Rhodiola: Versatile, Stress-Relief Tonic

If only the people in western societies knew they could enjoy the benefits of the adaptogenic herb “Rhodiola.” If so, they could possibly throw out their meds for anxiety or depression. While St. John’s Wort or Kava Kava are more popular for mood balance, Rhodiola is one of the best all-natural solutions for helping you feel calm.

There are lots of other amazing benefits of Rhodiola. These include:

  • Boost energy
  • Restore adrenal gland function
  • Calm the nervous system
  • Improve brain/cognitive function (memory and concentration)
  • Cardio-protective
  • Athletic recovery
  • Sexual vigor/libido
  • Ease symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Antioxidant/anti-cancer properties
  • Ease allergy symptoms
  • Improve sleep
  • Treat psychiatric disorders
  • Recovery from jet lag
  • Normalize cholesterol levels

So, should you raid your medicine cabinet and get rid of all the over-the-counter or prescribed pharmaceuticals for the above-mentioned benefits of Rhodiola? No. Not quite just yet. First of all, if you do take anti-depressants or anti-anxiety or other mood-stabilizing medications, you must first talk to your doctor before stopping your medication(s).

But if you’re cleared by your doctor to give it a try, or are not taking medications, give Rhodiola some time, say two or three weeks, and you should notice an improvement in some of the above concerns.

Adaptogenic herbs like Rhodiola work even better in conjunction with other adaptogenic herbs. That’s why Sun Horse founder Dan Moriarity decided to include Rhodiola in our proprietary super-blend of adaptogens, Ultimate Energy.  

Don’t take our word that Rhodiola can help boost brain power and help with mood stabilization, energy level and concentration. There are hundreds of studies proving Rhodiola healing properties.

Rhodiola Facts

Rhodiola grows in harsh, dry, barren, rocky conditions, mostly in high-altitude alpine environments, such as the Himalayas. There are 90 known species of Rhodiola. (Sun Horse contains the sub-species, ‘Rhodiola Rosea.’) There are approximately 30 species of Rhodiola that are native to Tibet and 55 indigenous species found in China. Some species of Rhodiola grow at altitudes of over 14,000 feet.

Rhodiola Rosea, the species of Rhodiola that we use in our adaptogenic formulas, is native to Siberia. It can also grow in Alaska, Maine, Vermont and in Nova Scotia. The name “Rhodiola” comes from the Greek word “rhodon” which means ‘rose.’ The petals of the Rhodiola flower resemble a rose, and the tea concocted from the petals has a rosy-pink tint.

Traditional societies have used Rhodiola for at least 1000 years and most likely much longer. People living in isolated, rural, high-altitude villages have consumed a tea made from Rhodiola root to provide them with energy for handling tasks, such as carrying a heavy bundle of wood up a steep hill.

These traditional people of Tibet, Nepal, and other Himalayan regions have used Rhodiola to adapt to their environment. (Do you see why special herbs such as Rhodiola are called adaptogens? There are only slightly more than a dozen proven adaptogens on the planet!)

Tibetan monks traditionally drank tea from Rhodiola root to help enhance meditation and study.

Unfortunately, as more and more people learn about the myriad benefits of this amazing top tonic for stress and anxiety, wild Rhodiola has become endangered and over-harvested. Sun Horse uses sustainably-cultivated (not wild) organically-grown Rhodiola Rosea in our formulas.

Phyto-medicinal properties of Rhodiola

Modern science has been able to isolate hundreds of compounds in plant matter. These individual compounds in adaptogenic herbs have been extensively studied for their healing and protective properties. Some of the classes of compounds found in Rhodiola include:

  • Salidroside
  • Rosavin
  • Rosin
  • Terpenoids
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Proanthocyanidins
  • Quercetin
  • Anthraquinone

Salidroside and rosavin are compounds thought to contain natural antidepressant and antianxiety properties. Terpenoids provide protection from environmental stress and promote relaxation; flavonoids, phenols (of which, quercetin is one), and proanthocyanidins are powerful antioxidants; anthraquinone has properties that encourage bowel and gut health.

Of the hundreds of studies on Rhodiola, this one, published in Phytomedicine, sums up why Rhodiola is a magnificent restorative herb:

R. Rosea demonstrates multi-target effects on various levels of the regulation of cell response to stress, affecting various components of the neuroendocrine, neurotransmitter receptor and molecular networks associated with possible beneficial effects on mood.”

What others are saying about Rhodiola

Again, it’s important to stress that adaptogenic herbs are synergistic, meaning, their strengths are enhanced when they are combined with our adaptogens.

For many people, WebMD.com is the go-to resource for preliminary research on certain drugs, vitamins and herbs. Take a couple minutes and read what others have posted about their experience with Rhodiola on WebMD.

Here are a few reviews of Rhodiola on WebMd.com:

“This is just the best herb I ever tried in my life. Helps me focus well. Helps me with stress and depression even insomnia. It gives me a lot of energy even when I’m on sleep-deprived. I’m 18 years old. And I have been in stressful life styles and this herb helps me with all my stress (:”

“I started with this supplements 4 days ago,after reading all benefits , I work doing inventory and deal with lots of numbers , I was pretty tired and finishing my day with headache and stressed , after 4 days I felt calm, no more pressure in my head and less tired, it help me a lot with my daily task and help me with my mental fatigue.”

“increased energy…. bonus…lost 18 lbs in 4 months”

Conclusion: Rhodiola offers dynamic health benefits

Whether you’re an elite athlete or 8-5 computer desk jockey, Rhodiola may help both with athletic performance and recovery, as well as relieve mental fatigue from staring at a screen all day. If you have mild depression or anxiety and have not yet started taking medication, you may want to give this highly effective calming adaptogenic herb a try. Rhodiola has many other benefits, including normalizing blood sugar levels. If you have any questions about it, feel free to contact us and we’ll pass your question on to our founder and master herbalist, Dan Moriarty.

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