Rhodiola rosea is growing in popularity as a nootropic, but what exactly does it do? And what even are nootropics?
In this article, we’ll explain what nootropics are and why rhodiola rosea is one of the more popular nootropic ingredients on the market today.
The brain is one of the largest organs in the human body, and even though it’s not quite the biggest one, it is certainly the most complex. The brain contains more than 100 billion nerves. These nerves use trillions of different connections, or synapses, to talk with your body.
Every time you lift your arm, you’re able to do so thanks to your brain. Every time you take a breath, consciously or unconsciously, it’s your brain that makes it possible. Even your blood flows from place to place because your brain tells your heart to pump in a certain way.
Your brain is easily one of the most important organs in your body. You need it to do basically everything. This is why it’s so important that you do everything you possibly can to keep it in tip-top shape.
You can keep your brain healthy and happy by eating right, keeping it active, and supplementing these first two efforts with quality nootropics.
What Are Nootropics?
A nootropic is anything you take in order to enhance your brain health. Nootropics can include medicines, supplements, and other substances. People take nootropics for multiple reasons. Some of those reasons include:
- Getting more energy
- Gaining more focus
- Sleeping more fully
- Gaining mental clarity
- Calming their minds
- Enhancing their mood
- Improving overall well-being
- Enhancing their memory
- Improving their social skills
- Becoming more motivated
- Boosting creative thinking
But not all nootropics work in the same way. For example, caffeine is a nootropic substance that’s also a classical stimulant. These kinds of stimulants are also known as “uppers.” Uppers help increase the central nervous system’s activity levels. Other nootropics help stimulate the body, but in a different way. Rhodiola rosea, for example, helps you gain mental focus and clarity. So although it might not give you a buzz, it will help you focus better, which feels like a form of stimulation.
But more on that later.
An important thing to remember about nootropics is, unless they’re prescribed by a medical doctor, they’re considered supplements. From the caffeine in your coffee, to the rhodiola rosea root in your tea, these substances can only supplement or enhance your best efforts to take care of your brain. They cannot replace good habits.
You still have to eat right, stay properly hydrated, sleep well, and avoid harmful chemicals. But if you are doing these things, then taking the right nootropics in an appropriate dose will help further enhance your brain power, as well as the abilities of your nervous system in general.
With all of this in mind, let’s take some time to talk a little more about rhodiola rosea.
What Is Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola rosea is a plant that’s known by other names such as golden root, roseroot, Aaron’s rod, Arctic root, king’s crown, lignum rhodium, and orpin rose. It’s a perennial plant with either pink, white, or yellow flowers. Some say it has been used since the days of Vikings. It’s naturally found in tundra-like conditions throughout Europe and Asia. It’s also a ground cover much like mint, clover, and thyme.
One nice thing about rhodiola rosea is that it’s an adaptogen. Those are herbs that can help you feel calm and cool in stressful situations. Think of adaptogens as chemical compounds that help you adapt to situations that would normally make you feel nervous, anxious, or angry. In other words, rhodiola rosea has a soothing effect on the mind which helps you focus on what you need to, instead of stressing the small details and losing control of your emotions.
People take rhodiola rosea for other reasons as well.
People take it because they believe it can:
- Boost endurance
- Reduce fatigue
- Supports heart vitality
- Increase antioxidant levels
- Protect muscle tissue
We’ll talk about the real benefits of taking a rhodiola rosea supplement in just a bit, but for now, just know that there are several reasons why you should consider adding rhodiola rosea to your daily routine.
We like rhodiola rosea so much that we included it in both our Calm Now and Neuro-Peak supplements. We’ve found that rhodiola rosea works well when you combine it with other quality, natural ingredients. It has a great effect on both the mind and body.
Here are some of the reasons why.
What Does Rhodiola Rosea Do For You? - Seven Questions Answered!
Different people swear that rhodiola rosea is beneficial for a number of reasons. Some of those promises are based on science while others are not. Here, we’ve created a list of the most common questions people have regarding the benefits of rhodiola rosea. We tried to stick to benefits that have some actual research behind them.
