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a man meditation at sunset and a rhodiola herb

Rhodiola Guide (+ 7 Top Picks)

Rhodiola rosea is an herb that grows in arctic and mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. Its roots have been used in traditional medicinal practices throughout the Nordic region, Russia, and other countries for hundreds of years.

Rhodiola extract is often taken as an adaptogenic supplement, which help the body cope with stress. We’ve laid out the 7 best rhodiola supplements to help you pick the right one for you. Farther down, we’ve listed the research-backed benefits of this ancient herb, as well as its recommended dosage.

Top 7 Best Rhodiola Supplements

Best Rhodiola Supplement Overall

Nutra Champs – Rhodiola Rosea Capsules

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This rhodiola brand is the go-to for anyone wanting to try this fatigue-reducing herb.

Top pick

3% Rosavin

1% Salidroside

120
capsules
300mg
per capsule

Nutra Champs’ rhodiola extract capsules are one of the best rhodiola supplements you can buy. It has an industry-standard concentration of 3% rosavin and 1% salidroside, delivered in vegan-friendly gelatin capsules. It’s an easy go-to for anyone wanting to experience the numerous benefits of rhodiola extract.

Best Organic Rhodiola Brand

Double Wood – Organic Rhodiola Rosea Capsules

All organic, non-GMO, and USA-grown, this is the best organic rhodiola supplement.

Organic

1% Rosavin

3% Salidroside

120
capsules
500mg
per capsule

If you’re looking for the best rhodiola supplement but want to stick with organic products, Double Wood is the brand for you. This USA-manufactured rhodiola extract is all organic and non-GMO, making it one of the cleanest rhodiola brands. It’s a great all-natural pick for this stress-relieving adaptogenic.

Strongest Rhodiola Supplement

Toniiq – Triple-Strength 5% Salidroside Rhodiola

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At 5% salidroside content, this is one of the most concentrated rhodiola brands.

USA-manufactured

Concentrated extract

5% Salidroside

120
capsules
300mg
per capsule

Research on rhodiola extracts have found that salidroside content is responsible for most of the beneficial effects of the herb, as explained further down. In response, Toniiq has produced this concentrated rhodiola extract, with one of the highest levels of salidroside on the market at 5%. If you’re looking for the strongest rhodiola rosea dose, this is it.

Best Rhodiola Powder (+ Best Value)

BulkSupplements – Rhodiola Powder (100 grams)

Bulk Supplements’ pure rhodiola powder is the best bang for your buck.

Best value

1% Rosavin

3% Salidroside

Buying supplements in powdered form is usually more cost-effective than pill form, and this is true for rhodiola rosea. At 3% salidroside content, this pure rhodiola extract powder boasts a higher salidroside dose than most other supplements. It’s a great pick for anyone who wants to take the powder directly or make their own capsules.

With a capsule filling machine and empty gelatin capsules, you can make your own inexpensive rhodiola pills. We’ve linked size 0 capsules, as they’re the perfect size for roughly 500 milligrams of rhodiola powder.

Best Rhodiola Liquid Capsules

Gaia Herbs – Liquid Rhodiola Extract Capsules

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These rhodiola liquid extract capsules are a great choice for concentrated stress-relief.

Liquid concentrate

5% Rosavin

1% salidroside

60
capsules
120mg
per capsule*

*Each capsule contains 120 mg of liquid rhodiola extract, which Gaia Herbs claims is the equivalent of 850 milligrams of dry rhodiola herb.

This rhodiola supplement delivers roughly 1% salidroside and 5% rosavin content in a plant-based liquid herbal extract. Although no research has been performed on the differences between rhodiola powder and liquid extract, some users prefer liquid. You may want to try both types to figure out which you prefer.

Best Rhodiola Tincture

Herb Pharm – Rhodiola Root Liquid Tincture (1 oz)

If you want economical, concentrated liquid rhodiola extract, this is a great pick.

