5 More Mental Health Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea

Dr. Group
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on , Last Updated on

The Mental Health Benefits of Rhodiola rosea Life has its ups and its downs, and no one is immune from the mental effects of challenging times. Fortunately, whether you’re feeling down, anxious, or just wish to maintain a steady mood, natural approaches do exist. Getting adequate sleep and a balanced diet are fundamental, and exercise also offers dramatic results. [1] [2] Meditation, another stress-relieving and mind-balancing tool, can hone focus and may even slow age-related thinning of the frontal cortex. [3] Additionally, some plants and herbs, like Rhodiola rosea, offer bioactive chemicals that support the nutritional charge for mental vitality.

1. Encourages a Balanced Mood

To put it simply, the available data suggests that Rhodiola rosea can help support a balanced, uplifted mood. [4] In 2008, researchers at UCLA confirmed that Rhodiola is one of several herbs with the ability to subdue anxiety. [5] A fairly recent, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated Rhodiola rosea on mood imbalance and found it not only led to improvements in mood, but it also seemed to positively affect sleep quality. [6] These results have been noticed by many, and some have even suggested that Rhodiola may have potential to psychiatric drugs. [7]

2. Supports a Healthy Stress Response

Do you ever feel stressed? If so, you may want to review the results of this 2010 study, one that pitted stress against the supportive effects of Rhodiola rosea: Study participants who had complained of stress-related symptoms noted improvement within days of beginning a Rhodiola rosea supplementation regimen. Progress continued throughout the duration of the study and no serious side effects were reported. [8]

3. Mental Performance

Mental fatigue makes it difficult to focus, causing personal achievements and success to dwindle. The good news is that clinical trials show that Rhodiola rosea stimulates the central nervous system to fight the fatigue that so often stifles mental clarity. [9] Additionally, using animal models, research conducted by Chinese scientists suggests that Rhodiola rosea supplementation supports the brain by simultaneously saving injured neurons, thus encouraging the growth and development of brain cells. [10]

4. Does Rhodiola Alter Perception?

Perhaps one of the most interesting qualities of Rhodiola rosea is that it appears to alter perception, even to the point of impacting physical performance. While this sounds like a bad thing, it can actually pose positive benefits for human health. Research conducted by Gettysburg College found that persons who supplemented with Rhodiola rosea were able to complete strenuous exercises with less effort than when they had not taken the supplement. The effect was believed to be caused by an alteration of the participants’ perception on their individual effort. [11]

5. Nutritional Support for Parkinson’s Disease?

While Rhodiola is by no means a cure for Parkinson’s disease, Rhodiola rosea has grabbed the attention of those interested in supportive therapies for the disorder. Researchers at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences evaluated a multi-herb preparation that included Rhodiola rosea and reported thatfollowing supplementationantioxidant levels, immune function, and hormone levels were in normal proportions. Despite the research being preliminary, the finding is certainly an exciting and positive step for the potential future management of Parkinson’s disease. [12]

A Final Thought

Whether you’re experiencing brain fog, suffering from stress, or just wish to sharpen your focus, it’s clear that Rhodiola rosea is an herbal remedy you may want to consider. The research shows it’s an effective adaptogen with a track record of supporting cognitive outlets and mood. It’s also important to remember that mental health problems shouldn’t be self diagnosed. If you believe you’re clinically depressed or otherwise severely imbalanced, it’s best to seek out a trusted healthcare advisor. Never stop taking any prescribed medications without first talking to your prescribing physician.

Have you supplemented with Rhodiola rosea? What effects did you notice? Please leave a comment below and share your experience with us.

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References (11)
  1. Killgore WD. Effects of sleep deprivation on cognitions. Progress in Brain Research. 2010;185:105=29. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-53702-7.000007-5.
  2. Andreas Strohle. Physical activity, exercise, depression and anxiety disorders. Journal of Neural Transmission. June 2009, Volume 116, Issue 6, pp 777-784.
  3. Sara W. Lazar, Catherine E. Kerr, […], and Bruce Fischl. Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness. Neuroreport. Nov 28, 2005; 16(17): 1893-1897.
  4. Iovieno N, Dalton ED, Fava M, Mischoulon D. Second-tier natural antidepressants: review and critique. J Affect Disord. 2011 May;130(3):343-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2010.06.010.
  5. Bystritsky A, Kerwin L, Feusner JD. A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Mar;14(2):175-80. doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.7117.
  6. Darbinyan V, Aslanyan G, Amroyan E, Gabrielyan E, Malmström C, Panossian A. Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Nord J Psychiatry. 2007;61(5):343-8.
  7. Sarris J. Herbal medicines in the treatment of psychiatric disorders: a systematic review. Phytother Res. 2007 Aug;21(8):703-16.
  8. Edwards D, Heufelder A, Zimmermann A. Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms--results of an open-label study. Phytother Res. 2012 Aug;26(8):1220-5. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3712.
  9. Panossian A, Wikman G, Sarris J. Rosenroot (Rhodiola rosea): traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacy. Phytomedicine. 2010 Jun;17(7):481-93. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2010.02.002.
  10. Qin YJ, Zeng YS, Zhou CC, Li Y, Zhong ZQ. Effects of Rhodiola rosea on level of 5-hydroxytryptamine, cell proliferation and differentiation, and number of neuron in cerebral hippocampus of rats with depression induced by chronic mild stress. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2008 Dec;33(23):2842-6.
  11. Noreen EE, Buckley JG, Lewis SL, Brandauer J, Stuempfle KJ. The effects of an acute dose of Rhodiola rosea on endurance exercise performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Mar;27(3):839-47. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825d9799.
  12. Bocharov EV, Ivanova-Smolenskaya IA, Poleshchuk VV, Kucheryanu VG, Il'enko VA, Bocharova OA. Therapeutic efficacy of the neuroprotective plant adaptogen in neurodegenerative disease (Parkinson's disease as an example). Bull Exp Biol Med. 2010 Nov;149(6):682-4.

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