Rhodiola is a type of plant that has become increasingly popular as a dietary supplement, used to naturally increase energy levels.
It’s been used as a folk remedy in many countries for centuries, and has in recent years become available for purchase almost anywhere that supplements, vitamins, and medication are sold.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Rhodiola is reputed to improve mood, decrease stress and fatigue, and improve physical and mental performance. It can help remedy insomnia and mild depression.
It’s also touted to help improve resistance to physical stress from environmental factors (such as cold or disease). Benefits improve with regular usage.
DOES IT WORK?
Because rhodiola is an “adaptogen”, rather than a chemical stimulant, the potency of its effects can vary from person to person.
Adaptogens function by regulating or “normalizing” metabolism and bodily functions, rather than directly stimulating the body through chemical means. Because of this, there’s no guarantee how much effect it will have on any given person.
Many people swear by its effects. Other people don’t see much benefit from using it.
The benefits of rhodiola are strongest in regards to its effects on stress, fatigue, and mood.
Its direct effects on physical stamina are somewhat debated–though it can certainly have indirect effects on physical stamina as a result of improving the users’s mood and sleep levels.
In any event, benefits are strongest if rhodiola is taken over an extended period of time (several weeks or more). This gives it more time to affect the user’s metabolism and thus to maximize its beneficial effects.
Taking a single dose of rhodiola is not likely to have any significant immediate effect (contrary to, say, a large dose of caffeine) unless you are especially sensitive to it.
Since rhodiola isn’t a chemical stimulant, it doesn’t have the same kind of side effects (such as possible dependence or a post-dose “crash”) that a chemical stimulant would have.
It’s not 100% free from side effects, but it’s considered to be very safe.
ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS?
Side effects are generally limited. Adaptogens like rhodiola, are, by definition, safe for the average healthy person to be consume.
Since there’s no direct chemical stimulation involved, there’s virtually no chance of harmful reaction.
However, some users of rhodiola can become agitated, restless, or jittery, or suffer from insomnia; this is most common for people who consume large amounts (especially over long periods of time), but also can affect people who are new users of rhodiola, or people who are especially sensitive to it.
Rhodiola can also interact with some types of stimulants, anti-depressants or other adaptogenic supplements. It’s best not to use rhodiola if you’re using medications or supplements of these natures.
Also, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are recommended to avoid rhodiola, as the effects of rhodiola on women who are pregnant or breastfeeding is unknown.
Lastly, some people are allergic to rhodiola. The symptoms of rhodiola allergy can include rash, hives, swelling, and in some cases, difficulty breathing.
Although rhodiola is safe for most people, make sure you take it in very small amounts until you are sure of what kind of effects it will have on you.
As always, if you have any kinds of health issues, ask a doctor before using any new type of supplement.
Rhodiola isn’t for everyone, but it’s a great way for many people to safely boost their energy levels and focus without side effects or “crashes” associated with caffeine.