Reading Time: 7 mins
Acute Stress Versus Chronic Stress
Adapting to Life’s Challenges and Managing Ongoing Stress
Energy, Focus and Mental Balance
Physical Energy and Endurance
In addition to fueling the brain, Rhodiola rosea has also been shown to improve physical endurance, even after taking it once. In a study of 18 subjects given a one-time dose of the herb, improvements were found in their physical performance, and levels of exertion.6 Positive results were found in another study of 24 participants in the length of time to exhaustion during exercise.7 Participants were able to exercise for a longer time before getting exhausted. This shows that Rhodiola Rosea can improve physical energy and endurance.
Bolstering Mood, Naturally
Considering its effects on neurotransmitters, it comes as no surprise that Rhodiola has also been found to be quite helpful in supporting a balanced and healthy mood. In a gold standard clinical trial of 57 subjects randomized to twelve weeks of either Rhodiola rosea extract, an anti-depressant drug, or a placebo, Rhodiola produced less antidepressant effect compared to the anti-depressant, but resulted in significantly fewer adverse events and was better tolerated, prompting researchers to suggest it may be a preferable option for people with mild to moderate depression.8 An additional review of literature published in 2016 also concluded that Rhodiola rosea acts on multiple body targets to regulate our body’s response to stress, and affects part of the hormonal, neurotransmitter receptor and molecular networks associated with a bolstered mood.9
Take Home Message
1. Panossian A, Wikman G. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010;3(1):188-224.
3. 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 : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology. 2000;7(2):85-89.
4. 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 : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology. 2000;7(5):365-371.
5. Olsson EM, von Scheele B, Panossian AG. 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 medica. 2009;75(2):105-112.
6. Noreen EE, Buckley JG, Lewis SL, Brandauer J, Stuempfle KJ. The effects of an acute dose of Rhodiola rosea on endurance exercise performance. Journal of strength and conditioning research / National Strength & Conditioning Association. 2013;27(3):839-847.
7. De Bock K, Eijnde BO, Ramaekers M, Hespel P. Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism. 2004;14(3):298-307.
8. Mao JJ, Xie SX, Zee J, et al. Rhodiola rosea versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology. 2015;22(3):394-399.
9. Amsterdam JD, Panossian AG. Rhodiola rosea L. as a putative botanical antidepressant. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology. 2016;23(7):770-783.