Rhodiola Rosea + natural nootropics Australia
Rhodiola Rosea is one of the most well-studied and effective natural herbs and we love it because it is one of the strongest adaptogens. Rhodiola Rosea is a flowering plant that grows in cold, tough mountainous regions of Asia and Europe. It was named by Greek botanist, Linnaeus, because when cut the fresh root, people can smell the perfume of roses. Other names for Rhodiola include “golden root”, “kings crown” and “rose root”. It was called Rose Root because the name “rhodiole” comes from the Greek rhodos; “rose” because of the rose fragrance emanating from the root. It has traditional use for thousands of years and is revered as one of the strongest herbal powerhouses due to the amazing active ingredients in this plant.
For centuries, people throughout Europe and Asia have used rhodiola to increase endurance and work performance as well as treat stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression. It is one of the most common herbs used in traditional medicine to stimulate the nervous system, manage mood, enhance work performance, and reduce stress. And today, many “biohackers” and health-conscious people love to use powerful extracts of rhodiola rosea to boost their brain function, energy, mental capacity and resist the effects of stress, anxiety and low-mood.
Rhodiola Rosea Fast Facts
Rhodiola Rosea can help you to do more, feel better, and stress less!
Rhodiola Rosea should be distinguised from it's cousin, Rhodiola Crenulata which has slightly different active ingredients and is red in colour (see below).
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen
Rhodiola Rosea is a herbal adaptogen. Most herbal adaptogens don't follow the “more is better” dosing principles. Where a good extract of Rhodiola Rosea has been proven to have benefits from the range of 50mg - 300mg. Most extracts of Rhodiola Rosea are standardised for two main active ingredients, rosavins and salidrosides. The stronger and more beneficial of the two is the salidrosides. Most extracts on the market have 1% salidrosides. The extract Savvy uses is 3% salidrosides, and provides a huge benefit. This is why we only dose our Rhodiola at 100mg, as it has the same effect as 300mg of most other extracts, and the ones the scientific studies used too.
Rhodiola rosea main uses are in helping with adaptation to physically and mentally fatiguing circumstances and supporting energy, alertness, concentration, mental stamina, and mood.
Adaptogens and natural nootropics
So what is an adaptogen?
In 1947, Nicolaï Lazarev, a Russian researcher, defined the term “adaptogen” as characterising “a pharmacological substance capable of inducing in an organism a state of non-specific increased resistance allowing it to counterbalance stress signals and adapt to exceptional effort”. Unlike stimulants, adaptogenic substances are known to increase work capacity without the side effects.
Rhodiola is the most popular and one of the strongest adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that encourage the body to respond favourably to stress by inhibiting elevated levels of cortisol (aka, “stress hormone”). They can pick you up when you’re low on energy and calm you down when you’re too agitated.
Adaptogens are really popular because they have amazing benefits to keep you feeling amazing irrespective of whether you’re tired, or whether you’re stressed out and agitated. The primary and most popular adaptogenic herb to date is Rhodiola Rosea, and second and third place go to Ashwagandha and Panax Ginseng respectively.
How does Rhodiola Rosea work
The active ingredients that have all the benefits are in the root of this plant. The main active chemicals that are to be responsible for its effects are salidroside, tyrosol and rosavin.
The extracts that Savvy uses are 3% salidrosides, because salidroside is considered the more powerful component in Rhodiola rosea.
To delve into the science a bit deeper - studies show that one of the main mechanisms of action for Rhodiola rosea extract may involve its relationship with neurotransmitters in your system, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
Rhodiola rosea may lead to a significant increase in certain neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin and dopamine! Serotonin is responsible for regulating emotions, especially happiness. Dopamine is responsible for a variety of functions, including movement and emotional response, but it is best known for controlling motivation, reward, and the brain’s pleasure centres. By increasing both dopamine and serotonin, Rhodiola rosea may support healthy stress levels and promote feelings of wellbeing. The increased serotonin and dopamine may also support your attention, concentration, and overall cognitive function. Rhodiola rosea may also promote focus and mental energy.
Along with its effects on certain neurotransmitters, Rhodiola rosea has been studied for its potential to regulate cortisol (our stress hormone). Cortisol is released during periods of physical or emotional stress. Cortisol may interfere with a healthy immune system and the normal metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, Rhodiola rosea may support healthy cortisol and stress levels. This means that while having an AMAZING benefit on our brain, it may also have an positive impact on our body! What a herb! *standing applause*
Want to get work done, but don’t want to feel agitated from another can of Redbull or coke?
Rhodiola provides powerful improvement to focus and mood. Meaning that it helps you to feel better, clear your mind and focus on getting important things done!
