Health Review: Rhodiola Rosea, A Magic Happy Herb For Parents?

by nessel on August 17, 2012

Nutrition Reviews

There are three things in life I know to be true.  First, being a parent is the most wonderful, rewarding and fantastic experience in the world.  Second, being a parent is the most tiring, grueling, stress inducing and mentally challenging experience in the world.  Third, Fred Flintstone would crush Homer Simpson in a Steel Cage match.

Today we look at Rhodiola Rosea, an herb that claims to challenge my second fact of life.  Can Rhodiola Rosea really help reduce fatigue and stress for us worn out parents, while boosting energy levels and mental alertness?  That would certainly be something, but I would be even more blown away if Rhodiola could help Homer defeat Fred in the steel cage match!

Dad Does Nutrition Spotlight on Rhodiola Rosea

As we discussed in this post on Supplement and Nutrition Reviews, we have decided to offer a new section where we look at some of the health and nutrition ingredients in the news and give you the 411 on the ingredient. We are NOT claiming to be experts on nutrition and NOT trying to provide exhaustive research on supplements.

We are going to give you basic background and information on the ingredients in the spotlight, so you can be more informed about the pros and cons of the ingredients. Use these Nutrition Spotlights as a starting point in your research on health, nutrition and supplements. We promise to keep things honest, hype free and hopefully even humorous.

What Is Rhodiola Rosea?

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is a plant that grows from 12-30 inches tall and has yellow flowers.  Unlike us humans, Rhodiola thrives in frigid temperatures and high rocky altitudes, such as above 10,000 feet in Siberia.  No one climbs to the top of a mountain in Siberia to run barefoot through a field picking yellow Rhodiola flowers, it is the root of the Rhodiola plant that everyone is after, and it is the root that is used in Rhodiola Rosea supplements.  As you cruise the web, you may also see Rhodiola Rosea referred to as the Golden Root, Siberian Root, Roseroot or Arctic Root.  Which by the way, all sound like possible Ben & Jerry’s flavors.

Why In The World Would I Care About Rhodiola Rosea Supplements?

Because you are a Mom or Dad and you are exhausted, or stressed or anxious or most likely – all of the above!  Rhodiolia Rosea is an herb that studies have shown can help do the following -

  • Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety
  • Increases Energy, Endurance and Stamina
  • Promotes Mental Clarity and Mental Performance
  • Uplifts Mood
  • Can Decrease the Recovery Time Needed After Workouts
  • Improves Sexual Performance
  • Promotes Healthy Sleep
  • Makes The Children Always Say Please and Thank You
  • Forces Kids To Clean Their Room

Fine, we made those last two up – but still, this Rhodiola sounds like a gift from the good parenting fairy!

How Does Rhodiola Rosea Pull Off This Feel Good Magic?

I know, this is starting to sound like some drug you buy on the street corner and has a name like “Perky Parents“.  No, Rhodiola is legal and actually looks to be healthy and safe.  Rhodiola Rosea is what they call an “adaptogen herb“.  In order for an herb to be classified as an adaptogen it needs to meet these three requirements -

  1. Must be nontoxic and cause very few, if any, side effects
  2. Produce nonspecific resistance in the body to all types of stressors (physical, chemical and biological)
  3. Produce a normalizing influence on the body.

What this basically means is that adaptogens are not like drugs that you take for a specific health problem.  Have a headache, you may take aspirin.  Maybe the aspirin upsets your stomach or causes other problems, but it still worked on your headache.

Adaptogens like Rhodiola work on a different level – they are trying to treat the whole body and get you back in balance.  The idea being, if you have the whole body in balance you can get a wide range of benefits across the board and not cause side effects.

It is beyond the scope of this article to get into all the mechanisms of action of Rhodiola in the body, but we have some great links for more info on this at the end of the article.

Is Rhodiola Just Some Flash In The Pan Supplement of The Month?

