Rhodiola extract is one of the newer herbal supplements in the U.S. touted for its proven relief for depression and stress. Arriving in the U.S. during the 1990s, this old world herb is a new addition to the more commonly recommended supplements for depression such as St. John’s Wart and vitamin B.
Rhodiola rosea is an herbal plant that traditionally grows in cold regions of the world such as Scandinavia and Russia. It also grows well in areas of high elevation, such as the Arctic regions. It’s therapeutic benefits were discovered by the Russians in the mid-1900s and was proven to provide mood enhancement for depression or hyper stress. Interestingly, it was officially used by the KGB as a natural remedy for agents who were subject to high stress associated with working in the tightly controlled, covert agency. KGB agents and many Russian government workers were given natural Rhodiola extract over a period of 40-50 years. It’s usefulness to alleviate mild to moderate depression and manage stress levels were well documented and the information eventually became available to the public.
In the 1990s, American entrepreneurs recognized the opportunity to offer it globally as a safe, natural enhancement for mood as well as for general health, and introduced it to the U.S. natural health market.
Benefits of Rhodiola Extract
Today, studies have revealed that rhodiola is one of the best new herbal remedies to treat depression and relieve stress because of its unique medicinal qualities. Dr. Andrew Weil reports that, “A study published in 2007 in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, showed that patients with mild to moderate depression who took a rhodiola extract reported fewer symptoms of depression than those who took a placebo. A small human trial of rhodiola at UCLA published in 2008, reported significant improvement in 10 people with generalized anxiety who took the herb for 10 weeks. Rhodiola appears to work faster than conventional antidepressants, often in less than a week.”
Internationally recognized doctor in the fields of integrative medicine, dietary supplements and women’s health, Tieraon Low Dog, M.D., also says that rhodiola is a favorite herb for treating patients who suffer from “21st century stress”, low energy, concentration problems, fatigue, mental fog, and, perhaps, mild depression.
Clinical trials have shown that the herb can safely alleviate mild to moderate depression among sufferers from 18 -70 years of age. Studies also show that there is an obvious increase in mental performance and fatigue significantly diminishes when taking rhodiola extract for at least 4 weeks. It naturally lessens the symptoms of anxiety and helps to manage stress without the side effects of traditional drugs. Those who suffer from Hashimoto’s disease may especially benefit from its use and experience better mental performance and increased energy.
How to Take Rhodiola Extract for Depression and Stress Relief
Rhodiola rosea supplements can be found in many forms, but is most commonly used as capsules or tablets. Common dosages are listed on labels, but here are a few guidelines to follow when using this supplement.
Be sure to choose a standardized extract that contains 0.8-1% salidroside and 2-3% rosavin, which are important for best benefits. Most capsules are 100 mgs. each.
You can take one to two capsules a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. It’s best to avoid taking it late in the day, since some people may find that it makes them jittery or may interrupt their sleep pattern if taken at night.
For more increased effectiveness, you can take 200 mg. three times a day if preferred. One study suggests that an effective dosage for mild to moderate depression ranges between 380-680 mgs. Taking 1000 mgs. or more is considered to be a high dose.
Is Rhodiola Rosea Safe?
Current studies indicate that there are no known adverse side effects from taking rhodiola rosea. Some people may experience mild jitters, dry mouth or possible dizziness. Generally, however, very few experience negative effects. You should take the herb earlier in the day, as well as start out with a low dose to help avoid any minor side effects. Then, gradually increase the amount until satisfactory levels are reached for depression and stress relief.
As with any alternative treatment or natural remedy, it’s wise to consult your physician or natural practitioner for any health concerns you may have.
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Best New Herb for Depression and Stress