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Rhodiola Rosea

The natural root that reduces anxiety
and alleviates depression

James Kearslake
James Kearslake

Small business owner,
writer, mental
health advocate

Table of Contents

Rhodiola rosea changed my life

Let me be clear from the outset; it really did change my life.

I’ve taken rhodiola rosea for 10 years now; originally on and off for a period of a few months, but now daily, as I recognise it’s critical to maintaining my mental wellbeing and managing my chronic depression.

Those who followed our former social enterprise LGBTQ Wellness know I have always have talked openly about my mental health struggles and that it’s taken me 35 years to overcome regular episodes of depression and suicidal ideation. 

Rhodiola rosea has been key to helping lift me from my darkest episodes, and offers me a natural remedy to maintaining a more balanced mind. It has become a critical component of my mental wellbeing toolkit.

Yet it isn’t solely for those who struggle with mental health conditions, depression or anxiety. Because it is an adaptogen, it offers countless benefits for the body and mind, including improved performance on the gym floor and increased productivity in the workplace.

A picture of the rhodiola rosea plant on a purple background_The natural root that reduces anxiety and alleviates

Rhodiola rosea really is a super power, and a supplement I think everyone should be taking.

What is Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola rosea is a perennial plant that grows in cold climates in the UK, Europe, North America, Asia and Russia.

Used for centuries across Siberia, Russians have consumed the root to battle fatigue, stress and improve endurance. Something the Western world is slowly adopting.

With over 140 active ingredients in the root, it is an entirely natural remedy to many physical and mental ailments. Yet, it remains a less widely used remedy to support mental health conditions, with anti-depressants being the world’s first route to mental health treatment, over holistic remedies.

Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea

Because it is an adaptogen, meaning it has properties that supports the body adapt to stress, anxiety and alleviate fatigue, rhodiola rosea has the following physical and mental wellbeing benefits:

1. Anti-inflammatory

In a world where our bodies undergo constant stressors from the external world, we subject our bodies to inflammatory responses resulting from pollution, chemicals, man made products, and mental stress. Chronic or long-term inflammation is known to be a significant contributor to diseases like asthma, skin conditions, obesity, cardiovascular or heart conditions, and cancers.

According to scientists, ‘Rhodiola rosea L. extracts … have been proved to exert anti-inflammatory activity in various pathological conditions, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic disease, arthritis, cancer etc.’ l National Library of Medicine (1)

The report goes on to conclude that although rhodiola rosea’s anti-inflammatory properties may not be as strong as clinical anti-inflammatory substances, it doesn’t have the same side effects that medication can have on the body.

Whether you’re aiming to alleviate discomfort from chronic physical ailments, or a minor training injury, the root’s anti-inflammatory properties can have proven benefits.

2. Supports Chronic or Temporary Fatigue

In a world that leaves us stressed, tired and worn out, whether you suffer chronic fatigue, or are experiencing a temporary period of fatigue, it’s a condition that can be debilitating to our lives.

Rhodiola rosea is proven to have a direct benefit to symptoms of fatigue with one week of consumption.

Scientists in Germany studied the effects of rhodiola rosea when consumed by 100 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. The results demonstrated “the greatest change was observed after 1 week of treatment. The fatigue symptoms continued to decline further, with statistically significant improvement at week 8.”

The scientists concluded rhodiola rosea “may be an effective treatment in subjects suffering from prolonged or chronic fatigue” l National Library of Medicine (2)

Additionally, as someone who experiences debilitating fatigue when going through a period of depression, I know rhodiola rosea can help regain some of my energy less. 

I would be lost without it.

3. Improves Energy Levels

It is rhodiola rosea’s adaptogenic properties that results in improved energy levels, physically and mentally.

An adaptogen has the power to return your body to a state of balance, or homeostasis, protect the body from the negative effects of stress, and promote balance in the brain.

These combined benefits, with its anti-inflammatory properties, means the body is experiencing less stress, and able to operate optimally. When we maintain optimal bio-environments, we achieve higher and sustained energy levels throughout the body.