In a study, researchers wanted to investigate the effect of Rhodiola on promoting healthy brain function. Physicians, scientists, and students consumed an supplement containing an extract of Rhodiola every day for 2-3 weeks before exams. And they showed improvement in the amount and quality of work, greater energy, and better mental clarity.
Stressed out and tired?
Rhodiola can help as it is proved to provide a decrease to stress-related fatigue.
Rhodiola Rosea’s benefits are due to its active ingredients, the strongest of which is called “salidrosides”. These are thought to have the most potent therapeutic effects. It was reported that ingesting Rhodiola Rosea may encourage mental clarity and increased endurance performance.
Many studies on healthy human volunteers have reported that participants with fatigue and a decline in work capacity responded very well with Rhodiola at a dose of 1 mg salidroside or more daily. Remembering that Savvy gives you a dose of 3 mg Salidroside (…nice!)
Rhodiola has been reported to promote healthy brain function and support learning and memory. Studies have found that rhodiola has potent neuroprotective effects through the its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea
There have been almost 200 studies done on Rhodiola Rosea since 1960. Most of the research shows how this herb has the following benefits:
- Improves mood, energy and memory
- Reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue
- Enhanced brain power, mental clarity and memory
- Improved learning ability
Why do we love it and use it in Savvy?
Rhodiola adds another layer of increased energy, while lowering stress, it fights fatigue, and improves both physical and mental stamina and performance. It works very well with other fatigue fighters in Savvy like creatine.
Caffeine and Rhodiola are also a powerhouse combination! Which is why we love to add it with our coffee. They bring out the best in each other in terms of high levels of mental energy.
Our extract is standardised for 3% salidrosides. This is because most studies have identified this to be the most powerful active ingredient in Rhodiola Rosea.
Rhodiola - one of the best in nootropics Australia
Many studies provide evidence for nootropic effect from Rhodiola Rosea.
It works by Rhodiola rosea may potentially lead to a significant increase in certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) particularly serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin is responsible for regulating emotions, especially happiness. Dopamine is responsible for a variety of functions, including movement and emotional response, but it is best known for controlling motivation, reward, and the brain’s pleasure centres.
By potentially increasing both dopamine and serotonin, Rhodiola rosea may support healthy stress levels and promote feelings of well-being. The increased serotonin and dopamine may also support your attention, concentration, and overall cognitive function. Rhodiola rosea may also promote focus and mental energy.
THE SCIENCE AND THE EVIDENCE PROVING THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF RHODIOLA ROSEA
We will now delve into the scientific evidence behind the benefits of this amazing herb. For each scientific resource, at Savvy, we have referenced the study, linked to it and also provided an interesting quote from the study. Occasionally, we will also provide further commentary on the study.
To make it easy to identify all the different studies - we will highlight them for you!
We really hope you enjoy our many years of research when formulating Savvy...
Edwards, D. Et al. ‘Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms--results of an open-label study’ in Phytotherapy research: PTR, Volume 26, Issue 8, August 2012, pp 1220 – 1225. [Link]
“Rhodiola extract appears to be useful in relieving symptoms associated with life stress, such as fatigue, exhaustion and anxiety in a general practice setting.”
Spasov, A, et al. ‘A 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’ in Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, Volume 7, Issue 2, April 2000, pp 85 – 89. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10839209/]
Mao, J. Et al. ‘Rhodiola rosea versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial’ in Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, Volume 22, Issue 3, March 2015, pp 394-399. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25837277/]
Schutgens, F, W. Et al. ‘The influence of adaptogens on ultraweak biophoton emission: a pilot-experiment’ in Phytotherapy research: PTR, volume 23, Issue 8, August 2009, pp 1103 – 1108 [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19170145/]
30 people were involved in this experiment where they observed "a significant decrease concerning the experienced level of fatigue in the Rhodiola group".
Participants used 288 mg of 2.3% salidroside extract (~6.6 mg salidroside) daily for 1 week.
Darbinyan, V, et al. ‘Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression’ in Nordic journal psychiatry, volume 61, issue 5, 2007, pp 343 – 348 [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17990195/]
“The present clinical study has shown that the stan-dardized extract SHR-5 from R.rosea possesses a clear and significant anti-depressive activity in patients suffer-ing from mild to moderate depression. When adminis-tered in a dosage of two tablets, each containing 170 mg of extract, daily over a 6-week period, statistical significant reduction in the overall symptom level of depression as well as in specific symptoms of depression, such as insomnia, emotional instability and somatiza-tion, could be demonstrated. In higher doses, four tablets per day over a 6-week period, an additional positive effect could be shown, the level of self-esteem increased significantly.”
