea extract in patients suffering from burnout symptoms. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 13, 889–898. https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S120113
Lekomtseva, Y., Zhukova, I., & Wacker, A. (2017). Rhodiola rosea in Subjects with Prolonged or Chronic Fatigue Symptoms: Results of an Open-Label Clinical Trial. Complementary medicine research, 24(1), 46–52. https://doi.org/10.1159/000457918
Mao, J. J., Xie, S. X., Zee, J., Soeller, I., Li, Q. S., Rockwell, K., & Amsterdam, J. D. (2015). Rhodiola rosea versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine, 22(3), 394-399. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2015.01.010
Roumanille, R., Vernus, B., Brioche, T., Descossy, V., Van Ba, C. T., Campredon, S., Philippe, A. G., Delobel, P., Bertrand-Gaday, C., Chopard, A., Bonnieu, A., Py, G., & Fança-Berthon, P. (2020). Acute and chronic effects of Rhaponticum carthamoides and Rhodiola rosea extracts supplementation coupled to resistance exercise on muscle protein synthesis and mechanical power in rats. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 17(1), 58. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-020-00390-5
Jówko, E., Sadowski, J., Długołęcka, B., Gierczuk, D., Opaszowski, B., & Cieśliński, I. (2018). Effects of Rhodiola rosea supplementation on mental performance, physical capacity, and oxidative stress biomarkers in healthy men. Journal of sport and health science, 7(4), 473–480. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2016.05.005
Duncan, M. J., & Clarke, N. D. (2014). The Effect of Acute Rhodiola rosea Ingestion on Exercise Heart Rate, Substrate Utilisation, Mood State, and Perceptions of Exertion, Arousal, and Pleasure/Displeasure in Active Men. Journal of sports medicine (Hindawi Publishing Corporation), 2014, 563043. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/563043
Sellami, M., Slimeni, O., Pokrywka, A., Kuvačić, G., D Hayes, L., Milic, M., & Padulo, J. (2018). Herbal medicine for sports: a review. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15, 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-018-0218-y
11. Ruhsam, M., & Hollingsworth, P. M. (2018). Authentication of Eleutherococcus and Rhodiola herbal supplement products in the United Kingdom. Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis, 149, 403–409. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpba.2017.11.025
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