Rhodiola for stress, fatigue, depression side effects
November 20 2016

Stress reduction naturally, better natural energy, less fatigue
Rhodiola rosea, also known as golden or Arctic root,  grows in the Arctic regions of eastern Siberia.  Rhodiola is a popular plant in traditional medical systems in Eastern Europe and Asia. Russians have drunk rhodiola tea for centuries as an energy booster. Russian and Chinese scientists have researched the benefits of rhodiola extract for several decades. Dozens of species of rhodiola grow wild in nature.

Rhodiola extract has a reputation for stimulating the nervous system, decreasing depression, enhancing work performance, eliminating fatigue, and preventing high altitude sickness.

Adaptogen, stress fighter?
Rhodiola rosea has been categorized as an adaptogen by Russian researchers, similar to ginseng, due to its observed ability to increase resistance to a variety of chemical, biological, and physical stressors. The adaptogenic, heart and lung protective, and central nervous system activities of Rhodiola rosea have been attributed primarily to its ability to influence levels and activity of monoamines and opioid peptides such as beta-endorphins.

Sexual performance, libido
Rhodiola enhances sexual activity, but not as potently as other sexual herbs such as horny goat weed, tongkal ali, LJ100, or tribulus terrestris extract. You can learn more about Tribulus Terrestris Extract.

Dosage, how much to take, timing, when to take
Q. I would like to know why a rhodiola supplement bottle I bought has instructions that states to use it twice a day, before breakfast and dinner on an empty stomach. Can you tell me what the reason is for 2 separate doses instead of taking the rhodiola herbal extract once a day?
A. There are many rhodiola products on the market and they have different instructions written on the bottle in terms of how to use this herb. Often not enough human research is available to determine the best way to take, the best timing, and the ideal dosage of herbal supplements. Also, many or most of the instructions on bottles of supplements are not written by doctors or herbal specialists, but are written by company staff, marketers, promoters, or others with minimal nutritional knowledge, who may have little or no clue on how to take supplements and thus will write the instructions on dosage and usage based on little solid scientific evidence or practical knowledge. We prefer rhodiola being taken once in the morning. Certain herbs and supplements can cause insomnia if taken late in the day


Stress and Fatigue
Rhodiola extract may be helpful in increasing energy and decreasing mental fatigue. The objective was to investigate the stimulating and normalizing effect of the adaptogen Rhodiola rosea extract SHR-5 in foreign students during a stressful examination period. The study was performed as a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled with low repeated dose regime. The study drug and the placebo were taken for 20 days by the students during an examination period. The physical and mental performance were assessed before and after the period, based on objective as well as on subjective evaluation. The most significant improvement in the SHR-5 group was seen in physical fitness, mental fatigue and neuro-motoric tests. The self-assessment of the general well-being was also significantly better in the verum group. No significance was seen in the correction of text tests or a neuro-muscular tapping test. The overall conclusion is that the study drug gave significant results compared to the placebo group but that the dose level probably was suboptimal.

Study with doctors working night shift in a hospital. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of repeated low-dose treatment with a standardized extract SHR/5 of rhizome Rhodiola rosea L, (RRE) on fatigue during night duty among a group of 56 young, healthy physicians. The effect was measured as total mental performance calculated as Fatigue Index. The tests chosen reflect an overall level of mental fatigue, involving complex perceptive and cognitive cerebral functions, such as associative thinking, short-term memory, calculation and ability of concentration, and speed of audio-visual perception. These parameters were tested before and after night duty during three periods of two weeks each: a) a test period of one RRE/placebo tablet daily, b) a washout period and c) a third period of one placebo/RRE tablet daily, in a double-blind cross-over trial. The perceptive and cognitive cerebral functions mentioned above were investigated using 5 different tests. A statistically significant improvement in these tests was observed in the treatment group during the first two weeks period. No side-effects were reported for either treatment noted. These results suggest that RRE can reduce general fatigue under certain stressful conditions.

A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue.
Planta Med. 2009. Olsson EM, von Schéele B, Panossian AG. Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
The aim of the study was to assess the efficacy of the standardised extract SHR-5 of roots of Rhodiola in the treatment of individuals suffering from stress-related fatigue. A total of 60 individuals were randomised into two groups, one of which received four tablets daily of SHR-5 extract (576 mg extract/day), while a second received four placebo tablets daily. Repeated administration of R. ROSEA extract SHR-5 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.

buy Rhodiola Extract pill
Full Spectrum Rhodiola rosea root combines an extract standardized to 0.8% rosavin with whole rhodiola root extract, providing a broad spectrum of rhodiola constituents.

