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Important Rhodiola Rosea Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings

Rhodiola rosea, also known as “golden root” or “artic root” in the mountainous regions of Asia and Europe, is a medicinal plant used for centuries in traditional medicines. Rhodiola rosea is a popular adaptogen, a natural tonic which helps the body adapt to environmental, physical and mental stress. The super herb adapts to the body’s needs – meaning, it has a calming effect in moments of stress, and boosts energy when one is fatigued. It is generally tolerated and considered safe for use.

This article will explore the potential side effects and interactions of Rhodiola rosea. Although rare, most are linked to interactions with medications and underlying medical disorders. If you have any health conditions, please make sure to consult your doctor before using Rodhiola rosea extract supplements.


Rhodiola side effects and interactions of the adaptogen


Rhodiola Rosea Benefits

For more information about the benefits of Rhodiola rosea, check out our great blog post about Rhodiola Rosea Benefits - Top 3 Ways Golden Root can Benefit You Today! This article is primarily focused on the Rhodiola rosea side effects.

1. Reduces stress and improves mood

Rhodiola rosea supplements have neuroprotective effects on the nervous system. The herbal extract has been shown to normalize cortisol levels, the body’s stress hormone and increase dopamine and serotonin sensitivity – thus improving overall mood and well-being, and preventing anxiety and depression. [1]

2. Helps with mental and physical fatigue

Due to its high antioxidant content, Rhodiola rosea has the potential to ward-off fatigue and brain fog. In a recent systematic review of controlled trials, some evidence suggests that it has tremendous abilities to enhance performance and decrease feelings of physical and work-related exhaustion. However, scientists stated there were methodological flaws which may limit accuracy so further studies are needed. [2]

3. Boosts cognitive function

Researchers have demonstrated that supplementing with Rhodiola rosea improves cognitive function and memory. Supplementing with small doses greatly enhanced mental performance including improved attention, memory and learning functions. [3]

4. Helps to increase physical performance and weight loss

Another one of Rhodiola rosea benefits is its ability to help your body burn fat more efficiently as fuel. Certain animal studies showed that, rosavin, the active compound in Rhodiola rosea, may be effective at reducing adipose tissue, the body’s fat storage cells and increase physical endurance. In fact, a study on rats indicated that it increased their swimming time up to 159%. Even more, regular exercise was shown to optimize the herb’s weight loss benefits. [4]

 

How to take Rhodiola Rosea supplements

The optimal dose of Rhodiola rosea to improve symptoms of fatigue and stress is around 200 to 600 mg/day in a 5 percent rosavin and 2 percent salidroside supplement. Start small and work your way up. It is best taken on an empty stomach, around 15 minutes before a meal, typically split into two servings throughout the day. Avoid taking before bedtime as it has a slight stimulatory effect in higher doses. [5] [6]

Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic practices believe that Rhodiola rosea, like many other herbs, mushrooms and roots, are best absorbed with a healthy fat, such as ghee or coconut oil, and a warming spice, such as black pepper. [7]

rhodiola plant in nature

 

Rhodiola Rosea Side Effects 

Fortunately, Rhodiola rosea side effects are generally mild and uncommon at recommended dosage. Although this dietary supplement is considered safe, high doses may cause headaches, agitation, insomnia or dizziness. If you have any underlying medical conditions, it is recommended that you first consult with a doctor before using this supplement. [8] [9]

The risk of drug interactions and side effects is negligible. Nonetheless, it is important to understand that Rhodiola rosea extract may have some adverse effects, especially for:

Pregnant and breastfeeding women: Information regarding safety of this supplement for pregnant and nursing women is insufficient, and therefore should be avoided. [10]

Children: Small doses have been given to children without adverse effects. Nevertheless, researchers suggest that dosages given to 8-12 years old must be kept low and measured to avoid overstimulation.[11]

People with bleeding disorders:  The herbal extract has the potential to slow your body’s ability to form blood clots. Avoid Rhodiola rosea if you have a bleeding disorder.

People with diabetes: Rhodiola rosea may reduce blood sugar levels. It may increase the risk of blood sugar levels becoming too low. Diabetics taking insulin or other diabetes medications should avoid taking Rhodiola rosea. [12]

People with low blood pressure: Rhodiola rosea may cause blood pressure to become too low. Individuals with low blood pressure should be careful when using Rhodiola rosea extract.

People who suffer from autoimmune conditions: Rhodiola has the potential to stimulate the immune system. Individuals with autoimmune conditions should consult their physician before trying Rhodiola rosea.