Nope, this bad boy has been around a long time. The first use of Rhodiola Rosea as a medicinal plant can be tracked back to 77 AD!  Since then, there has been a good amount of research and studies published on Rhodiola Rosea.  A quick search of PubMed shows over 190 studies in the last 40 years.  Alternative Medicine Magazine named Rhodiola Rosea the Top Energy Booster.  And look, two doctors did a whole book on it, The Rhodiola Revolution -

Rhodiola Rosea Reviews

Come on, there is a book on how great Rhodiola Rosea is – so it must be true, right?  Seriously, there is a ton of research on Rhodiola, but like anything in the health field, there is certainly some exaggeration and excessive hype when it comes to the health benefits of Rhodiola.

Do You Need to Go Sit On a Siberian Mountain And Chew on Rhodiola Root?

As appealing as that might sound when the kids are driving you crazy, it is probably easier to get Rhodiola in supplement form at a health food store.   There are actually many different species of the Rhodiola plant, so you want to make sure you get the Rhodiola Rosea species, as all the science has been done of the Rosea root.

If you are not into supplements, you can find Rhodiola Rosea in loose form and do your own extraction process.  Some people make a Rhodiola tea while others might enjoy throwing it in some Vodka and making their own Rhodiola extract.

Any Rhodiola Rosea Supplements We Would Feel Comfortable Recommending to Parents?

Yes. The Perfect Rhodiola Rosea from Perfect Supplements looks to be pure and made from the same source of Rhodiola (Siberian Rhodiola Rosea) used in most of the clinical studies.   Full disclosure, we have worked with Perfect Supplements and consider them friends of the site, we don’t feel this clouds our judgment, but that is your call. Feel free to visit their site, poke around, ask questions and do your own research.

Look around and you will find many choices when it comes to Rhodiola Rosea supplements.  The key is to find a supplement that is made with pure Siberian Rhodiola Rosea and does not have fillers and other ingredients.   You also want the Rhodiola to be labeled as at least 3% Rosavins and 1% Salidroside.  What does this mean?  No sure, we slept through most of plant chemistry, but a number of independent review sites state this is ratio you want in your Rhodiola Supplement.

CONCLUSION: Rhodiola Rosea

While Rhodiola Rosea has had a strong following among athletes for years, it may be time for us Dads and Moms to jump on the Rhodiola bandwagon.  More energy and stamina with less stress and anxiety?  Sounds like my best chance at finally earning one of those “Best Dad!” mugs from my kids.

While we have just scratched the surface on Rhodiola Rosea, it looks like an herb worth trying.    We love the all natural and side effect free parts of Rhodiola and it is probably better than our other solution to stress, anxiety and fatigue…a shot of whiskey before bed.

We leave you with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly on Rhodiola Rosea…

Rhodiola Rosea – The Good….

Well respected Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham states “Rhodiola rosea offers a dynamic health experience for the herbal user. If you take it, you will feel it. Rhodiola is in my estimation the broadest, most remarkable feel-good botanical in nature’s pharmacy.

Rhodiola Rosea – The Bad…

Figuring out the correct dosage of Rhodiola Rosea can be confusing. More is not always better, take too much and you start to lose the benefits.  It takes some trial and error and the use of a log to record how you feel before you can determine your personalized best dosage.  Average dosage is 100 – 400mg per day.

Rhodiola Rosea – The Ugly…

Some Rhodiola Rosea supplements are filled with inactive and ineffective forms of Rhodiola.  Numerous companies sell spray dried Rhodiola from China that has almost none of the nutrients and active components of freeze dried Rhodiola Rosea from Siberia.

More Information:

Perfect Rhodiola Rosea – The Rhodiola Rosea Supplement That We Prefer

Much More Information and Research on The Science and Health Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea

Incredible 12 Page Article in HerbalGram on How Rhodiola Works

PubMed Listing of Rhodiola Rosea Studies

Have You Used Rhodiola Rosea? Let Us Know How it Worked!

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  • Mary

    Having learned the height of the Roman Empire came in 117 AD (while helping my 4th grader with his homework), rhodiola rosea was around before then.

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