Rhodiola Rosea Significantly Improves Anxiety, Stress, Mood and Protection Against Viral Infections
Daily intake of an extract made from Rhodiola Rosea (also known as arctic root or golden root), improves various measures of mood, anger, confusion, and depression says a new study from England.
Rhodiola Rosea has already been clinically shown to stimulate serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine activity, and support healthy neurotransmitter balance.
Many populations around the world are currently using rhodiola for treating cancer, tuberculosis, and diabetes; preventing cold and flu, aging, and liver damage; improving hearing; strengthening the nervous system; and enhancing immunity.
A review in HerbalGram, the journal of the American Botanical Council, reported that numerous studies of rhodiola in both humans and animals have indicated that it helps prevent fatigue, stress, and the damaging effects of oxygen deprivation.
Evidence also suggests that it acts as an antioxidant, enhances immune system function, and can increase sexual energy. Rhodiola's efficacy was confirmed in a 2011 review of 11 placebo-controlled human studies. The reviewers considered studies that all had study designs rated as moderate to good quality, and the analysis of their combined data concluded that rhodiola might have beneficial effects on physical performance, mental performance, and certain mental health conditions.
Rhodiola both stimulates and protects the immune system by reinstating homeostasis (metabolic balance) in the body. It also increases the natural killer cells (NK) in the stomach and spleen. This action may be due to its ability to normalise hormones by modulating the release of glucocorticoid into the body.
Powerful Effects on Mood
Data from 81 mildly anxious students indicated that 14 days of supplementation with the Rhodiola rosea L. extract significantly reduced self-reported anxiety and stress.
"Although Rhodiola rosea has been used traditionally to relieve a range of symptoms of stress related disorders, to our knowledge this is the first study to demonstrate the efficacy of Rhodiola rosea L. in the treatment of mild anxiety," wrote Mark Cropley, Adrian Banks, and Julia Boyle from the University of Surrey in Phytotherapy Research .
Cropley, Banks, and Boyle recruited 81 students with an average age of 21 to participate in their 14-day study. The participants were assigned to receive two 200 mg doses per day of the Rhodiola rosea L extract or no treatment.
Self-reported measures indicated that Rhodiola group demonstrated a significant reduction in self-reported anxiety and stress. Secondary endpoints, including anger, confusion and depression, also improved over the 14 day trial. Self-reported "total mood" was also significantly improved in the Rhodiola group.
On the other hand, no changes to measures of cognitive function were reported by the researchers.
Importantly, the safety and tolerability of the Rhodiola rosea L supplements were favourable.
"Future research is needed to replicate the current findings, and it would be desirable to supplement the subjective nature of self-reports with more objective indices," wrote Cropley, Banks, and Boyle. "Clinical interviews could be used to assess mood, and sleep could be assessed via wrist actigraphy or EEG.
"The lack of placebo control is another limitation of this study. It is unlikely that the findings were the result of placebo effects, as changes appeared gradual and were specific to certain measures. As this was a non-placebo RCT, however, we cannot determine a causal relationship, and we cannot exclude that some of the changes were because of time alone or other factors."
"Overall the results demonstrated that Rhodiola rosea L. (Vitango) is effective in the treatment of mild anxiety and stress. It improved confusion, anger, and total mood, and was well tolerated."