Rhodiola to the Rescue!

You may have heard people talking about the amazing benefits of an herb called Rhodiola. I know people who swear by it for its fatigue-fighting, stress-relieving properties. I myself have taken it and highly recommend it. But I understand that it can often be overwhelming to contemplate which herbs and supplements to take and when, for which problems, for how long, etc. You can end up with a cabinet full of bottles, oils and salves and have no idea what to do with them! Allow me to demystify Rhodiloa for you.

Rhodiola rosea grows in mountainous regions in the north of Europe, Asia and Scandinavia and has been used in those regions for many generations as a tonic against fatigue, anxiety, headache, stress, depression and altitude sickness. In fact, the Vikings even depended on the herb to enhance their physical strength and endurance! Today, Rhodiola is used widely for these same benefits and it is an adaptogenic herb, meaning that “it acts in non-specific ways to increase resistance to stress, without disturbing normal biological functions.” When a stressful situation occurs, in other words, consuming an adaptogen generates a degree of “generalized adaptation (or non-specific resistance) that allows our physiology to handle the stressful situation in a more resourceful manner. It is believed that adaptogens work by increasing the ability of cells to manufacture and use cell fuel more efficiently.”

So what is the science behind it?

There have been a number of scientific studies conducted on the effectiveness of Rhodiola and the science is encouraging! A study conducted in 2008 and published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that subjects taking 340 mg of Rhodiola daily for 10 weeks had a significant improvement in general anxiety disorder symptoms. A 2013 study proved that Rhodiola actually reduces inflammation and may prevent against neurotoxicity, an important finding that has potential ramifications in the cures for Alzheimer’s and many other neurodegenerative diseases. Yet another study, published in Planta Medica in 2009, found that regular use of Rhodiola Rosea “exerts an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental performance, particularly the ability to concentrate, and decreases cortisol response to awakening stress in burnout patients with fatigue syndrome.” And Physiology & Behavior found that salidroside, an active constituent of Rhodiola, may be effective in the treatment of binge-related eating disorders. Organic Facts states that Rhodiola can stimulate the production of NK cells [Natural killer cells that are innate to our immune systems and play an important role in fighting things like tumors and other virally-infected cells] in the stomach and spleen, “thereby improving the immune response and establishing homeostasis [balance] in the body.”

In my own experience, when I have taken Rhodiola as a supplement regularly, I have noticed a significant increase in my energy levels, and love knowing that I am fighting inflammation, helping my immune strength, and lowering my stress levels. When shopping for Rhodiola extract, make sure to look for products similar to the ones used in clinical trials that have 2-3% rosavin and 0.8-1% salidroside. You may want to start with 100 mg once a day for a week and then increase the dosage by 100 mg every week, up to 400 mg a day, if needed. And although it soothes anxiety, Rhodiola can often give an energy boost, so be sure to take it in the mornings so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep at all.

I love Sun Potions Rhodiola Powder mixed with water or tea.