Nootropic: Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea

rhodiola roseaRhodiola Rosea is a natural adaptogen and nootropic which grows in cold regions. It has been used medicinally for hundreds of years to treat depression and stress.

Benefits: improves mood, reduces stress and fatigue, improves focus

Brand Names: n/a

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What is Rhodiola Rosea?


Rhodiola is a natural nootropic that grows in colder regions. It belongs to the Crassulaceae family and is found in the Arctic, mountainous areas including the Rocky Mountains, the Alps, and the Pyrenees. In certain European countries such as Russia and Scandinavia, Rhodilia has been used for hundreds of years by inhabitants to deal with stress and treat depression.

How Does Rhodiola Rosea Work?


Rhodiola inhibits MAO enzymes. When MAO enzymes are inhibited, the breakdown of certain neurotransmitters are slowed. In Rhodiola’s case, levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are elevated due to MAO inhibition.

Rhodiola also effects the opioid peptide beta-endorphin. [4] Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Endorphin production can relieve stress, cause feelings of well-being, and cause excitement.

Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea


  • Mood booster, effective for treating depression [4][10][11]
  • Improves physical and mental performance [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]
  • Reduces fatigue [1][2][3][4][8][9]
  • Improves concentration [5][6][7]
  • Prevents stress induced chances in weight-gain, appetite, and physical exercise

Should I Take Rhodiola Rosea?


If you are looking for a completely natural nootropic to take as an Adderall substitute then you can’t get better then Rhodiola. It boosts serotonin and dopamine levels just like Adderall while keeping them from breaking down. This nootropic will help you study and concentrate for prolonged periods, especially if you are fatigued or stressed out.

Rhodiola is also a great natural nootropic to add to your regimen if you commonly experience depression and/or stressful situations. I would start with a dose of 100mg taken twice daily and increase your dosage as needed.

Rhodiola Rosea Dosage Information


Rhodiola is typically sold in 100mg tablets or capsules. A standard dosage is one or two 100mg tablets taken daily. Take one dose in the morning and one in the early afternoon. If you are not getting the desired effects, it is perfectly acceptable to increase your dosage as high as 200mg, taken three times per day. One study administered doses ranging from 340-680mg to treat mild depression. No side effects were observed. [11]

Safety and Side Effects of Rhodiola Rosea


The most common side effects associated with Rhodiola include restlessness, irritability, and trouble sleeping. If you experience restlessness or irritability you should lower your dosage. For those with trouble sleeping, you should take your dose(s) earlier in the day. At very high doses, Rhodiola may cause rapid heartbeat. It is best not to combine Rhodiola with other stimulants such as caffeine until you have used it before without side effects. Taking Rhodiola right before bed will greatly increase your chances of insomnia.

Where Can I Buy Rhodiola Rosea?


Rhodiola Rosea is somewhat common and you may be able to find it locally at some herbal supplement stores. As with most nootropics it is readily available online.

Compare prices with our Buyer’s Guide (in progress), or Buy Rhodiola Rosea Now!

Rhodiola Rosea Studies


A study conducted in 2003 looked in Rhodiola’s effects on one’s mental capacity while under conditions of fatigue. The randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study was conducted on 161 cadets ranging from 19-21 years of age. The results of the study showed that Rhodiola had a significant anti-fatigue effect. Cadets who were administered doses of Rhodiola scored much better on the “antifatigue index” (1.0385-1.0195) when compared to the placebo group (.9046). [1]

A clinical trial was conducted in 2007 to assess the safety and effectiveness of Rhodiola for treatment of mild to moderate depression. The randomized, double-blind placebo controlled trial was conducted over 6 weeks. Participants ranged from the ages of 18-70. Effects of Rhodiola on the patients were observed on day 0 and day 42. Results showed no improvements by day 42 for the placebo group while at the same time showing improvements in overall depression, insomnia, and emotional instability for the group being administered Rhodiola. [10]

Cited Studies


1.  Shevtsov VA, Zholus BI, Shervarly VI, et al. (Mar 2003). “A randomized trial of two different doses of Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work”. Phytomedicine 10 (2-3): 95–105. doi:10.1078/094471103321659780. PMID 12725561.

2.  Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H (Oct 2000). “Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue—a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty”. Phytomedicine 7 (5): 365–71. PMID 11081987.

3. Ha Z, Zhu Y, Zhang X, et al. (Sep 2002). “[The effect of rhodiola and acetazolamide on the sleep architecture and blood oxygen saturation in men living at high altitude]” (in Chinese). Zhonghua Jie He He Hu Xi Za Zhi 25 (9): 527–30. PMID 12423559.

4.  Gregory S. Kelly, ND, (2001). “Rhodiola rosea: a possible plant adaptogen.”. Alternative Medicine Review 6 (3): 293–302. PMID 11410073.

5. Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H (Oct 2000). “Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue—a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty”. Phytomedicine 7 (5): 365–71. PMID 11081987.

6.  Spasov. A.A., Mandrikov, V.B., Mitonova, I.A., 2000b. The effect of Dhodaxonon psycho-physiologic and physical adaptation of students to the academic load. Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology 63 (1), 76-78.

7. Shevtsov VA, Zholus BI, Shervarly VI, et al. (Mar 2003). “A randomized trial of two different doses of Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work”. Phytomedicine 10 (2-3): 95–105. doi:10.1078/094471103321659780. PMID 12725561.

8. Olsson, E.M.G., von Schéele, B., Panossian, A.G., 2009. A randomized double-blind placebo controlled parallel group study of SHR-5 extract of Rhodiola rosea roots as treatment for patients with stress related fatigue. Planta medica 75,105-112.

9. Olsson, E.M.G., von Schéele, B., Panossian, A.G., 2009. A randomized double-blind placebo controlled parallel group study of SHR-5 extract of Rhodiola rosea roots as treatment for patients with stress related fatigue. Planta medica 75,105-112.

10. Darbinyan V, Aslanyan G, Amroyan E, Gabrielyan E, Malmström C, Panossian A (2007). “Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract in the treatment of mild to moderate depression”. Nord J Psychiatry 61 (5): 343–8. doi:10.1080/08039480701643290. PMID 17990195.

11. Darbinyan, V.; Aslanyan, G.; Amroyan, E.; Gabrielyan, E.; Malmstroumlm, C.; Panossian, A. Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 61, Issue 5 2007 , pages 343–348 ; accessed Dec 2008

 

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