 

Rhodiola Rosea Side Effects - Interactions 

Despite the lack of documented information regarding Rhodiola rosea interactions, the plant may potentially interact with the following medications: 

  • Blood pressure medications: May interact with these as they both lower your blood pressure levels. Taking Rhodiola rosea with blood pressure medications could cause your blood pressure to fall too low
  • Caffeine: May increase the stimulatory effects of caffeine
  • Diabetes medicines: May interact with these as they both lower your blood sugar levels. Taking Rhodiola rosea supplements with antidiabetic medication could cause your blood pressure to fall too low
  • Escitalopram: Could increase the risk of side effects associated with this chemical agent. One case study reported the development of tachycardia 3 days after adding Rhodiola rosea to long-term administration of escitalopram [13]
  • Medications altered/activated by the liver: Certain constituents of Rhodiola rosea may change how your body metabolizes medicine that is activated in the liver [14]

Rhodiola rosea has positive interactions with other dietary supplements and medications. Examples of plant origins include Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) and ashwagandha. In fact, Rhodiola Rosea may be effective at reducing some of the side effects of OTC medications.[15]

Rhodiola for mood and energy

 

Conclusion: Side Effects of Rhodiola Rosea

In summary, Rhodiola rosea is a tremendous supplement for those wishing to reduce stress, improve overall mood and boost physical and mental performance. It strengthens the immune system by protecting the body from mental, physical and environmental stress, and is a very promising treatment for fatigue as well as a number of mental health conditions. [16]

Though the therapeutic properties of Rhodiola rosea have been widely recognized for centuries as it is considered one of the world’s most potent adaptogenic herbs, the side effects and interactions or the herb are not well documented. This is attributed to the fact that Rhodiola Rosea extract is generally considered to be very safe.

The recommended dosage for Rhodiola rosea is 200-600 mg per day. To enhance absorption, some suggest taking it with a healthy fat and a warm spice.

While Rhodiola rosea side effects are minimal and mild, some experience headaches, insomnia and overstimulation when consumed in high doses. The most important consideration when consuming the herbal extract is the potential interactions that can occur with a few medications and pharmaceutical agents.

 

Medical Disclaimer


Not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease or ailment. Please read and fully understand the potential adverse effects before using this product. These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA and are not written by a medical professional. Please consult your doctor before using any supplements, especially if you have any medical conditions.

 

Murielle

Murielle

Health Consultant, studying Health Sciences and Naturopathic Medicine Researched & written by Murielle and verified by the Liftmode.com Research Team

 

Citations and Supporting Literature:

[1] Liu, L., Liu, C., Wang, Y., Wang, P., Li, Y., & Li, B. (2015). Herbal Medicine for Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia. Current neuropharmacology13(4), 481–493. doi:10.2174/1570159X1304150831122734;

Lishmanov IuB, Trifonova ZhV, Tsibin AN, Maslova LV, Dement'eva LA. [Plasma beta-endorphin and stress hormones in stress and adaptation]. Biull Eksp Biol Med. 1987 Apr;103(4):422-4. Russian. PubMed PMID: 2952180

[2] Battistelli M, De Sanctis R, De Bellis R, Cucchiarini L, Dachà M, Gobbi P.Rhodiola rosea as antioxidant in red blood cells: ultrastructural and hemolytic behaviour. Eur J Histochem. 2005 Jul-Sep;49(3):243-54. PubMed PMID: 16216810.

[3] Kelly, G.S., 2001. Rhodiola rosea: a possible plant adaptogen. Alternative Medicine Review 6 (3), 293–302.

[4] Verpeut, J. L., Walters, A. L., & Bello, N. T. (2013). Citrus aurantium and Rhodiola rosea in combination reduce visceral white adipose tissue and increase hypothalamic norepinephrine in a rat model of diet-induced obesity. Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.)33(6), 503–512. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2013.04.001

[5] De Bock K, Eijnde BO, Ramaekers M, Hespel P. Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004 Jun;14(3):298-307. PubMed PMID: 15256690.

[6] Edwards D, Heufelder A, Zimmermann A. Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms--results of an open-label study. Phytother Res. 2012 Aug;26(8):1220-5. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3712.Epub 2012 Jan 6. PubMed PMID: 22228617.

[7] “Rhodiola Benefits: Burning Fat for Energy, Beating Depression + More”.  Draxe.com available online from https://draxe.com/nutrition/herbs/rhodiola-benefits-burning-fat-for-energy-and-beating-depression/

[8]Rhodiola Rosea”. Drugs.com, available online from  https://www.drugs.com/npp/rhodiola-rosea.html

[9] Azizov AP, Seifulla RD. The effect of elton, leveton, fitoton and adapton on the work capacity of experimental animals [in Russian]. Eksp Klin Farmakol. 1998;61(3):61-63.9690082

[10]Rhodiola”. WebMD.com, available online from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-883/rhodiola

[11] How to Use Herbs, Nutrients & Yoga in Mental Health Care, by Richard P. Brown, M.D. (of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons), Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D. (of New York Medical College), and Philip R. Muskin, M.D. (of Columbia as well) (W. W. Norton and Company, New York, 2009), at 52-55.

[12] Rhodiola”, op., cit.,

[13] McGovern E, McDonnell TJ. Herbal medicine--sets the heart racing! Ir Med J. 2010;103(7):219.20845605

[14] Thu, O., Spigset, O., & Hellum, B. (2017). Noncompetitive inhibition of human CYP2C9 in vitro by a commercial Rhodiola rosea product. Pharmacology research & perspectives5(4), e00324. doi:10.1002/prp2.324

[15] Brown et al., op., cit., at 52-55

[16] van Diermen D, Marston A, Bravo J, Reist M, Carrupt PA, Hostettmann K. Monoamine oxidase inhibition by Rhodiola rosea L. roots. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009