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How to Combat Stress with Rhodiola

Liz Sena January 10, 2019

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” — Lou Holtz

In the Western world, it appears as though we have every possible advantage, yet we’re unbelievably stressed out. In fact, as many as eight out of every ten Americans experience stress on a daily basis.

This is leading to a wide range of mental and physical health conditions, many of which are preventable. Although many are turning to yoga, meditation, exercise, journaling, or other stress-relieving activities, all of which are beneficial, there are also supplements that can support you from the inside out.

Of the available options, Rhodiola continues to captivate researchers, as it has a vast history and showcases unique stress-busting properties. If you’re feeling the pressure lately, here’s what Rhodiola can do for you.

 

Image result for rhodiola

What Is Rhodiola?

Sometimes referred to as golden root or Arctic root, Rhodiola rosea is a flowering plant with an adaptogenic root. This means that it helps naturally combat stress without interfering with normal biological functions. Working with your body, it may reduce tension and relieve anxiety without any associated side effects.

Growing in arctic areas of Asia and Europe at high altitudes, this herb has been used for centuries in traditional Scandinavian countries, as well as throughout Russia and China. Still used to this day, helping to combat everything from poor memory to fatigue, stress to poor mental performance, researchers have continued to study its beneficial properties.

In more recent years, it has become a popular supplement among endurance athletes and Olympians. Supporting the body and mind, it is a beneficial plant with many beneficial properties.

Bottom line: Rhodiola is a plant and its roots are used as medicine. It has vast history across many cultures and is native to the arctic regions of Asia and Europe. It is an adaptogenic herb that has been shown to reduce stress, improve athletic performance, support those with depression, decrease feelings of fatigue, and promote optimal heart health.

Stress, the Silent Killer

Stress is one of those things we can all relate to. You know what it feels like but how exactly does it impact and threaten your health?

Although a rather complex topic, it all begins with your immune system. When you experience ongoing stress, this makes you much more susceptible to illness and disease. While acute stress is normal, chronic stress is not.

When you face ongoing stress, your brain begins to send defense signals to your endocrine system, which is what produces your hormones. In turn, everything can be affected, ranging from your mood to your sleep patterns, tissue function to your metabolism. Some experts even claim that stress is linked to up to 90 percent of all diseases and illnesses.

After all, approximately 90 percent of all visits to physicians are for stress-related complaints. When chronic stress is not addressed, it can actually begin to cause damage to tissues, leading to increased inflammation. Unfortunately, this can contribute to the development of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues, and may also increase your risk of neurodegenerative conditions and neuronal loss in specific regions of the brain.

man standing while raising his hands at seashore

How Does Rhodiola Benefit Those Suffering From Chronic Stress and How Does It Work?

As stated above, Rhodiola is an adaptogen. This means that by definition, it helps your body adapt to stress, ensuring that your body is able to better regulate cortisol levels.

It is believed that Rhodiola may have a direct impact on various brain chemicals, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which is likely why its benefits are so vast.

When taking Rhodiola on a regular basis, as stress-symptoms subside, other benefits may ensue, including enhanced immune function and increased physical/sexual energy.

In terms of how Rhodiola actually works, it is its adaptogen properties that play a starring role. They are also why this flowering plant is able to survive, and even thrive, in such harsh conditions. Whether this plant faces disease or incredibly cold temperatures, it is able to adapt.

Although researchers continue to study this plant’s unique properties, it is believed that the adaptogens in the plant itself are what lead to the resulting human-related benefits. For example, when taking a Rhodiola supplement, its properties and adaptogenic capabilities are then transferred to you. However, absorption rates vary based on the quality of the supplement you take. That is why you should always know what you’re taking and why.

Related: Learn What to Look for When Choosing a Multivitamin

Also, it is believed that the benefits associated with Rhodiola are cumulative. This means that if you were to take Rhodiola on a regular basis, your body may be able to build its own natural defenses, allowing you to cope with stress, fatigue, and anxiety more effectively.

woman walking on pathway during daytime

What the Research Has to Say

Unlike some of the medications commonly prescribed to those suffering from stress and anxiety, Rhodiola does not cause problematic side effects. Instead, it combats stress and decreases mental fatigue while boosting mental and physical performance.

As stated in this 2018 study, published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, stress creates physical symptoms which lead to exhaustion or energy loss, as well as psychological symptoms. In this study, researchers focused on the effect of Rhodiola, particularly in regards to stress-related symptoms. It was concluded that Rhodiola rosea extract influences stress hormones while boosting energy metabolism. In turn, this may help prevent complications associated with chronic stress.

In another large study, published in Phytotherapy Research, 101 participants were observed. These subjects were experiencing life-stress symptoms and were given 200 mg of Rhodiola rosea extract twice daily for a total of four weeks. Positive improvements were observed after just three days of treatment and the participants showed further improvements after weeks one and four. Life-stress symptoms improved to a clinically relevant degree and no serious adverse events were reported.

What’s even more remarkable, is that Rhodiola rosea extract may also assist those who are already suffering from more severe burnout symptoms. This study was the first of its kind, showcasing the impact that Rhodiola rosea has on those living with burnout syndrome. After 12 weeks, it was also shown to improve symptoms of depression.

person holding amber glass bottle

What Other Benefits Are Associated with Rhodiola?

As mentioned, although Rhodiola is commonly used for stress and anxiety, it can also target a wide range of other health issues and conditions.

Of those, fatigue tends to be closely related. Those who are stressed are not only exhausted during the day — their anxieties also tend to keep them up at night. This is a vicious cycle that can wreak havoc on your short and long-term health.

Considering as many as 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men feel “very tired or exhausted” most days or every day of the week, if you can relate, you need to address this issue. While there are many contributing factors, Rhodiola has been shown to help alleviate fatigue and improve quality of life.

Rhodiola has also been shown to:

  • Reduce symptoms of depression by balancing key neurotransmitters in the brain. In this study, Rhodiola was shown to have anti-depressive effects on patients suffering from depression in comparison to those who took a placebo. The researchers concluded that after a 6-week period, doses of either 340 or 680 mg benefited those with mild to moderate depression.
  • Enhance brain function, mainly by targeting mental fatigue. Rhodiola has been shown to be particularly effective when aiming to boost mental performance during mentally stressful times.
  • Improve physical performance by reducing perceived exertion. This is the perfect example of how the body and mind are connected. Studies have shown that when taking Rhodiola, athletes are able to enhance their performance.

In summary, Rhodiola is a natural, effective remedy that is used to target a wide range of issues. If you are struggling with stress and anxiety, it’s imperative that you begin to focus on key lifestyle changes.

Although quality supplements offer support, you’ll need to make daily changes that have a positive impact on your health. To do so, please follow Curos for daily inspiration and refer to the following guides and resources:

 

Liz Sena
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