So, here are some of the most common questions people have regarding the benefits of rhodiola rosea.
1. Is Rhodiola Rosea A Stimulant?
Most people who take rhodiola rosea have reported that they experienced a strong decrease in fatigue when taking rhodiola rosea. But it’s important to recognize what’s really happening here.
As we already mentioned, caffeine gives you energy. It does this by blocking your adenosine receptors. When adenosine, an amino acid, connects to your receptors, it sends a message to your brain that you’re tired and that you need to sleep. But when some of those receptors are blocked, your body is tricked into thinking that it is less tired than it is.
Rhodiola rosea doesn’t trick your body. It actively helps calm your mind, allowing you to focus better. Rhodiola rosea’s ability to improve your brain’s capacity for focusing on tasks may feel like an increase in energy, but it’s really a decrease in distractions.
Rhodiola rosea actively helps your brain do more with the energy you have, instead of giving you the jittery, fake energy provided by caffeine.
2. Does Rhodiola Rosea Increase Cognition?
Rhodiola rosea’s ability to improve your focus helps your brain in more ways than one. Not only do you feel less tired, but if you’re able to focus more, you can accomplish tasks faster. You can think through your problems in less time because the constant distractions that surround you demand less of your attention.
Plenty of studies show that the increased focus provided by rhodiola rosea inevitably leads to an increase in cognition.
So if you want to quiet down your mind and be able to focus on the task at hand, you should consider implementing rhodiola rosea supplementation into your life. At least with rhodiola rosea, you know that you won’t get the jitters that come with a morning coffee
3. Does Rhodiola Rosea Help Improve Your General Well-being?
We all have sources of stress in our lives. Sure, some sources of stress are greater than other sources, and some people experience more stress than others, but we all have stress.
This stress can make us feel a variety of emotions we’d prefer not to experience. Stress can make us feel sad, angry, anxious, agitated, nervous, unfulfilled, distracted, overwhelmed, and just generally unhappy. And although there may be some specific stresses that you can reduce or eliminate entirely from your life, you have to deal with most of them as they come.
Studies show that rhodiola rosea can help you better handle those stresses.
Most people who take rhodiola rosea have reported that they experience an improvement in mood and general well-being. This is all thanks to the calming effect rhodiola rosea has on the mind. It softens the edges of your less-positive feelings.
4. Does Rhodiola Rosea Affect Depression?
It can, sometimes.
Sometimes the stressors in our life cause us to feel more than general sadness, some of those stressors can instead lead to clinical depression.
Depression is a problem that is often, and wrongly, the butt of many jokes, but it shouldn’t be. Depression is a serious issue that requires serious treatment. If you think you’re experiencing depression, you should talk with someone about it. It would be even better if you could get a professional’s opinion of whether or not your depression warrants more formal care beyond self-care.
But, assuming you’re doing everything you should be doing to cope with your depression, you may want to add a little extra mood-boosting rhodiola rosea to your daily regimen. It has been shown in studies to help those with moderate depression.
Just remember, rhodiola rosea is not now, nor has it ever been, a replacement for therapy and other healthy, coping mechanisms. It’s simply a mood aid. You still need to incorporate all of those other good practices into your life.
5. Does Rhodiola Rosea Help With Weight Loss?
Yes, but only a specific kind of fat.
Rhodiola rosea has a chemical compound in it called rosavin. This compound can help stimulate lipase. Lipase is an enzyme that your body creates to break down visceral fat.
What is visceral fat?
Visceral fat is internal, abdominal fat. It’s got a nicer name as well, belly fat. Studies show that rhodiola rosea, coupled with moderate exercise can help you get rid of some of that belly fat you’re hanging onto. Again, it has to be paired with moderate exercise. Rhodiola rosea is still a supplement to your current efforts, not a replacement for them.
So if you feel like you’re belly fat is being stubborn and it just won’t go away. Consider taking some rhodiola rosea in the form of a supplement or tea. If you’re careful about your dosing, you can do both!
6. Does Rhodiola Rosea Increase Serotonin?
Serotonin has been become popular as one of the feel-good chemicals your body creates. But it does so much more. Serotonin also helps improve your ability to learn new things, enhances memory, and improves other physiological responses to external stressors.
