Rhodiola Rosea is my favorite botanical adaptogen. I recommend it to customers and clients that suffer from “21st-century stress syndrome”, which can manifest as anxiety, fatigue, “burnout”, stress, cognitive decline, and depression. I personally have used it with excellent results as an anti-fatigue agent and ergogenic aid. Rhodiola belongs to a class of botanicals known as adaptogens. Other well-known adaptogens include Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng, Schisandra, and Ashwagandha. An adaptogen is any compound that induces a nonspecific immunity and normalizing effect. In short, adaptogens help to prevent the physical and chemical effects of stress on the body, and their mechanism of action is primarily nootropic. Usage of Rhodiola (also known as Arctic root or Golden root) dates back several thousand years to early communities in Europe, Asia, Russia, and Nordic regions. Apparently, Vikings used it to preserve robustness (this may be speculative). Rhodiola is exceptionally safe with no side effects or interactions being reported. There are reliable and consistent scientific data showing a health benefit for the following uses:
- Improvement in cognition related to fatigue.
- Increase in subjective well-being related to stress and fatigue.
- Improvement in mood. Rhodiola increases serotonin levels (serotonergic).
Single double-blind studies or multiple cohort studies have investigated Rhodiola for its positive effects on the stress response, muscle damage, processing accuracy, and longevity.
Michael K. Chase, MS, NTP
Nutrition Science and Dietetics