Let me be clear from the outset, rhodiola rosea changed 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 follow us on social media know I talk openly about my mental health struggles and regular bouts 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.
Rhodiola rosea really is a super power, and a supplement I think everyone should be taking.
Let’s explore it further…
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 follow me on social media 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.
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.
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.
It’s important to purchase ashwagandha as pure root on original cuts of the root – you’ll find my only recommended retailer below under Where to purchase ashwagandha.
Fist time consuming ashwagandha
If it’s your first time consuming ashwagandha, it’s important you appreciate its strength physically and mentally.
Start with mixing 1tsp of ashwagandha into your nutribullet and monitor how you feel throughout the day.
If the experience feels potent for you, try reducing it to 0.5tsp, or until you find a quantity that works for you to consume daily, without overwhelming you.
If 1tsp feels fine, try taking it daily, monitoring how you feel each day, and taking a break if you feel your mood progressing into manic joy (seriously, it’s a very real risk!).
Regular consumer of ashwagandha
If, like me, you’re well accustomed to ashwagandha, and some of the many other adaptogens that enhance mental clarity, cognitive performance, and sexual experience, I recommend up to 3/4’s of a 1tbsp (flat, not heaped).
Flavouring of ashwagandha
In larger quantities, ashwagandha can overpower the flavour of your shake, making it a little gritty, so make sure to include frozen fruits in the shake to sweeten the deal.
I recommend frozen berries, strawberries, and pineapple.
If that’s not enough for you, you can always add 1tsp of honey or a little sweetener.
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.
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.
We purchase our ashwagandha supplements from Just Ingredients, a company based in the South East of England who specialise in quality ingredients, imported from source to pass savings onto the customer.
It’s important to us morally that we support small businesses where we can, and more so during these difficult times is it important to redistribute income across small businesses.
With a focus on high quality goods, and imported from source, we love everything Just Ingredients stands for.
Here’s a snippet of their values as an organisation:
With a 4.7 stat rating on Reviews.io, it’s clear their customers think as highly of them as we do!
National Library of Medicine (1) l Pu WL, Zhang MY, Bai RY, Sun LK, Li WH, Yu YL, Zhang Y, Song L, Wang ZX, Peng YF, Shi H, Zhou K, Li TX. Anti-inflammatory effects of Rhodiola rosea L.: A review. Biomed Pharmacother. 2020 Jan;121:109552. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2019.109552. Epub 2019 Nov 9. PMID: 31715370.
National Library of Medicine (2) l Lekomtseva Y, Zhukova I, Wacker A. Rhodiola rosea in Subjects with Prolonged or Chronic Fatigue Symptoms: Results of an Open-Label Clinical Trial. Complement Med Res. 2017;24(1):46-52. doi: 10.1159/000457918. Epub 2017 Feb 17. PMID: 28219059.
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