Rhodiola rosea root is a legendary adaptogenic tonifier that comes from the polar arctic regions of Eastern Siberia. Among traditional people it is highly valued as a strengthening tonic to increase physical and mental stamina.

 Buy Rhodiola extract pill benefit for depression

Supplement facts:
Rhodiola root extract (standardized to 0.8% saldroside and 0.8% rosavins) root extract 4:1.

Q. I recently read an article on rhodiola extract in Science News which states that in 1989 the then Soviet government standardized the supplement to contain 3% rosavins. I then looked at a couple of rhodiola extract supplements on-line and found that many of them claim to contain 4% rosavins ( and something called a salidroside, usually at 1%). Your product information states the content of your supplement to contain only 0.8% rosavins as well as 0.8% salidrosides. The dosages you recommend also differ, although they sound more conservative, they may be a more informed and cautious approach. Could you please explain the discrepancies I have found between your product and these others. Understandably, you can only speak directly about your own, but perhaps you may have some insight as to the practices of other manufacturers or suppliers.
A. A long time ago most herbs used to be available only as regular powder or leaf form, or as tinctures. Now, almost every herb has different extract concentrations. Different raw material suppliers will have different extract concentrations of rhodiola or other herbs. Since human research with these various extract potencies is limited, it is difficult to claim that one extract percentage or potency is better than another. Sometimes if an herbal extract is too concentrated and of high potency, it can cause more side effects. Just because one organization or one country has chosen a particular extract percentage as a standard does not mean that particular extract is the best option. Different scientists, organizations, and medical doctors can have different viewpoints on this topic. The bottom line is that the ideal extract potency is what works for any particular person rather than what is recommended or chosen by an organization. And the only way for a consumer to tell is to try the product in various dosages to see which amount works best for their unique condition.

Suggested Use:  One rhodiola tablet a few days a week, preferably in the morning a few minutes before breakfast.

Composition of rhodiola extract
Rhodiola rosea contains tyrosol, salidroside and rosavins (rosavin, rosarin, and rosin).

Rhodiola rosea, or ‘golden root’, is a popular plant in traditional medicine in Eastern Europe and Asia, with a reputation for improving depression, enhancing work performance, eliminating fatigue and lack of energy due to intense physical and psychological stress.

Antioxidant benefit
Rhodiola extract may protect hypoxia-induced pancreatic injury in two ways. It prevents hypoxia-induced biological changes by increasing intracellular oxygen diffusion and efficiency of oxygen utilization. Alternatively, it reduces hypoxia-induced oxidative damage by its antioxidant activities.

Blood thinning, blood clot, Coumadin, warfarin
I Googled “Rhodiola rosea and coumadin” and got: Rhodiola Complex. Rhodiola herb has few side effects; however the herb may thin your blood, so discontinue use before surgery and consult your doctor if you take blood-thinning medications like Coumadin (warfarin) or supplements like vitamin E. What are your thoughts about combining Coumadin warfarin with rhodiola rosea extract?
There are many herbs that have blood thinning potential. Whether it has more potent blood thinning potential than other herbs such as ginkgo or garlic is difficult to say. Herbs should be used cautiously by those on Coumadin. We have not seen direct studies regarding the role of rhodiola rosea supplements on blood clotting parameters.

Brain cell influence
Effects of Rhodiola rosea on level of 5-hydroxytryptamine, cell proliferation and differentiation, and number of neuron in cerebral hippocampus of rats with depression induced by chronic mild stress
Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2008; Division of Neurosciences, Department of Histology and Embryology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.
To explore the effects of Rhodiola rosea on the level of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), cell proliferation and differentiation, and number of neuron in cerebral hippocampus of rats with depression induced by chronic mild stress. Fifty rats were divided into 5 groups: normal control, untreated, negative control, positive control and Rhodiola rosea-treated groups. There were 10 rats in each group. Except for normal control group, depression was induced in rats by chronic mild stress. The depressive rats in the other four groups were intragastrically administered with 0.5% sodium carboxymethycellulose, fluoxetine and Rhodiola rosea for 3 weeks. After the treatment, the content of 5-HT in the hippocampus was detected by high-performance liquid chromatography. The proliferating cells and differentiated cells in the hippocampus were labeled by bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) or/and beta-tubulin III immunohistochemistry, and the number of hippocampal neurons was counted by morphometry. Compared with the normal control group, the content of 5-HT, number of BrdU positive cells, percentage of BrdU and beta-tubulin III double labeled cells and number of neurons in cerebral hippocampus in the Rhodiola rosea-treated group were increased and recovered to normal level.  Rhodiola rosea may enhance the level of 5-HT and promote the proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells in the hippocampus of the depressive rats, and may play a role in saving injured neurons of the hippocampus.