Boolani, A. et al. ‘Caffeine-Containing, Adaptogenic-Rich Drink Modulates the Effects of Caffeine on Mental Performance and Cognitive Parameters: A Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Trial’ in Nutrients, Volume 12, Issue 7, July 2020, pp 1922. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7399841/]
This 2020 study shows that rhodiola rosea and caffeine perform very well as a team and rhodiola improves the effect of caffeine.
Katrien, D, et al. ‘Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance’ in International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, Volume 14, Issue 3, 2004, pp 298-307. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15256690/]
Shevtos, V, et al. ‘A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work’ in Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, Volume 10, Issues 2 and 3, March 2003, pp 95-105 [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12725561/]
In 2003, this study found that Rhodiola had "a pronounced antifatigue effect" on 161 healthy young adults aged from 19 to 21.
Darbinyan, V, et al. ‘Rhodiola 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 Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, Volume 7, Issue 5, October 2000, pp 365 – 371. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11081987/]
Reducing stress and improving mood and resilience to fatigue (stamina boosting)
Li, Y. Et al. ‘Rhodiola rosea L.: an herb with anti-stress, anti-aging, and immunostimulating properties for cancer chemoprevention’ in Current Pharmacology Reports, Volume 3, Issue 6, December 2017, pp 384 – 395. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6208354/]
“ Rhodiola rosea L, a popular herb plant, is native to the high altitude regions of Asia, Europe and Northern Hemisphere. Rhodiola rosea extracts have a long history of use as an “Adaptogen” to non-specifically enhance the resistance of the body to both physical and emotional stresses for fighting fatigue and depression.”
This graph depicts 10 of the above studies and plots the effective dose against the amount in Savvy. Rhodiola Rosea is only one ingredient in Savvy, however we have used it at an amount where it has an effective dose according to the majority of the studies done on it.
When looking at Rhodiola Rosea, and many nootropic herbs, we need to consider the active ingredients that have a beneficial effect. In Rhodiola’s case, the salidroside content or the rosavins content. Most literature says the salidrosides are more important, so we used an extract which is standardised for 3% salidroside, and we use 100mg of this. This allows for 3mg of salidrosides per Savvy beverage.
If you are using Rhodiola by itself, make sure you choose a supplement that provides servings that contain between 1.4 and 5 mg of salidroside. That may be 140 to 500 mg of an extract standardised to at least 1% salidroside. Or that may be 70 to 250 mg of an extract standardised to at least 2% salidroside. These parameters may provide the greatest potential for nootropic effect.
When a company does not disclose the plant extract strength, be wary. There are many companies in Australia and offshore that simply say “extract” or they do not even use an extract of the herb. As we have learned before, it is the active ingredients in the concentrated extract that provides the benefits to these herbal powerhouses. Some companies cut costs by using herbs which are not concentrated, and they will provide no benefit at all. For example, 100mg of Turmeric powder is going to do nothing by itself – and instead you would want to look for a turmeric extract that has a high percentage of the active ingredients, the curcuminoids. This is the case with all herbal nootropics, whether it’s Rhodiola Rosea or any others.
Rhodiola Rosea goes well with other natural nootropics that support a healthy stress response, and these include Ashwagandha and Panax Ginseng as well as Schizandra Berry.
Reducing stress and improving mood and resilience to fatigue (stamina boosting)
Amsterdam, JD, Panossian, AG. ‘Rhodiola rosea L. as a putative botanical antidepressant’ in Phytomedicine, Volume 23, Issue 7, June 2016, pp. 770-783.[https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2016.02.009]
“Overall, results of these studies suggests a possible antidepressant action for R. rosea extract in adult humans…R. rosea demonstrates multi-target effects on various levels of the regulation of cell response to stress, affecting various components of the neuroendocrine, neurotransmitter receptor and molecular networks associated with possible beneficial effects on mood.”
Bock, KD. ‘Acute Rhodiola Rosea Intake Can Improve Endurance Exercise Performance’ in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, Volume 14, Article 3, June 2004, pp. 298-307.[https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15256690/]
Bystritsky, A. ‘A Pilot Study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax®) for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)’ in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 14, Number 2, March 2008, pp. 175-180.[https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2007.7117]
“Overall this pilot study suggests that R. rosea has anxi-olytic effects, as indicated by significant decreases in HARS scores over time. While previous reports have indicated R. rosea can provide benefits for several conditions includ-ing pain, insomnia, stress, anxiety, and depression, this is the first report of anxiolytic effects in a clinical sample.”
