What Is Rhodiola?
Have you ever wished for a natural elixir to boost your brainpower and handle life's stressors with ease? Look no further than Rhodiola Rosea. It's a remarkable herb that has captivated researchers and seekers of mental prowess for centuries.
This extraordinary plant thrives in the harshest of environments, in the high altitudes of the northern hemisphere, particularly Europe and Asia. Because of that, some people call it "arctic root." "Golden root" is another common nickname.
Rhodiola isn't your average herbal remedy from traditional medicine. It's a star player in the world of nootropics, the sought-after cognitive enhancers known for sharpening mental acuity and elevating mood.
The magic lies in its adaptogenic prowess, a unique ability to fortify your body against fatigue and to reduce stress. It's like a shield that rejuvenates your mind and body when you're feeling low, and calms the storm when you're overwhelmed.
In this guide, we'll delve deep into the science behind Rhodiola Rosea's power, backed by a treasure trove of human studies -- the gold standard of scientific evidence. We'll also unravel the secrets of salidroside, its active component, which holds the key to its nootropic potency.
The Science of Rhodiola
From battling the blues to boosting your brain's endurance, Rhodiola has earned its place among the most well-studied and effective natural cognitive enhancers. Many studies have shown that Rhodiola may enhance focus and mood, and provide cognitive health benefits. At least nine of them are human studies:
- Rhodiola rosea versus [prescription drug] for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Scientists performed this study in 2015. They found that Rhodiola "may possess a more favorable risk to benefit ratio for individuals with mild to moderate depression". Participants used 340 mg of 1.95% salidroside extract (~6.6 mg salidroside) daily for 12 weeks.
- Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms--results of an open-label study. In 2012, this study found that Rhodiola "is safe and effective in improving life-stress symptoms to a clinically relevant degree". Participants used 400 mg of WS-1375 extract (>4 mg salidroside) daily for 4 weeks.
- The influence of adaptogens on ultraweak biophoton emission: a pilot-experiment. Scientists performed this study in 2009. They observed "a significant decrease concerning the experienced level of fatigue in the Rhodiola group". Participants used 288 mg of 2.3% salidroside extract (~6.6 mg salidroside) daily for 1 week.
- Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. In 2007, this study found that Rhodiola "shows anti-depressive potency in patients with mild to moderate depression". Participants used 340 to 680 mg of SHR-5 extract (>3.4 to >6.8 mg salidroside) daily for 6 weeks. The higher dose was more effective.
- Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. In 2004, this study found that Rhodiola "can improve endurance exercise capacity in young healthy volunteers". Participants used 200 mg of 1% salidroside extract (~2 mg salidroside) once or daily for 4 weeks. Both time periods were effective.
- A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work. In 2003, this study found that Rhodiola had "a pronounced antifatigue effect". Participants used 370 to 555 mg of 2.4% salidroside extract (~8.9 to ~13.3 mg salidroside) once. The higher dose was not more effective.
- A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of the stimulating and adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract on the fatigue of students caused by stress during an examination period with a repeated low-dose regimen. In 2000, this study found that Rhodiola improved "physical fitness, mental fatigue and neuro-motoric tests." The study also found that "self-assessment of general well-being was also significantly better". Participants used 100 mg of SHR-5 extract (>1 mg salidroside) daily for 3 weeks.
- Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue – a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. In 2000, this study found that Rhodiola "can reduce general fatigue under certain stressful conditions". Participants used 170 mg of 2.6% salidroside extract (~4.4 mg salidroside) daily for 2 weeks.
Because it can be difficult to control all variables, scientific studies sometimes report divergent results. One study of Rhodiola Rosea did not demonstrate nootropic effect:
- Rhodiola rosea for mental and physical fatigue in nursing students: a randomized controlled trial. Scientists performed this study in 2014. They found that "among nursing students on shift work, a 42-day course of [Rhodiola] compared with placebo worsened fatigue". Participants used 364 to 546 mg of 2.8% rosavin extract (unknown salidroside) daily for 6 weeks.
An explanation for this result, in contrast to other studies, may be that rosavin is not the active component of Rhodiola. Another study suggested that Rhodiola active components are salidroside and tyrosine:
- Comparative study of Rhodiola preparations on behavioral despair of rats. Scientists performed this study in 2008. "Rhodioloside and tyrosol were identified as active principles of the extract, whereas rosavin [and others] were inactive". Rhodioloside is an alternative name for salidroside.
In summary, there are at least nine human studies of the nootropic effects of Rhodiola Rosea. Across eleven tests in eight studies, a dosage of at least 1 mg salidroside daily was consistently effective. Across two tests in one study, an unknown dosage of salidroside was not effective. Side effects were not notable.
When buying Rhodiola Rosea, look for a supplement that provides servings of at least 1 mg salidroside. For example, that may be 100 mg of an extract standardized to at least 1% salidroside.
Ideally, choose a supplement that provides servings that contain between 3.4 and 6.8 mg salidroside. That may be 340 to 680 mg of an extract standardized to at least 1% salidroside. Or that may be 170 to 340 mg of an extract standardized to at least 2% salidroside. These parameters may provide the greatest potential for nootropic effect.
Avoid supplements that do not disclose the plant species and salidroside percentage on the label. And look for vendors who provide evidence that they verified the plant species and salidroside percentage.
Unfortunately, fake and poor quality Rhodiola supplements are common. Many suppliers sell an extract that comes from Rhodiola Crenulata instead of Rhodiola Rosea, lying about the difference to manufacturers. And even when they sell an extract of Rhodiola Rosea, many suppliers lie about the amount of salidroside in the extract.
Subsequently, many vendors skip tests. They should run an identity test to ensure that the extract comes from Rosea instead of Crenulata. And they should run a potency test to verify the salidroside percentage. But to cut costs, many vendors don’t run identity and potency tests, and make false claims on their labels.
Consider pairing Rhodiola with other natural nootropics. For example, Bacopa Monnieri may improve memory. L Theanine may facilitate relaxation without sedation. And both Zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids may enhance mood.
Rhodiola may also go well with natural nootropics that support healthy cognitive aging. They include Acetyl L Carnitine, Alpha GPC, and Ginkgo Biloba.
Based on studies like those listed above, Thrivous developed Clarity Daily Nootropic. It’s a dietary supplement for daily use to support brain function and enhance cognitive performance.
Each serving of Clarity provides a clinical dose of Rhodiola Rosea, to decrease fatigue and to improve focus and mood. Clarity contains a clinical dose of Bacopa Monnieri to enhance memory. Clarity also includes nootropic vitamins and minerals to support healthy brain function.
All Thrivous supplements pass through rigorous quality control, including identity and potency testing of Rhodiola Rosea. And we publish all test results from suppliers, manufacturing, and third parties directly on our product webpages for your review.
Clarity Daily Nootropic is available to buy online. Order yours today.
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