Easily mixable

Standard rosavin content

Standard salidroside content

This liquid rhodiola root extract is a great option for anyone who’s not a big fan of pills. Mix 30 to 40 drops of this rhodiola tincture into a glass of water for some easily-digestible stress relief.

Note that since this liquid extract is derived directly from rhodiola roots, it does contain standard rosavin and salidroside levels. However, as this can vary slightly from plant to plant, these percentages aren’t listed.

Best Rhodiola and Ashwagandha Blend

Organic Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, and Turmeric Capsules

A blend of rhodiola, ashwagandha, and turmeric powders, this adaptogenic supplement is a great all-rounder.

Ashwagandha extract

Pure rhodiola powder

Raw turmeric powder

90
capsules
668mg
per capsule*

*This is the total mass of ashwagandha, rhodiola, turmeric, and black pepper extract combined.

Many people who take rhodiola also take ashwagandha for its complementary adaptogenic effects. Zeal Nautrals’ herbal supplement combines the benefits of rhodiola, ashwagandha, and turmeric extracts into one standardized pill for maximal mental and physical health.

Farther down, we compare the effects of rhodiola vs. ashwagandha.


Health Benefits of Rhodiola

Rhodiola has a long history in traditional medicine throughout Europe and Asia. Research in the past several decades has come along to verify many of the claims of the mental and physical health benefits of this ancient herb. Here’s a brief overview.

  • Reduced Fatigue

One of rhodiola’s most widely-reported effects is its ability to reduce fatigue, and several studies have supported this claim.

One notable study examined the effects of 576 milligrams of rhodiola per day over 28 days.1A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. Over the course of the trial, subjects showed significantly reduced measurements of fatigue and burnout. Researchers also noted significantly reduced levels of cortisol, a hormone closely related to stress and anxiety and often correlating with fatigue.

In another study, subjects took 200 milligrams of rhodiola twice per day for eight weeks.2Rhodiola rosea in Subjects with Prolonged or Chronic Fatigue Symptoms: Results of an Open-Label Clinical Trial. Like most other studies on rhodiola and fatigue, there was a significant reduction in fatigue after only one week of use. Fatigue continued to decreased noticeably throughout all 8 weeks of the trial.

  • Reduced Stress

Quite a number of studies have found that rhodiola supplementation can help manage stress-related symptoms.

One study looked at the effects of taking 200 milligrams of rhodiola twice daily for four weeks.3Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms–results of an open-label study. As early as three days into treatment, subjects reported continually-decreasing stress-related symptoms. These improvements increased throughout the four-week trial.

And this stress-reducing property doesn’t appear to stop at four weeks. A twelve-week study of the effects of 400 milligrams of rhodiola daily similarly found a significant reduction in stress symptoms as early as one week.4Multicenter, open-label, exploratory clinical trial with Rhodiola rosea extract in patients suffering from burnout symptoms Like the other study, these improvements continued to increase through all twelve weeks of the trial.

  • Improved Quality of Life

In one notable study, subjects taking rhodiola supplements reported significantly improved quality of life.5A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. This is likely a secondary effect related to the effects of reduced stress and fatigue. Regardless of the specific cause, though, this is a tremendously desirable benefit.

silhouette of a person meditating
Rhodiola has been shown to reduce stress and improve quality of life.

Rhodiola and the Brain

Many people take rhodiola for its effects on the brain and mental health. Here are a few of the brain-specific beneficial effects of this ancient root.

  • Improved Cognition

One study of rhodiola extract looked into its effects on stressed students during examinations.6A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of the stimulating and adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract on the fatigue of students caused by stress during an examination period with a repeated low-dose regimen. Supplementation of the extract was associated with significantly reduced mental fatigue, as well as improved motoric response. Put simply, subjects were sharper and could react more quickly.

Another study examined the effects of rhodiola on the mental performance of night shift workers.7Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue–a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. In a two-week trial, subjects who took the supplement demonstrated improved cognitive function, including associative thinking, short-term memory, and concentration. These all play roles in a person’s ability to focus and to think creatively.

