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7 Functions and Side Effects of Rhodiola (point 3 is often misused)

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.

Research has shown that this natural medicine may stimulate serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine activity. However, more research is needed to confirm efficacy of rhodiola supplements.1 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.

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.4 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,, 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.

Rhodiola rosea (Rhodiola rosea) is a sedum plant native to high-latitude cold zone. It has been recorded in the Shennong’s Materia Medica for its special effects. It can be taken for a long time and is non-toxic, and has the effects of nourishing qi and prolonging life. It is a rare and precious herb

In Tibet, Rhodiola is also known as the treasure of Tibetan medicine. It is a weapon used by the local people to fight against mountain sickness. It can also increase physical strength and fight many diseases. It is said that Emperor Kangxi and Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty often took this herb to enjoy it. longevity

Rhodiola Capsules Hong Kong

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What are the recommended scientific evidence effects (benefits) of Rhodiola?

  1. Eliminate stress and strengthen stress resistance

Stress has long been commonplace for modern people, especially for office workers. Long working hours and high pressure bring not only psychological effects (such as loss of emotional control, loss of patience), but also physical problems (such as Stomach pain, decreased immunity), which not only reduces the quality of life, but also causes low work efficiency

Epidemiological observations have also found that the stress and pressure damage caused by long working hours has long been equivalent to the harm caused by smoking, and it increases the risk of stroke and early death. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for office workers to learn to relieve stress!

In a study, it was found that taking Rhodiola rosea has the effect of regulating the stress hormone cortisol (cortisol) without side effects. It can help relieve stress and reduce mental and physical fatigue. Note 1

  1. Increase energy and make exercise longer

Sitting in the office for a long time can be said to be the current lifestyle of most people, and in the absence of physical labor, I often feel that I can’t walk after exercising, or even breathe after climbing stairs.

If you have these conditions, beware of the phenomenon of sarcopenia. Medical research has shown that sarcopenia not only makes people easily sprained and strained, but also easily causes osteoporosis in old age, which doubles the risk of death. So regular exercise is the only solution

Both human and animal studies have confirmed that Rhodiola can promote mitochondrial synthesis of energy ATP, which can effectively increase endurance and reduce inflammation after taking it, so that the pain after exercise can recover faster and the willpower to exercise can be sustained Take longer note 2-3

  1. Prevent mountain sickness (currently no large-scale studies have proven effective)

Mountain sickness refers to various symptoms of discomfort caused by low air pressure and thin air in high altitude areas (above 2100 meters). The main cause is low oxygen concentration in the blood, including headache, vomiting, dizziness, chest tightness, and general weakness. , Inability to fall asleep and other symptoms, and severe cases may even be complicated by lung and brain edema, causing life threats

It is generally believed that Rhodiola has the effect of preventing mountain sickness, but according to the current small research, although Rhodiola can increase the maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) 4 and promote the production of red blood cells (anti-tissue hypoxia) The effect of Note 5

However, studies specifically for mountain sickness have not been proven to be more effective than placebo, which means that it cannot completely eliminate the symptoms of mountain sickness, but it may also be related to the dosage and formulation used, so more studies are needed to confirm Note 6

  1. Depression

Depression is one of the common mental symptoms in recent years, which affects life and quality of life greatly. It is estimated that the lifetime prevalence rate is about 15%, and it affects more than 300 million people in the world.

In terms of treatment, drugs and behavioral therapies are generally the mainstay. However, in the use of drugs, it has been found that nearly 70% of patients have doubts about the effects and reactions of drugs, so they often interrupt the course of treatment and cause deterioration

A preliminary randomized double-blind controlled study (12-week period, 57 patients with mild to moderate depression) found that Rhodiola had the effect of reducing the scores of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, although the magnitude was low It is an antidepressant drug (sertraline), but has high tolerance and low side effects, showing that Rhodiola has a mild antidepressant effect. Note 11

  1. Speed ​​up weight loss, especially to help burn belly fat

Obesity is currently the most common health issue in the world. Long-term obesity does not only affect appearance. More studies have pointed out that once fat cells (especially waist and abdomen fat) accumulate excessively, they will begin to secrete various inflammatory factors, causing the body Chronic inflammation and further development into various chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc.)

The rosavin component in Rhodiola can accelerate fat metabolism and promote fat cell apoptosis. It has been found in animal experiments that compared with those taking placebo, the use of Rhodiola can make weight loss more smoothly. Note 7

  1. Reduce lactic acid accumulation and muscle damage after exercise

Lactic acid accumulation is a by-product of glucose metabolism during exercise. When the accumulation rate is too high, the muscles will feel obvious discomfort or even weakness, which will make the exercise unsustainable.

In a preliminary study published by Italy, it was pointed out that taking Rhodiola rosea can effectively eliminate lactic acid accumulation and muscle damage after training. It is a highly potential sports supplement food. Note 8

  1. Increase mental capacity

There are too many interferences and temptations. It is in this era of information explosion. The common voice of everyone is that when dealing with a task that requires concentration, concentration and restraint are very important, and it is vital to the success or failure of the result.

There is a famous saying: “It is usually not insufficient ability, but too much interference” that will hinder our progress. A study of surgeons found that taking Rhodiola can significantly improve five mental abilities (including Short-term memory, thinking ability, concentration, calculation ability, hearing and visual ability) Note 9, can you be more handy in the face of various tasks and move towards success


Are there any side effects of Rhodiola?

Rhodiola rosea has been rated as a highly safe herb in most studies. Under normal doses (200 to 600 mg), there is no toxic reaction and no side effects. Note 10, but due to its ability to regulate physical fitness, In a small number of cases, there have been reactions such as dry mouth, restlessness, and dizziness. If these conditions occur, please stop taking

Matters needing attention (use taboo)

Do not take it before going to bed (because Rhodiola can enhance physical fitness and may cause insomnia)

Do not use with antidepressant and anxiety drugs, such as benzodiazepines (Benzodiazepines) or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), which may reduce the effect of strong drugs and cause adverse reactions

Do not use medicine for patients with coagulation disorders, taking anticoagulants or before surgery (a large amount of Rhodiola may have anticoagulant effects)