Also known as golden root, rose root, Arctic root, Aaron's rod and orpin rose, this beautiful plant has a long history of use in herbal medicine for health issues relating to stress. In fact, rhodiola is considered an adaptogen, said to increase the body's resistance to stress and promote harmony within the body's systems. It was first mentioned medicinally in the De Materia Medica, an ancient encyclopedia of herbal medicine, by the Greek physician Dioscorides.
How does stress relate to depression? These two are intrinsically linked. Chronic stress can greatly increase the risk of depression, which is were rhodiola comes in; it may work to offset the effects of an overactive stress response. Rhodiola is also thought to affect levels of brain chemicals involved in mood regulation.
1. Research on the possibly antidepressant effects of rhodiola includes a small clinical trial published in the journal Phytomedicine in 2015. For the study, 57 adults with major depression were assigned to 12 weeks of treatment with rhodiola, sertraline (an antidepressant medication commonly sold under the brand name Zoloft®), or a placebo.
At the end of the study, participants taking rhodiola were 1.4 times more likely to report improvements in depression-related symptoms (compared to patients given the placebo). Meanwhile, study members given sertraline were 1.9 times more likely to report such improvements, in comparison to those who took the placebo. However, patients treated with sertraline were also twice more likely to experience side effects such as nausea and sexual dysfunction than those who received rhodiola.
Given these findings, the study's authors concluded that rhodiola "may possess a more favorable risk-to-benefit ratio" for people with depression.
2. In research published in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry in 2007, a six-week-long clinical trial involving 89 people with mild to moderate depression found that patients treated with rhodiola experienced greater improvements in depression (compared to those given a placebo for the same time period). Study members who received rhodiola also had greater improvements in factors like insomnia and emotional instability.
Rhodiola rosea can be found in extract and capsule form. Please consult with your physician before taking this or any herb, especially if you are on any medication.
About Health "Rhodiola: An Herbal Solution for Depression?"
Wikipedia "Rhodiola Rosea"