Cancer, tumor
Rhodiola extract shows some promise to combat cancer. Antitumor and antimetastatic effects of an official extract of Rhodiola rosea were established in experiments on inbred and noninbred mice and rats with transplantable NK/Ly tumor, Ehrlich’s adenocarcinoma, melanoma B16 and Lewis lung carcinoma. Application of the said preparation was followed by an increase in survival.
Oral administration of Rhodiola rosea extract to a small group of patents (n = 12) with superficial bladder carcinoma (T1G1-2) improved the characteristics of the urothelial tissue integration, parameters of leukocyte integrins and T-cell immunity. The average frequency of relapses for these patients has been found to fall twice, though statistical differences were not significant.

Cardiac health
Rhodiola capsules decrease the oxygen consumption of myocardium and oxygen consumption index in anesthetic dogs, decrease the coronary artery resistance, but have no marked effect on the coronary artery blood flow. The capsules also have the function of decreasing blood pressure and slowing heart rate.

Rhodiola and depression. mood effect
an extract of rhodiola rosea roots and rhizomes has shown benefit in patients with mild to moderate depression. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of rhodiola rosea in patients diagnosed with depression, published in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, utilized a proprietary Rhodiola rosea root extract called SHR-5, a standardized extract used in the product Arctic Root produced by the Swedish Herbal Institute in Gothenburg, Sweden. The 6-week trial was conducted on 89 subjects, aged 18 to 70, who had clinical depresson. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first group received 2 tablets once daily (340 mg/day) of SHR-5, the second group received 2 tablets twice daily (680 mg/day) of SHR-5, and the third group was given 2 placebo tablets once daily.

Monoamine oxidase inhibition by Rhodiola rosea roots.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2009. van Diermen D, Marston A, Reist M, Carrupt PA, Hostettmann K. Laboratory of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Geneva, University of Lausanne, Quai Ernest-Ansermet Geneva 4, Switzerland.
Rhodiola rosea is traditionally used in Eastern Europe and Asia to stimulate the nervous system, enhance physical and mental performance, treat fatigue, psychological stress and depression. In order to investigate the influence of Rhodiola rosea L. roots on mood disorders, three extracts were tested against monoamine oxidases (MAOs A and B) in a microtitre plate bioassay. Methanol and water extracts gave the highest inhibitory activity against MAOs. The methanol and water extracts exhibited respectively inhibitions of 92% and 84% on MAO A and 81% and 88% on MAO B, at a concentration of 100mug/ml. The most active compound (rosiridin) presented an inhibition over 80% on MAO B). The present investigation demonstrates that Rhodiola rosea L. roots have potent anti-depressant activity by inhibiting MAO A and may also find application in the control of senile dementia by their inhibition of MAO B.

Erectile dysfunction, impotence
Q. Is rhodiola an erectile dysfunction herb?
A. Yes, it can, but keep the dosages low until you learn how each one is influencing you. Some people are very sensitive to herbs and others need larger amounts to notice an effect. Rhodiola may slightly help with erectile dysfunction but other herbs are more potent.

Memory and Learning
Studies with mice did not show rhodiola extract to have much of an effect on memory.

What’s in Rhodiola extract?
There are dozens of substances in Rhodiola and it is difficult to say which are the active ingredients. The dried rhizomes contain 0.05% essential oil with the main chemical classes: monoterpene hydrocarbons (25.40%), monoterpene alcohols (23.61%) and straight chain aliphatic alcohols (37%). n-Decanol (30%), geraniol (12%) and 1,4-p-menthadien-7-ol (5%) were the most abundant volatiles detected in the essential oil, and a total of 86 compounds were identified. Geraniol was identified as the most important rose-like odour compound besides geranyl formate, geranyl acetate, benzyl alcohol and phenylethyl alcohol. Floral notes such as linalool and its oxides, nonanal, decanal, nerol and cinnamyl alcohol highlight the flowery scent of rose root rhizomes. Additional molecules include rosavin, rosin, and rosarin, salidroside and lotaustralin.

Availability, how it is sold over the counter
Rhodiola is sold in capsule, tablet, and tea form. Dosage ranges from 100 to 400 mg a day.

