RHODIOLA Overview Information
Rhodiola is a plant. The root is used as medicine.
Rhodiola is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them.
Rhodiola is used for increasing energy, stamina, strength and mental capacity; and as a so-called “adaptogen” to help the body adapt to and resist physical, chemical, and environmental stress. It is also used for improving athletic performance, shortening recovery time after long workouts, improving sexual function; for depression; and for heart disorders such as irregular heartbeat and high cholesterol.
Some people use rhodiola for treating cancer, tuberculosis, and diabetes; preventing cold and flu, aging, and liver damage; improving hearing; strengthening the nervous system; and enhancing immunity.
Rhodiola is native to the arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and Alaska. It has a long history of use as a medicinal plant in Iceland, Sweden, France, Russia, and Greece. It is mentioned by the Greek physician Dioscorides as early as the first century AD.
Some people use the term “arctic root” as the general name for this product; however, arctic root is actually a trademarked name for a specific commercial extract.
How does it work?
Rhodiola extracts might help protect cells from damage, regulate heartbeat, and have the potential for improving learning and memory. However, none of these effects have been studied in humans.
- Altitude sickness. There is unclear evidence on the effect of rhodiola for preventing altitude sickness. In an early study, taking rhodiola twice daily improved sleep quality and oxygen absorption in to the blood as well as an altitude sickness medication (acetazolamide) in adults living at high altitudes. Another study found that rhodiola did not improve symptoms.
- Improving athletic performance. There is conflicting evidence on the effectiveness of rhodiola in improving athletic performance.
- Bladder cancer. Early research suggests that rhodiola might provide some benefits in bladder cancer, but does not reduce the risk for relapse.
- Depression. Early research shows that taking rhodiola might improve symptoms of depression after 6 weeks of treatment in people with mild-to-moderately severe depression.
- Fatigue. Early evidence suggests that rhodiola might decrease fatigue in stressful situations. A specific rhodiola extract seems to decrease fatigue and increase a sense of well-being in students taking exams, night-shift workers, and sleep-deprived military cadets.
- Anxiety. Early evidence suggests that specific rhodiola extract (Rhodax) might lower anxiety in people with a condition called generalized anxiety disorder.
- Tuberculosis. An early study found that taking a product containing rhodiola (Immunoxel) daily for three months along with anti-tuberculosis therapy provided beneficial results. The effect of rhodiola alone is unclear.
- Stress-associated heart disorders.
- High cholesterol.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Hearing loss.
- Sexual problems.
- Increasing energy.
- Other conditions.
RHODIOLA Side Effects & Safety
Rhodiola is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth, short-term (for up to 6-10 weeks). The safety of long-term use is not known. The potential side effects of rhodiola are not known.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information about the safety of taking Rhodiola if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
The appropriate dose of rhodiola depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for rhodiola. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.