Does this sound familiar?
Sound kind of like rhodiola rosea?
That’s because they do the same thing. Part of what rhodiola rosea does to create that calming effect is it increases the level of serotonin in your body.
So if you want to start taking rhodiola rosea to help you feel better, you now know a little bit about the natural science behind why and how it works.
7. Is Rhodiola Rosea Good For Erectile Dysfunction?
The science on this benefit isn’t as robust as some of the others, but that’s not to say people are making it up. There are two studies that indicate that rhodiola rosea can help men with sexual problems they may be experiencing.
The first tested 35 men by giving them doses of rhodiola rosea once a day for three months. Many of these men reported that they experienced improved sexual function. The second experiment tested for sexual endurance and found that in many men, rhodiola rosea was able to help them endure longer than they normally could.
Hopefully, we’ll be able to see even more studies that further support this claim. Until then, we’ll have to go off of the experiences of other people. That being said, there are so many other great reasons why people should take rhodiola rosea that this one benefit shouldn’t make or break someone’s decision to try rhodiola rosea.
What Are The Side Effects Of Rhodiola Rosea - Five More Questions Answered!
We already mentioned how people wrongly promise that rhodiola rosea can fix everything under the sun, but there’s a flipside to this. Those who sell alternatives to rhodiola rosea want to highlight or exaggerate its side effects so their products look better.
Here are some of the most common questions about rhodiola rosea and its potential side effects. We’ll try to answer them using the best information current research can give us.
Can Rhodiola Rosea Cause Anxiety?
Since we’ve already talked about the calming effects of this adaptogen, it seems kind of silly to talk about whether or not rhodiola rosea causes anxiety, but people are still curious.
No, rhodiola rosea does not cause anxiety. It affects your anxiety, but it’s a calming effect, not a worsening or heightening effect.
Life can cause anxiety. So can your job. So can a family problem. So can high-pressure social situations. There are so many things that can make you feel anxious or nervous, but rhodiola rosea simply does not make the list.
So if you ever hear this rumor, just know that you can squash it. Let people know about rhodiola rosea’s adaptogenic properties and how it increases your serotonin levels.
Does Rhodiola Rosea Interact With Any Medications?
Rhodiola rosea is a natural herb that works gently to calm you down. The only medications you might want to be cautious taking in conjunction with rhodiola rosea are certain sedatives. That’s because rhodiola rosea creates a calming effect which can make your sedative more powerful than it’s intended. But that’s more a matter of timing and common sense.
But if you’re still worried about the medications you’re taking, and whether or not they will interact poorly with your rhodiola rosea, be sure to ask your doctor. He or she will be able to better help you figure out if there are any problems at all.
Our general advice is, take everything as prescribed, read the warnings, and ask your doctor for clarification if needed. As long as you do these three things, you’ll be fine.
Does Rhodiola Rosea Increase Estrogen?
Not really, but it does do something similar.
Menopause is a natural stage of life experienced by all women eventually. What happens is, as women age, their bodies produce less and less of their reproductive hormones. One of these hormones is estrogen. This drop in estrogen causes a wide variety of symptoms that include everything from hot flashes to vaginal dryness to periods ceasing.
But menopause can also cause certain psychological effects as well.
For example, menopause can cause women to feel a loss in energy, a worsening mood, a slowing of cognitive function, and memory loss. Rhodiola rosea has been found to improve Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators. Think of SERMs as characteristics affected by menopause. Rhodiola rosea can help improve the modulators which specifically improve those aforementioned psychological effects,
So if you’re a man who’s worried about taking rhodiola rosea and increasing his estrogen levels, don’t worry about it. But if you’re a woman who’s experiencing menopause, rhodiola rosea can help you manage some of the worst side-effects.
Does Rhodiola Rosea Affect Birth Control?
This goes back to the rumor regarding rhodiola rosea’s ability to increase estrogen levels in women. The real worry is that if you’re on a hormone-based form of birth control and you further increase or decrease certain sex hormones, those hormones will interfere with your birth control’s ability to work properly.