Q. On one website it says to take “one half tablet to one full tablet one time per day.”  but the Planetary Formulas bottles suggested use says ” take 2 rhodiola rosea tablets twice daily.” This is quite a discrepancy in dosage info, a half tablet as opposed to up to 4 tablets daily.
A. A rhodiola rosea extract product is made by Planetary Formulas. Manufacturers place suggested guidelines for usage for their products that sometimes are too high. Our research staff is more cautious and we want people to avoid side effects, especially people who are very sensitive to herbs. As such we prefer people use lower amounts of rhodiola rosea extract until they get a good sense of how it is working for them and whether they are getting any side effects of overstimulation or rapid heart beat.

Rhodiola for more stamina?
Rhodiola rosea, also known as golden root, grows in the Arctic regions of eastern Siberia. Rhodiola is a popular plant in traditional medical systems in Eastern Europe and Asia. Russians have drunk rhodiola tea for centuries as an energy booster. Russian and Chinese scientists have researched the benefits of Rhodiola for several decades. The purpose of this study conducted at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. was to two-fold. To investigate the effect of acute and long term 4-week Rhodiola rosea intake on physical capacity, muscle strength, and reaction time. During the acute phase of the study, subjects were given 200-mg of Rhodiola rosea extract and the results compared a few days later when they were given placebo pills. Subjects given rhodiola had sligthly more stamina. The time to exhaustion during exercise was 17.2 minutes compared to 16.8 min on placebo. Also, lung ventilation capacity improved during rhodiola treatment. In a second phase of the study, subjects subjects ingested 200 mg of rhodiola for 4 weeks. The results showed that there was no difference in stamina when compared to placebo.
It appears that Rhodiola rosea intake for a day or two can improve endurance exercise capacity, but long term use does not make much of a difference. Perhaps using lower dosages may have been more effective since high dosages can cause insomnia and reduce energy levels. Practically speaking, it would make sense to take breaks from use. Perhaps this recommendation could also apply to ginseng and other adaptogens.

Weight loss
Q. Does rhodiola help with weight lose, burn fat?
A. We are not aware of research regarding the role of rhodiola and weight loss or fat burning.

Mental effects
Q. According to an article, it states that “Starting in the brain stem, Rhodiola rosea promotes release of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine in ascending pathways that activate the cerebral cortex and the limbic system. Consequently, the cognitive (thinking, analyzing, evaluating, calculating, and planning) functions of the cerebral cortex and the attention, memory, and learning functions of the prefrontal and frontal cortex are enhanced.” Therefore, I do understand that rhodiola rosea improves prefrontal cortex function. However, I am unclear if this also applies to use of rhodiola rosea for prefrontal cortex function dysfunction caused by sleep deprivation. In other words, when a person has sleep loss and therefore has prefrontal cortex function impairment, does consumption of rhodiola rosea help to reverse this impairment?
A. Rhodiola extract does cause alertness as do many herbs such as ginseng. Rhodiola rosea may be appropriate to take at times during the day if there has been inadequate sleep and alertness is required, but the most important thing is not to take too much so that it is out of the system by bedtime and sleep is not interfered with.

Rhodiola extract references
Bocharova OA, Matveev BP, Baryshnikov AIu, Figurin KM, Serebriakova RV, Bodrova NB. The effect of a Rhodiola rosea extract on the incidence of recurrences of a superficial bladder cancer. Urol Nefrol (Mosk) 1995.

Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H. Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue–a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine 2000.
Dement’eva LA, Iaremenko KV. Effect of a Rhodiola extract on the tumor process in an experiment. Vopr Onkol 1987.
Maslova LV, Kondrat’ev BIu, Maslov LN, Lishmanov IuB. The cardioprotective and antiadrenergic activity of an extract of Rhodiola rosea in stress. Eksp Klin Farmakol 1994.
Kelly GS.Rhodiola rosea: a possible plant adaptogen.Altern Med Rev 2001.
Spasov AA, Wikman GK, Mandrikov VB, Mironova IA, Neumoin VV. A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of the stimulating and adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract on the fatigue of students caused by stress during an examination period with a repeated low-dose regimen. Phytomedicine 2000.

Arctic root
Q. What is rhodiola Arctic root?
A. Arctic Root is a registered rhodiola rosea product trademark. Apparently a person with the name Georg Wikmann of Swedish Herbal Institute invented the term in the early 1960’s in Russia.

Drug interactions
I was wondering if there are any drug interaction problems with Rhodiola Rosea. I also have been taking Goji, Glucosamine and Chondroitin, a Hair, Skin and Nail supplement and I also take Prilosec.
There are too many variables involved to be able to give a simple answer.