In my last post we talked about the recent Consumer Reports list of supplements to avoid. Kava, a supplement used to treat anxiety, was one reported to avoid for possibly dangerous side effects. But are there supplements to treat mood and anxiety which are not known to pose great health risks and also have research to back up their efficacy? You have to do your homework to find them but there are some supplements which may fit this category. Rhodiola rosea is one supplement I have come across in my personal research which appears to pose very little risk to safety and has quite a bit of research to show that it can increase feelings of general mental well being.
Disclaimer: Any time you take a supplement you are taking a risk because supplements are not FDA approved. There may be side effects or long term effects which are unknown. Do your own homework to research any supplement you choose to take. And remember to discuss your choices with your doctor to make sure that there are no harmful interactions between your supplements and the medications you are already taking.
What is Rhodiola rosea?
Rhodiola rosea is a plant which grows in high altitudes such as the mountains of Siberia and is one of the few plants which can grow in freezing temperatures. It is the root of this plant which provides the ingredients to create the supplement. Rhodiola rosea also goes by the names of Golden Root, Siberian Root, Roseroot, or Artic Root.
Rhodiola rosea is considered to be an adaptogen. In order to be classified under this category an herb must have the following characteristics:
• The herb must be nontoxic to the user and cause no harmful side effects.
• The herb must benefit the body as a whole instead of targeting a specific region. It must help the body to be more resistant to all types of stressors.
• Adaptogens must help to create a state of balance or normalization and help to restore a natural homeostasis to the body.
The medicinal uses of Rhodiola rosea have been used in Russia for over sixty years.
What are the reported benefits of taking this supplement? (Remember that these are reported effects but it may end up that the supplement does not benefit you in any way.)
• Increased energy, endurance and stamina
• Reduction in stress levels and a decrease in situational anxiety
• Increased mental clarity
• Uplifts mood
• Decrease in mental fatigue
These are just some of the supposed benefits to taking Rhodiola rosea. I have listed the ones which I felt I felt would be of most interest to people suffering from anxiety and/or depression.
What does the research say? Let’s start with safety and possible side effects as well as how to best take this supplement. In a report included in the Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety authors Farhath Khanum, Amarinder Singh Bawa, and Brahm Singh provide an extremely thorough investigation of Rhodiola rosea and how it works.