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The Skinny on Rhodiola

In a recent Runner's World article, Jennifer Beals (actress and avid runner) said, "Rhodiola has been really helpful in terms of healing. . . . I have since discovered a lot of runners and a lot of athletes use it because it's an anti-inflammatory."

I had never heard of this supplement, but have since learned that it comes from a plant with yellow flowers and bears the full name Rhodiola rosea. It's also called arctic root since it grows at high altitudes in cold regions. It's been used in traditional medicine in Russia and the Scandinavian countries for centuries to treat a whole slew of issues including fatigue, poor attention span, migraines, and decreased memory. It may also prevent depression, enhance the immune system, and increase sexual energy. Fruit flies taking Rhodiola in a study lived 10 percent longer than fruit flies that did not, and it had anticancer effects on rats.

Athletes take Rhodiola to increase their physical endurance, combat anxiety when in stressful situations (such as a competition), and for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Rhodiola sounds like some miracle plant, but it also has some negative side effects. To hear about them


Taking Rhodiola may cause headaches, an upset stomach, drowsiness, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. It's not recommended for people with bipolar disorder.

The roots of this herb are dried and sold on their own, as a powder, as a tincture, or in capsule form. Like many herbal supplements, there aren't a ton of scientific studies about Rhodiola. That's not to say it doesn't help people with various ailments and issues, but it should be taken with caution.






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cowelltraining cowelltraining 7 years
The "skinny" on... Does this help with weight loss?
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 7 years
Miracle plant?Typical mild stimulant.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 7 years
Miracle plant? Typical mild stimulant.
et-moi et-moi 7 years
So funny because my boyfriend has been taking this for some time and swears by it, and convinced me to try it for a while, and I am not easily swayed, but I did notice a significant difference in my energy levels (I am usually exhausted easily and need naps almost everyday) I wasn't super hyper but just felt steady...and my workouts seemed also made me feel less that it would be a side effect is funny. But everyone is different and I think supplements affect people differently...and am not endorsing it at all but just sharing my experience with it...
morninghurts morninghurts 7 years
I learned about it from Dr. Oz and tried taking it myself for a small period of time. Can't report anything worth noting from my use.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
So it causes drowsiness and trouble sleeping? That's sort of weird. Sounds like more research needs to be done on it before I'll try it.
rebelkate rebelkate 7 years
Origins "Youthtopia" face moisturizer has rhodiola in it. They have a whole paragraph describing the supposed history of the plant's remarkable properties.
telewyo telewyo 7 years sounds like not much is really known about it since it seems to have very contradictory treatments and side effects! It's used for migraines but may cause headaches, used for fatigue but may make you drowsy??
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