Rhodiola Rosea: A Nootropic for Reducing Stress

Rhodiola Rosea is a nootropic herb that has been used for centuries to reduce stress and improve cognitive function. It is considered an adaptogen, which means that it helps the body to adapt to stressors both physical and emotional. Rhodiola rosea has been shown to improve mental clarity, focus, and energy levels, as well as reducing anxiety and depression. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of rhodiola rosea and how you can start using it to improve your mental health!

Rhodiola Rosea: A Nootropic for Reducing Stress

Where Does Rhodiola Rosea Come From?

Rhodiola Rosea is a herb from the Crassulaceae family, which has more common names such as Arctic or Golden root, and Orpin Rose.

Traditional usage seems to have begun in Europe and spread into Asia as far as Mongolia and Siberia. There are even stories that the Vikings of Scandinavia used it to maintain their physical prowess. Chinese medicine seems to have been the most consistent traditional application, where it was administered or ‘prescribed’ for its effects of vitality and longevity. Even as long as Chinese medicine has used it, the herb has been associated with life extension!

Found at altitudes between 1000 and 5000m in north Europe and Russia it can even grow in Northern American coastlines.

Must Read: What is the best nootropic supplement for reducing stress and improving brain productivity?

How is Rhodiola Rosea Used in Nootropic Supplements?

Rhodiola Rosea is a powerful Adaptogen (compounds which reduce physiological and chemical effects of stress) and an anti-fatigue agent which is a Scandinavian herb and has been used in Chinese medicine for its cognitive and physical vitality improving properties.

Rather interestingly, Rhodiola can reduce the effects of prolonged and short term physical fatigue as well as mental exhaustion. Most effective in the context of stress and high work-load related ‘burnout’, it can reduce both the tiredness and the stress. Similarly applicable to the stress caused by long periods of non-acute physical exertion i.e. endurance sports.

In some people, physical work can even be improved through supplementation, making it doubly viable as an inclusion for pre-workout supplements. In this sense, not only will it improve focus and reduce the stress but may improve the user’s output as well.

Its cognition improving effects come as a result of removing the fog of fatigue, allowing the user’s mind to concentrate on the task at hand.

Rhodiola may also be very neuroprotective in that it helps remove toxins from the brain.

Stress related binge eating has been reduced in subjects of studies, leading researchers to conclude that it can be a useful appetite suppressant, especially as part of a blend with other similarly inclined compounds.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing potential benefits of Rhodiola is its life extension properties. Further evidence is required but figures in the region of a 20% increase in lifespan have been mentioned in studies. Human studies of life extension are notoriously difficult (and necessarily long) to administrate and then draw conclusions from but it may just be worth supplementing with Rhodiola in case it’s true!!

How Does Rhodiola Rosea Help Reduce Stress?

Rhodiola inhibits certain enzymes, specifically the group of Monoamine oxidase which degrades neurotransmitters; namely dopamine, norepinephrine (aka noradrenaline) and serotonin. By preventing this enzyme from doing this, the neurotransmitters can stick around for longer and hence improve overall cognitive function. In the case of Rhodiola, this manifests as a reduction of fatigue as well.

It appears to influence neuropeptide activity, which could account for its anti-stress effects, and also acts as a psycho stimulant.

For memory and cognition, rhodiola further eliminates scopolamine’s memory impairment effects and therefore acts as an anti-amnesiac, independent of the aforementioned fatigue and stress reduction.

Neurogenesis (birth of neurons) is increased, along with a reduction in oxidative toxins.

In certain test species (not yet humans) Rhodiola has been shown to increase lifespan by up to 20%.

How does Rhodiola Make You Feel?

Some people report feeling more energetic and clearheaded after taking rhodiola. Others say it helps them to feel more relaxed and calm. Research on rhodiola is limited, but the herb appears to be safe for most people when taken in recommended doses. 

Rhodiola Rosea Dosage for Stress Relief

Rhodiola is available in capsules, tablets, and tinctures. The recommended Rhodiola Rosea dosage is between 200 and 600 mg per day. It can be taken in divided doses throughout the day or all at once and should be taken with food.

Possible Rhodiola Rosea Side Effects

Rhodiola Rosea is generally considered safe, with few side effects reported. However, as with any herbal remedy, there is always the potential for adverse reactions. Some of the most common Rhodiola side effects include gastrointestinal upset, dizziness, and headache. While these side effects are typically mild and temporary, more severe reactions have been reported in rare cases. Therefore, it is always important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking Rhodiola or any other herbal remedy.

Are There Other Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea?

Rhodiola may also be able to help in the following:

  • Appetite Reduction
  • Pain management
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Red Blood Cell protection from oxidation
  • Physical Exercise Improvement

Rhodiola Rosea Clinical Research

One Rhodiola Rosea clinical study that was published in the National Library of Medicine found that Rhodiola Rosea extract was effective in reducing symptoms of mild to moderate depression. The study participants who took Rhodiola Rosea experienced significant reductions in fatigue, insomnia, and feelings of worthlessness. Rhodiola Rosea was also found to be well-tolerated with no serious side effects reported.

Rhodiola Rosea Stress Reducing Nootropic Conclusion

Rhodiola Rosea is one of those ingredients which has multiple benefits and no negative side effects. As a supplement on its own, it is good for combatting stress and fatigue, but will improve cognitive processing as a result. As part of an overall nootropic blend it will behave synergistically alongside other similar and complimentary ingredients.

The combination of Bacopa Monnieri and Rhodiola has demonstrated great success, and the addition of CDP choline and Huperzine-A is even more impressive.

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  • Vinpocetine is a natural supplement that can boost your brain’s circulation.
  • Bacopa Monnieri is another nootropic that has been shown to boost memory and cognition, improve mood, and reduce stress in a similar way to Rhodiola Rosea.
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about the author

Henry Washington BSc, BSc, MA, PhD. Fascinated with the study of human behavior, and how this affects our day-to-day lives. Has read more books on the subject than he can count and has an extensive collection of academic papers to match. Published in the following journals: Nature, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Trends in Neurosciences, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Brain research reviews and Cerebral Cortex.