Rhodiola rosea is a popular nootropic as this herb boasts a reputation for being a well-rounded cognitive enhancer that can also perk up physical performance.
Being a trusted adaptogen, Rhodiola has often been used for easing stress-related fatigue, improving stamina, enhancing brain health, and regulating the stress response to improve physical and mental performance.
In fact, well-documented evidence shows Rhodiola not only provides momentary calm but also improves the body’s response to long-term physical and mental stress.
While there are many benefits attributed to Rhodiola rosea, the three areas where it shines include combating fatigue, enhancing cognition, and stabilizing emotional wellbeing.
The Main Benefits Of Rhodiola Rosea
Compelling evidence from studies suggests that Rhodiola may be a natural remedy for people suffering from chronic or prolonged mental fatigue.
The plant exhibits immense effectiveness with its capacity to reduce symptoms of fatigue based on its adaptogenic properties and calming effects on the brain and body. [*]
Given its ability to balance brain chemicals such as serotonin and melatonin, of which the former energizes and the latter makes you sleepy, Rhodiola rosea can help fight physical and mental fatigue and even improve exercise performance by extension.
According to one study from Germany, Rhodiola extract may also improve burnout symptoms with significant effects already noticeable after the first week. [*]
Rhodiola rosea has the ability to improve cognitive performance in more ways than one. For instance, not only does it make users feel less tired by allowing them to focus better, but it also helps them accomplish tasks faster.
Other aspects of brain health covered by Rhodiola administration include alertness, orientation, and executive attention.
One study recruited 50 healthy adults giving them 400 mg of Rhodiola extract per day, standardized to 3 to 8% rosavin for 12 weeks. Researchers found a marked reduction in overall reaction time from baseline to week 12. There was a reduction in the divided attention task and a reduction in error rate as well.
Together, these findings suggest the beneficial effects of Rhodiola on improving complex attention functions and overall mental performance. [*]
In the realm of emotional wellbeing, Rhodiola interacts with the HPA axis impacting the adrenal glands. It helps regulate the secretion of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, during stressful situations which helps support energy levels and optimize concentration. [*]
While Rhodiola may not eliminate stress entirely, it can certainly help manage its effects to make it more tolerable. Various studies indicate that Rhodiola helps prevent physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion in stressful environments and promotes emotional well-being instead.
One such study showed significant improvement in fatigue symptoms among 161 participants, whereas another crossover study revealed favorable outcomes in perception and cognition among physicians working the graveyard shift. [*] [*]
The herb has also been fairly effective in reducing symptoms of mild to moderate depression and mood-related anxiety.
In one controlled trial, patients with moderate depression received two Rhodiola doses of 340 mg daily. Study findings confirmed that Rhodiola extract possessed antidepressant effects which helped improve mood over the six weeks of Rhodiola administration. [*]
So, if you struggle with disrupted mood, depressive symptoms, and lack of energy and motivation, it may be a good idea to add a Rhodiola supplement to your daily routine to improve your physical and mental well-being.
Other purported benefits of Rhodiola include improving athletic performance, correcting erectile dysfunction, and some possible anti-carcinogenic potential.
How Long Does Rhodiola Rosea Stay In Your System?
Because it promises to do everything from stress relief to enhancing mental performance, Rhodiola rosea yields both short-and long-term benefits.
While its long-term benefits can be experienced through consistent use, its short-term efficacy means that it gets absorbed quickly into the bloodstream.
Its salidroside content is water soluble giving it high bioavailability and letting it absorbed into the body quickly.
It is believed that Rhodiola extract is fully absorbed through the digestive system within 24 hours. Its active compounds are thought to stay in your system for two to three days.
If you are taking it for stress, you may start to experience the effects of Rhodiola fairly quickly but it does take around 30-40 days to get the full experience. If you want to learn more about its effects, click here.
In the capacity of an adaptogen, Rhodiola starts to work within 30 minutes of administration allowing it to stay in your system and continue yielding effects for four to six hours. Research indicates that it is best absorbed on an empty stomach.
Rhodiola Rosea Dosage
Long-term use of Rhodiola Rosea in low doses is seen as more effective than using it in the short term with higher doses.
The dosage along with the intent of taking Rhodiola will determine how long it takes for the herb to work.
For instance, if you’re looking to experience the calming benefits of Rhodiola, they can come relatively quickly. But, if you are taking it to improve memory, the effects of Rhodiola might take longer to become noticeable.
How To Take Rhodiola Rosea?
It is easy to supplement with Rhodiola rosea in different ways. It is available as a tincture, powder, or capsule and you can choose the option which suits you best.
For the tincture, it is recommended to take 5 to 10 drops two to three times a day 15 to 30 minutes before a meal.
The powder form is easy to add to smoothies or shakes.
Many people prefer to take Rhodiola in capsule form where the typical dosage is around 500 mg taken once daily.
The one thing to keep in mind when choosing a Rhodiola supplement is that the plant contains over 140 active ingredients. For optimal potency, choose Rhodiola supplements that have been standardized to include 3% rosavin and 1% salidroside at a minimum.
Studies show that these two bioactive compounds work in tandem at this ratio and are able to best decrease stress while optimizing the effects of Rhodiola.
In addition, since Rhodiola is an energizing adaptogen, it is recommended to use it in the morning or during the daytime.
Also, while consistency is key when taking Rhodiola supplements, it is a good idea to cap your Rhodiola intake by the three-month mark.
This means you should cycle your supplements by taking a break between regular dosage periods. Giving your body and mind intermittent breaks for at least a week or two before starting again will help prevent resistance to it.
It is safe to stop taking Rhodiola as there are no known withdrawal effects associated with its use. Many users simply take Rhodiola during periods of stress and stop its use once the stress subsides.
Safety Profile Of Rhodiola Rosea
While Rhodiola seems to boast a fairly favorable safety profile, some people may experience mild side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, upset stomach, headaches, or difficulty sleeping.
However, anyone with autoimmune diseases is advised to avoid Rhodiola as it can stimulate the immune system.
Likewise, anyone with diabetes or hypotension should also be careful since Rhodiola can lower both blood sugar and blood pressure.
As far as contraindications with medications go, Rhodiola does not seem to present any issues.
However, the only medications you may want to be cautious about are certain sedatives. Since Rhodiola triggers a calming effect, it may make your sedative more powerful than intended.
Given its versatile benefits, it’s easy to see that Rhodiola Rosea is an all-rounder adaptogen. It helps calm the mind in stressful situations and adapt to circumstances that would normally make you feel nervous, anxious, or perhaps even angry.
Its soothing effect relieves physical and mental stress which can help with reducing fatigue. Whether you decide to take it as a standalone supplement or as part of a nootropic stack is completely up to you for it is available in both forms.