Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola rosea: Centuries of Use
Proved Effective in Modern Life

I have been increasingly recommending Rhodiola rosea when patients come to me asking about herbs for depression. But when you get to know the big picture on Rhodiola, antidepressant is only one of its many effective attributes. Increasing overall energy and stamina, improving resistance to viral infections, relief of seasonal affective disorder (depression during winter months), general depression and anxiety, and relief of fatigue are all “correct answers” to the question, “What is Rhodiola used for?”


Also quite interesting is the potential of Rhodiola rosea to provide symptom relief forchronic pain patients, because it works to improve the balance in some neurotransmitters in the brain.

Remember however that herbs are medicines, and staying within a recommended dose range is important for this herbal medication as for any other. If a moderate dose helps, then a higher dose is not necessarily better. In fact, at high doses, this herbal medicine may actually provoke more of the anxiety it is supposed to relieve. For most adults, a dose of a standardized extract of Rhodiola, standardized to 1% rosavins, would be effective between 340 and 680 milligrams per day.

Rhodiola is an herb in the class of botanical medicines called adaptogens. We know it has been used for at least 300 years in that way, and has been also called “arctic root.” Its origin seems to be from northern European herbal medicine traditions. It grows as a native plant in cold regions of the Northern Hemisphere. An adaptogen, otherwise known as a “tonic,” is an herbal medicine which protects the whole system from stress. Its primary protective effect is probably the adrenal glands , which is one of the reasons this is such a great herbal medicine choice for someone who is both depressed and exhausted.

Like all herbal medicines, I recommend you use this with the guidance of a professional. You will not feel the effects immediately, but after about two weeks of daily use, you will understand why so many are excited about Rhodiola rosea as an herbal medication for depression and low energy.


To your health and wellness,


Robert Pendergrast, M.D.

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