Rhodiola: Benefits Of The Sunshine Herb
If there was ever a herb to cheer you up, it’s got to be Rhodiola rosea. Rhodiola benefits specific conditions, as well as general good health. And we all know that’s where true happiness begins.
Rhodiola has many names, including golden root, roseroot, Arctic root or King’s crown, my favourite would have to be ‘the sunshine herb’.
What’s not to smile at about that!?
I’ll admit we’re not the first to know about Rhodiola’s amazing properties. Not even close. The history of this wonder herb goes back thousands of years.
For a start, the Greeks documented the medical applications of the plant. The Vikings used Rhodiola for fearsome strength and stamina, Chinese emperors sent expeditions to Siberia to ‘procure the golden root’ and Mongolian shamans prescribed Rhodiola tea for tuberculosis and cancer.
It was also traditionally given to people in Russia and Scandinavia to get through the long, cold, dark winters - both by increasing vitality and reducing stress.
That’s a pretty impressive CV, if you ask me!
Today, lucky for us, Rhodiola is the subject of much scientific study. This is due to its benefits for fatigue, athletic performance, longevity, cognition, cardiovascular health, depression and even appetite regulation.
In short, Rhodiola benefits were known long before modern science began proving them.
So what does it look like, and how do we use it?
The Rhodiola plant is a small green shrub, with bright yellow flowers (quite fitting for the sunshine herb!). It can be found growing in cold climates, at high altitudes, and even throughout the arctic.
The root is used for medicinal preparations. For our Athletic Greens formula for example, we use Rhodiola Root Dry Extract.
Rhodiola Is A Classic Adaptogen
If you don’t know what an adaptogen is, I’ll start by telling you, they’re awesome.
An adaptogen is a natural substance that helps the human body ‘adapt’ to stress.
How do they do that?
Adaptogens are thought to exert a wide range of beneficial, balancing effects that neither stimulate nor suppress, but instead promote homeostasis (the natural balance of bodily functions).
One theory on how adaptogens work is ‘hormesis’.
It suggests that small stressors - like the semi-toxic chemicals in plants - actually stimulate the body positively, prompting it to react, adapt and become stronger as a result.
This goes for Rhodiola, too.
The Most Notable Rhodiola Benefits And Features
Aside from being an awesome adaptogen, Rhodiola has an incredible array of benefits.
What I really like about this herb is that it helps with issues that are more commonplace and affect a lot of people.
Here’s a bit more detail about that. And I promise that once I go deep into the Rhodiola benefits, you’ll quickly understand why it’s an indispensable ingredient for Athletic Greens.
Important compounds found in Rhodiola include:
Rosavins - a group of anti-stress compounds, not found in other plants;
Tyrosol and Salidroside - sometimes known as Rhodioloside or Rhodosin;
Procyanidins, some phenolics plus beta-sitosterol.
The most notable Rhodiola benefits include:
✔ Anti-fatigue effects - especially in prolonged stressful situations
✔ As an antioxidant - including for the brain
✔ Good for longevity
✔ Enhanced physical performance and stamina
✔ For brain health and improved memory - in ageing, dementia and amnesia
✔ Support for depression and anxiety - Rhodiola has been shown to increase serotonin in the brain
✔ Appetite regulation - may reduce episodes of binge eating - especially in combination with St. John’s Wort
✔ Protective of the heart - and may lower blood pressure.
✔ May reduce carbohydrate absorption and fat accumulation
✔ May reduce the risk of cancer - specifically bladder, breast and stomach.
The most evidence exists for the use of Rhodiola for:
→ Chronic fatigue syndrome
→ Depression - it’s effective for mild to moderate depression and reduces the side-effects of antidepressant medications
→ Addiction - including Nicotine
→ Diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome
→ Cardiovascular disease
→ Improved athletic performance
And there’s more! Other reported benefits (these require further study) include:
→ Amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
→ Impotence and erectile dysfunction
→ Improved immunity
→ Post-workout muscle soreness
→ Low thyroid function
→ Estrogen dominance
→ Slows bone loss
How To Maximise Rhodiola Benefits
To fight fatigue, doses as low as 50 mg have been reported to be effective. For general health, 100 - 200 mg is recommended. For acute stress, doses more commonly fall in the 300 - 680 mg range.
What I find interesting is that the effects of Rhodiola are like a ‘bell-curve’. More is not necessarily better, and above 680 mg, the benefits appear to reduce.
There are no major side-effects or interactions recorded for Rhodiola. However if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, taking prescribed medication or sensitive to herbs, you should take care and check with your medical practitioner before trying it. (The same advice goes for most supplements.)
Thanks to its effects on mental stimulation, Rhodiola may cause insomnia if taken before bed, so you might want to try it in the morning to kickstart your day.
With so many benefits - and a wealth of research - it’s tough to summarise why Rhodiola rules.
But, as I said earlier, I think the beauty of Rhodiola is that it can help people with many common issues.
Perhaps most exciting is its role in mental health, its positive effect on cognition and mood - and as a possible alternative to antidepressant medication.
It offers serious energy if you’re tired and stressed
It also offers antioxidant support for the ageing body
There’s the long term health benefits such as cancer prevention, diabetes prevention and cardiovascular disease prevention.
And then, of course, there’s all the ways it works with the other ingredients in Athletic Greens.
Rhodiola works well with the other adaptogens in Athletic Greens which help people adapt to stress, including Eleuthero, Licorice and Ashwagandha. It can also work well with Gotu Kola for combating depression.
If you’ve read this far, I’m pretty sure I don’t need to convince you any further. This herb is known to stave off many of the common issues we can all face from time to time.
Now you can take your Athletic Greens, knowing that Rhodiola is in there and fighting in your corner all the way!