What is it?
Rhodiola Rosea has been a staple in traditional medicine dating back to 77 AD with Greek physician Dioscorides first documenting the medical applications of the plant. Since then, rhodiola has been used by The Vikings, Chinese dynasties, and the Mongolians of central Asia.
Throughout history rhodiola has been primarily used as an anti-depressant, due to its ability to increase focus, improve mood, increase power, reduce anxiety and reduce the user’s perception of fatigue(RPE).
Numerous studies have evaluated the effects of rhodiola rosea on mood and depression with one study published in 2015 comparing its effectiveness it to Zoloft’s main active ingredient, Sertraline. Although it’s antidepressant effect was less pronounced than the prescription drug, there were significantly less side effects making it a favorable option for people with mild depression symptoms.
For individuals with severe depression symptoms, rhodiola rosea in combination with anti-depressive medication may alleviate some of the alleviate some of the common side effects of experienced with the prescription medicine.
When will I feel a benefit?
Although some users feel an immediate reduction in anxiety and stress, a 2015 study found that a 200mg dose twice daily for 14 days resulted in users experiencing a significant reduction in anxiety, stress, anger, confusion and depression.
Rhodiola’s clinical efficacy was evaluated in 2010 and numerous clinical trails illustrated that its anti-fatigue effect had a positive influence on metal performance, specifically in the patient's ability to concentrate on a demanding tasks.
The anti-fatigue effect and mood enhancement of rhodiola was further investigated in a 2013 double blind study, where 18 subjects either ingested 3mg per kg of bodyweight of rhodiola or placebo one hour before exercise. In comparison to the placebo group the rhodiola group experienced less fatigue and was able to outperform the placebo group .
Ok, but how does it work?
Rhodiola’s main mechanism of action is due to its interactions with the HPA-system short for the Hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, which is responsible for regulating stress levels via the secretion of cortisol into your blood. Although cortisol is responsible for providing energy in a fasting state by stimulating the formation of glucose, it reduces the synthesis of collagen in your joints and bones, and decreases amino acid uptake in the muscles all while also inhibiting protein synthesis. Rhodiola’s inhibition of stress and cortisol secretion helps prevent the onset of muscle wasting and proteolysis caused by elevated cortisol in high stress individuals and increases the efficiency of the cardiovascular and respiration systems .