  • Reduced Symptoms of Depression

Several studies have found that rhodiola can help reduce depression symptoms.8Panax ginseng, Rhodiola rosea and Schisandra chinensis. This is likely related to the aforementioned anxiety- and stress-reducing effects of the herb, though the depression-specific effects are notable.

One study examined the effects of sufferers of mild to moderate depression taking either 340 milligrams or 680 milligrams of rhodiola per day.9Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. The trial found that with both doses, subjects experienced significantly reduced levels of depression and emotional instability.

Another notable study compared the antidepressant effects of rhodiola rosea against sertraline, a serotonin reuptake inhibitor used to treat depression.10Rhodiola rosea versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial Throughout the twelve-week trial, rhodiola was shown to reduce symptoms of depression. Although its antidepressant effects weren’t as strong as sertraline’s, rhodiola did produce fewer undesirable side effects.

closeup of a mans eye
Research shows that rhodiola can improve cognitive function, including concentration and associative thinking.

Rhodiola and Athletics

Although ashwagandha is the better-known herbal athletic supplement, rhodiola is a contender for performance improvement as well. Here’s some of the research.

  • Improved Endurance Capabilities

A number of studies have demonstrated that rhodiola can reduce muscle fatigue during endurance exercise. The result is that endurance athletes can perform for a longer period of time and/or at a higher intensity.

One study looked at the short-term impact of rhodiola on endurance exercise.11Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. Subjects underwent a series of tests after taking 200 milligrams of rhodiola. On average, subjects were able to perform endurance exercise for a longer period of time, and their maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) increased.

Another study similarly found that rhodiola supplements taken one our before testing improved endurance exercise performance.12The effects of an acute dose of Rhodiola rosea on endurance exercise performance. Based on their findings, the researchers theorize that this is partly due to a decrease in perception of effort during exercise.

Other research further suggests that rhodiola’s performance improvement effects are at least partly the result of decreased perception of effort. One study measured energy expenditure and utilization of carbohydrates and fats during exercise after taking rhodiola.13The Effect of Acute Rhodiola rosea Ingestion on Exercise Heart Rate, Substrate Utilisation, Mood State, and Perceptions of Exertion, Arousal, and Pleasure/Displeasure in Active Men The study found that although performance improved, energy expenditure didn’t increase, which further supports the above theory.

a woman has one arm out of the water while swimming
One of rhodiola’s most notable effects is its endurance improvement.

Rhodiola Rosea Weight Loss: Fact or Fiction?

There is little to no evidence to support the claim that rhodiola rosea helps with weight loss. Many sources claim that rhodiola rosea can directly help with losing fat, but this is mostly repetition of misinformation.

One study is often cited as evidence of rhodiola’s weight loss effects. However, this study noted weight loss in rats (not humans) fed both rhodiola and extract of citrus aurantium, better known as bitter orange.14Citrus aurantium and Rhodiola rosea in combination reduce visceral white adipose tissue and increase hypothalamic norepinephrine in a rat model of diet-induced obesity In addition, several human studies have actually found that supplementing bitter orange extract can improve weight loss.15Citrus aurantium as a thermogenic, weight-reduction replacement for ephedra: an overview.16A Review of the Human Clinical Studies Involving Citrus aurantium (Bitter Orange) Extract and its Primary Protoalkaloid p-Synephrine

As it stands, there have been no studies that suggest rhodiola alone can can improve weight loss (let alone human studies). One study has shown that rhodiola and bitter orange together can improve weight loss in rats. Several studies have shown that bitter orange alone can improve weight loss in humans.

All of this suggests that the weight loss noted in the previously mentioned study was likely a result of the bitter orange extract and not rhodiola rosea.

However, rhodiola may indirectly help with weight loss.

As mentioned above, several studies have demonstrated that this supplement can help improve endurance exercise performance. This means that by taking rhodiola before working out, someone performing endurance exercise to lose weight will be able to do so longer than they would have been able to otherwise.

