Rhodiola Rosea & Adaptogens for Stress

Rhodiola rosea branch and wooden bowl isolated on white background. Medical and cosmetic herbs. Vector illustration hand drawn.
Rhodiola rosea branch and wooden bowl isolated on white background. Medical and cosmetic herbs. Vector illustration hand drawn.

Rhodiola Rosea, commonly known as Roseroot, is known as an “adaptogenic” herb, meaning it helps us process the negative health effects of stress (physical, emotional, spiritual). I would say that I use it most commonly in practice to help normalize adrenal and thyroid hormones.

But, it’s so much more than that. 

It’s said that the Vikings would chew Roseroot for extra strength on their long, arduous journeys. Today, Roseroot is known to enhance athletic performance and stamina. So in addition to recommending it to my athletes, I recommend often to my new Moms – safe to use while breastfeeding, it’s a great supporter of that postpartum exhaustion.

It’s also a booster of academic performance – in a study of mental fatigue, 128 students were given either Rhodiola or placebo. The Rhodiola group had a 56% decrease in errors after four hours, where the placebo group had an increase of 37%. This makes me think of all those kids who struggle in school, as well as university students, especially during exam periods.

Roseroot has the ability to change the structure of the brain – influencing “neuroplasticity” – making it very useful in mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. In 2008 a group of people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder were given Rhodiola for 10 weeks, and experienced a reduction in symptoms similar to people given benzodiazepines. A similar study in 2015 was done comparing Rhodiola and Sertraline (an SSRI antidepressant medication) in those with Major Depression. Similar benefits were seen, with the exception that rhodiola carries a far lower risk of side effects, dependance, and adverse events.

The beneficial effects of rhodiola have also been studied, showing positive results as an herb to help fight cancer, treat erectile dysfunction, boost fertility, fight viruses, and as a treatment for opioid withdrawal & smoking cessation

If fresh Rhodiola is hung on the walls of the home to dry, it’ll emit the smell of roses, and repel insects. As a flower essence, it is used for issues surrounding ego, forgiveness, and acceptance. It helps one depersonalize perceived injustice or acknowledgement of an indifference as opposed to deliberate betrayal. It is for those who’s emotional armour has been hardened from years of criticism, to help them heal and soften.

Do you have any experiences working with Rhodiola?

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