And that’s an understandable concern – noone on birth control wants theirs to secretly fail because of an all-natural supplement they’re taking.
But you don't have to worry about messing up your hormone levels while taking rhodiola rosea. As explained above, rhodiola rosea can help mitigate certain side effects of menopause, but it doesn’t produce large amounts of estrogen.
Again, if you’re still worried about your birth control, talk to your OBGYN. He or she can help you out.
The only thing we would suggest is that you do not take rhodiola rosea while you’re pregnant or nursing. That’s not because we know it’s harmful in that situation, because it could very well be harmless. But we don’t know that for a fact, and that’s because it’s generally considered unethical to experiment on pregnant women. So for the time being, give the rhodiola rosea a break if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Can Rhodiola Rosea Cause An Upset Stomach?
It doesn’t appear to.
A lot of rhodiola rosea supplements recommend that you take them on an empty stomach. Some people with sensitive stomachs might experience some discomfort no matter what they take if it’s on an empty stomach. If you’re someone whose stomach feels a bit queasy when you take things without food, then just take your rhodiola rosea with your meals instead.
It might not be as effective as taking it on an empty stomach, but it’s still a lot better than not taking it at all.
It’s worth noting that some supplements are specially formulated to be taken with food. Zhou’s aforementioned Neuro-Peak and Calm Now are both formulated to be taken with food, for example.
So is it possible that some people experience an upset stomach when they take rhodiola rosea? Sure. But it doesn’t look like those stomach problems are specific to rhodiola rosea. It’s probably more of a stomach sensitivity issue than a rhodiola rosea issue.
What Else Should I Know About Rhodiola Rosea?
Aside from the benefits and rumored side-effects, there are still a couple of things you should know about rhodiola rosea.
Here are the two most important things to know.
1. How Long Does It Take For Rhodiola Rosea To Take Effect?
The answer is, it depends,
If you’re looking to experience the calming benefits of rhodiola rosea, know that those come relatively quickly. But if you’re taking rhodiola rosea to help improve your memory, that might take longer. To see a difference in your memory with rhodiola rosea may take up to 6 weeks for some people.
But there’s something more important than how long it will take for you to feel its effects, and that’s consistency.
You need to consistently take rhodiola rosea without long gaps between doses. Just like any other supplement out there, rhodiola rosea is most effective when it’s taken consistently.
2. When Should I Take Rhodiola Rosea?
That’s going to depend on the supplement.
We recommend that you take Calm Now once a day. However, we recommend that you take Neuro-Peak 1-2 times a day. Different supplements are formulated differently and each one should be taken as their instructions tell you to.
Remember, if you feel like the normal dose is a bit strong, don’t hesitate to take less. But whatever you do, don’t take more than you’re recommended to. It’d just be better to follow the directions than accidentally consume too much.
How Do You Make Rhodiola Rosea Tea?
There are, of course, different ways to consume rhodiola rosea. Most people prefer supplements because they’re easier to consume, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options as well.
For example, you can always try a rhodiola rosea tea.
Here’s just one, simple rhodiola rosea tea recipe you can try out:
- 2 tablespoons of rhodiola rosea root
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey (optional)
- 2 wide-mouth, quart jars
- 1 fine mesh strainer
All you do is bring one quart of water to a boil while you put the rhodiola rosea root into one of your jars. Carefully pour in the water and cover with a lid after you’ve filled the jar. From there you just let the mixture steep for 12 minutes.
After that, just strain out the root by pouring the tea into your second jar using your strainer. Then, just sweeten with honey to taste.
Again, if you don’t have time to brew a quart of tea then just buy an all-natural supplement.
The Bottom Line - Is Rhodiola Rosea Worth It?
Rhodiola rosea isn’t a miracle cure, and the assumption is that you’re trying to implement other best practices while taking rhodiola rosea. But as long as you’re doing you’re best, rhodiola rosea will help do the rest.
So if you’re looking to leave the drama behind, invite some peaceful vibes into your life, and feel better about life in general, you should seriously consider taking a rhodiola rosea supplement.