4. Improves Mental Clarity

Expanding from point , rhodiola rosea’s adaptogenic and anti-inflammatory properties also reduces stress and neuroinflammation.

Stress and neuroinflammation can cause brain fog, tiredness, and an inability to focus. 

By tackling neuroinflammation we’re able to regain mental clarity, and experience the benefits of being energised mentally, feeling contentment, and find ourselves more productive in the workplace or with hobbies. Our increased productivity gives us an additional sense of achievement, further enhancing our feelings of contentment within ourselves. 

Those who have been with us a while know that I talk often of ‘addressing the root cause of an issue’. When we’re experiencing a migraine, brain fog, or are unable to focus, it isn’t coffee that will help us hit that deadline – it only dehydrates us, compounding symptoms further. Rhodiola rosea offers us a natural remedy to bring the body back into balance, and prevents the symptoms occurring in the first instance, offering us mental clarity for prolonged periods of time.

5. Reduces Anxiety

Often, anxiety stems from a feeling of unease or lack of control over our lives, and a fear of feeling anxious perpetuates our feelings of anxiety and worry. 

Due to it’s adaptogenic properties, rhodiola rosea supports the body’s ability to adapt to stressors and reduce anxiety, providing a marked improvement to an overall sense of wellbeing and control within our lives. 

The sense of control and wellbeing that it creates can further calm the nervous system, and alleviate feelings of worry or concern.

6. Alleviates Depression

Finally, as we’ve alluded to in previous points, rhodiola rosea can significantly improve the wellbeing of a person, and may alleviate their depression, or depressive feelings.

As someone who has lived with depression and suicidal ideation for 20 years, the inclusion of rhodiola rosea into my daily diet has transformed my life.

Critically, it helped me move off anti-depressants, and onto a natural remedy that brought my body into homeostasis. 

While anti-depressants may have artificially increased serotonin levels, the side effects of gastrointestinal issues, weight gain, and episodes of mania were not fun. I grew tired of it.

I particularly hated being on a tablet that forced weight gain, when I train so hard to maintain a lean physique. It felt like a continuous uphill battle – not an extra stress needed while trying to work through a depressive episode.

At 34, I’m still living with long-term mental health conditions, but these are well managed using a variety of tools in my mental health toolkit. One of which includes starting every day with my blessed rhodiola rosea.

Risks with Rhodiola Rosea

As with all new products consumed, rhodiola rosea may have side effects.

Taken in larger quantities, it may cause gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea.

If taken too late, or in too higher quantity, it may also cause sleep problems, anxiety, or agitation. Which is why it’s important to start with smaller doses and learn what your body can tolerate.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, I recommend consulting with qualified professionals on whether ashwagandha can be consumed – my research will not be including risks on this.

Rhodiola rosea may also interact with medications, so it is important to speak with your doctor before taking it alongside prescribed medication.

Where to Purchase Rhodiola Rosea

Available as an extract, capsule, or tincture, rhodiola rosea is available from many health food stores and online retailers.

We purchase our rhodiola rosea from various retailers on Amazon. – although we always recommend using a reputable brand with reviews, not purchasing the cheapest product you can find. When it comes to natural remedies, quality is always better than quantity.

Our Recommended Supplier - Focus Supplements

Having tried countless brands for my rhodiola, I now only purchase it from Focus Store.

They have their own website or you can purchase it from Amazon at the same price.

I’m not sure there they source their rhodiola, but the blend is always potent. Within hours of taking the supplement I begin to feel clearer, lighter, and far more joyful.

In contrast, I’ve purchased countless brands from Amazon where I’ve felt no change at all.

I’ve often found myself doubling up doses in an attempt to get the cognitive clarity I should be experiencing, and still find no change to my mental circumstances.

Purchase from Focus Store and I can assure you you’ll be experiencing cognitive clarity within hours of taking the supplement.

They’re also very reasonably priced versus other brands in the market.

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