Rosavin vs. Salidroside

Rhodiola brands will typically disclose the concentration of rosavin and salidroside in their supplements. Though knowing these numbers isn’t crucial, they can be helpful if you’re taking rhodiola rosea for specific benefits.

Little to no research has been performed on rosavin by itself. Most research has been performed on rosavin and salidroside together, so it can be difficult to determine the benefits of the former alone.

However, some of the above-cited research has looked at the effects of salidroside by itself. This research shows us that many of the benefits associated with rhodiola rosea are the result of salidroside content. As such, many users opt for rhodiola extracts with high salidroside content, such as Toniiq’s concentrated 5% salidroside rhodiola extract.

Salidroside chemical diagram

Some Effects of Salidroside:

  • Reduced depression
  • Improved cognition
  • Stress relief
  • Neuroprotective effects

How to Take Rhodiola

Rhodiola Rosea Dosage

A dosage of 400 to 650 milligrams of rhodiola extract daily is what most users choose.

There is currently no officially recommended dosage for rhodiola rosea. However, most studies on this ancient herb have examined the effects of 400 to 650 milligrams per day. Similarly, most people who supplement rhodiola take roughly 500 to 650 milligrams daily.

There is currently no research to suggest that taking a dosage of more than roughly 650 milligrams of rhodiola daily will have any measurable increase in beneficial effects. As such, it is advisable not to take much more than that in order to avoid unpleasant side effects.

Rhodiola Rosea Side Effects

There is currently no research to suggest that rhodiola rosea has any major side effects when supplemented within the dosage range recommended above. No research has been performed on the effects of significantly high doses of rhodiola, either.

Mild side effects at higher doses may include upset stomach, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping. If you experience any unpleasant side effects that don’t subside after a few days, consider lowering your dosage.

Best Time of Day to Take Rhodiola

There is currently no research to suggest there is a best time of day to take rhodiola supplements.

Research has shown that the majority of the benefits of rhodiola supplements are sustained after roughly a week of use. As most of these are not short-term effects, that means that for most uses, it doesn’t matter what time of day you take rhodiola.

However, some of the above cited research suggests that rhodiola’s endurance-boosting effects may be more acute. This would suggest that taking rhodiola before endurance exercise may be beneficial for boosting performance. If you perform endurance exercise and take rhodiola daily, it may be best to take it shortly before your workout.

Rhodiola vs. Ashwagandha

Many people like to supplement rhodiola alongside ashwagandha, an ancient medicinal herb from India. Here’s a quick rundown on the differences between rhodiola and ashwagandha, as well as how they complement each other.

This information is summarized from this guide and our complete ashwagandha guide.

RhodiolaAshwagandha
Immune system boost
Anti-inflammatory
Antioxidant effects
Anti-cancer effects
Reduced stressReduced stress
Reduced anxietyReduced anxiety
Reduced fatigue
Reduced depressionReduced depression
Improved brain growth Improved brain growth
Improved memoryImproved memory
Improved reaction timeImproved reaction time
Improved endurance
Boosted fat loss
Lower bad cholesterol
Improved strength
Boosted muscle mass
Boosted testosterone in men

Featured in our complete ashwagandha guide, Physician’s Choice’s ashwagandha root extract is a great option for anyone looking to experience the mental and physical health benefits of this ancient Indian herb.

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Physician's Choice - Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder Capsules

This is top-notch adaptogenic supplement is one of the best ashwagandha brands for any goal.

Organic

USA-sourced

Non-GMO


Summary

Research has shown that supplementing rhodiola can be a great strategy for managing fatigue, stress, depression, and mental performance. It’s an excellent adaptogen and nootropic supplement that pairs well with ashwagandha, which you can read about here.

Sale
TOP PICK: Nutra Champs - Rhodiola Rosea Capsules

This rhodiola root supplement is the go-to for this fatigue-reducing Siberian plant.

Top pick

3% Rosavin

1% Salidroside



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