The Health Benefits of Rhodiola

Rhodiola Rosea May Be a Natural Treatment for Social Anxiety

Rhodiola rosea may be effective for improving mood and alleviating depression.
M G Therin Weise/Photographer's Choice/RF

Rhodiola rosea, also known as golden root, rose root, or arctic root, is a plant from Siberia that grows well in dry and cold arctic climates. The medicinal compounds of rhodiola rosea come from the root of the plant and have been used to help treat occasional stress, anxiety, mental and physical fatigue, and depressed mood.

Health Benefits

Rhodiola rosea has been classified by some researchers as an adaptogen, meaning that it helps to make you less prone to physical and emotional stress.

This natural medicine has been shown to stimulate serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine activity. The proper balance of these neurotransmitters is believed to be involved in healthy emotional and neurological functioning.

People have used rhodiola supplements for:

  • The treatment of depression
  • Fatigue
  • Improved exercise performance

Some limited studies have shown that rhodiola may provide benefits in the treatment or management of each of these conditions. However, more scientific study is needed before we know for sure if the supplement can provide these benefits.

Possible Side Effects

Side effects of rhodiola rosea are generally rare and mild to moderate. They may include headache, stomach upset, drowsiness, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping.

Do not take rhodiola rosea if you are pregnant or nursing, or taking prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

There are no known risks associated with rhodiola rosea; however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the production of herbs and supplements. Most herbs and supplements are not thoroughly tested, and there is no guarantee regarding the ingredients or safety of the products.

Dosage and Preparations

The recommended adult dosage for capsule form of rhodiola rosea is 100 to 300 mg daily. There is not enough scientific evidence to recommend the use of rhodiola rosea in children.

You should read the product label about the proper dosage and consult a healthcare provider to get personalized recommendations.

What to Look For

Rhodiola rosea is usually taken in capsule form, but it is also available in other forms such as extracts and teas.

If you choose to buy a rhodiola supplement (or any supplement), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that you look for a Supplement Facts label on the product that you buy. This label will contain vital information including the amount of active ingredients per serving, and other added ingredients like fillers, binders, and flavorings.

Lastly, the organization suggests that you look for a product that contains a seal of approval from a third party organization that provides quality testing. These organizations include U.S. Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab.com, and NSF International. A seal of approval from one of these organizations does not guarantee the product's safety or effectiveness but it does provide assurance that the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.

Other Questions

Are there other natural products that people use to treat social anxiety?

There are some other products that are sometimes used to manage stress and anxiety. Not all of them have been studied enough to know if they provide a benefit. The most common supplements include:

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Article Sources
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