Diermen, D. Et al. ‘Monoamine oxidase inhibition by Rhodiola rosea L. roots’ in Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 122, Issue 2, March 2009, pp. 397-401. [https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037887410900021X?casa_token=2kW4kSuRx_cAAAAA:15IBZZ_TkcSz87bd_NHttYm1pKrGBYplUM_pIXr_kEsXL5WXdo7CNDeCFAq12lRGPHVQq3Sf]
Durlach, J. Et al. ‘Biorhythms and possible central regulation of magnesium status, phototherapy, darkness therapy and chronopathological forms of magnesium depletion’ in Magnesium Research, Volume 15, Issue 1-2, March 2002, pp. 49-66. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12030424/]
Furmanowa, M. Et al. ‘Rhodiola rosea in vitro culture - phytochemical analysis and antioxidant action’ in Acta societatis Botanicorum Poloniae, Volume 67, Number 1, January 1998, pp. 69-73. [https://pbsociety.org.pl/journals/index.php/asbp/article/view/817]
“Antioxidant activity of various Rhodiola rosea extracts (sample Rr 1 to Rr 7) (Table 2) are in some relationship with the phytochemical analysis.”
Mattioli, L, Perfumi, M. ‘Rhodiola rosea L. extract reduces stress- and CRF-induced anorexia in rats’ in Journal of Psychopharmacology, Volume 21, Issue 7, September 2007, pp. 742-750. [https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881106074064]
“In conclusion, the present study provides original evidence that oral administration of R. rosea extract standardized in 3% rosavina d 1% salidroside results in a potent inhibition of the anorectic effects induced by CRF and stress, and provides functional evid-ence of claimed anti-stress properties of the plant. Therefore, Rhodiola rosea L. may represent a promising phar-macological approach with important modulatory functions in mediating or regulating specific behaviour responses that are evoked by stress, as well as for stress-induced anorexia.”
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protective effect
Abidov, M. Et al. ‘Extract of Rhodiola rosea Radix Reduces the Level of C-Reactive Protein and Creatinine Kinase in the Blood’ in Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, Volume 138, No. 7, July 2004, pp. 73-75. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15514725/]
Bawa, PAS. ‘Anti-inflammatory activity of Rhodiola rosea – “a second-generation adaptogen’ in Phytotherapy Research, Volume 23, Issue 8, January 2009, pp. 1009-1102. [https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2749]
Lee, Y. Et al. ‘Anti-Inflammatory and Neuroprotective Effects of Constituents Isolated from Rhodiola rosea’ in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2013, Article ID 514049, April 2013, pp. 1-9. [https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/514049/]
“In summary, R. rosea constituents could ameliorate the inflammation and neurotoxicity in cortical neuronal cells. The protective effects of R. rosea constituents not only were related to modulate endogenous anti-inflammatory, but also affected the neuronal over activation. As far as we know, this is the first report to demonstrate that R. rosea has the neuroprotective effects against L-glu-induced neurotoxicity in cortical neuronal cells.”
Palumbo, D.R. Et al, ‘Rhodiola rosea Extract Protects Human Cortical Neurons against Glutamate and Hydrogen Peroxide‐induced Cell Death Through Reduction in the Accumulation of Intracellular Calcium’ in Phytotherapy Research, Volume 26, Issue 6, June 2012, pp. 878-83. [https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ptr.3662]
“These findings indicate that RrE has a neuroprotective effect in cortical neurons and suggest that the antioxidant activity of the RrE, due to the structural features of the synergic active principles they contain, may be responsible for its ability to stabilize cellular Ca2+ homeostasis.“
Roberta, DS. Et al. ‘In vitro protective effect of Rhodiola rosea extract against hypochlorous acid-induced oxidative damage in human erythrocytes’ in BioFactors, Volume 20, Number 3, July 2004, pp. 147-159. [https://content.iospress.com/articles/biofactors/bio00745]
“Our study demonstrates that R. rosea is able to significantly protect, in a dose-dependent manner, human RBC from glutathione (GSH) depletion, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) inactivation and hemolysis induced by the oxidant. Furthermore, we demonstrate that R. rosea aqueous extract acts from the inside of the erythrocyte suggesting a probable involving of cell components.”
Enhancing memory and mental processing
Dimpfel, W. Et al. ‘Assessing the Quality and Potential Efficacy of Commercial Extracts of Rhodiola rosea L. by Analyzing the Salidroside and Rosavin Content and the Electrophysiological Activity in Hippocampal Long-Term Potentiation, a Synaptic Model of Memory’ in Pharmacology, Volume 9, Article 425, May 2018, pp. 1-11. [https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2018.00425/full]
“In conclusion, rosavin, salidroside and various R. rosea extracts potentiated the in vitro electric stimulation of an intra-hippocampal electric circuit, which resulted in higher responses of pyramidal cells in isolated hippocampus slices.”
Fintelmann, V, Gruenwald, J. ‘Efficacy and Tolerability of a Rhodiola rosea Extract in Adults With Physical and Cognitive Deficiencies’ in Advances in Therapy, Volume 24, Issue 4, July-August 2007, pp. 929-39. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17901042/]
“Cognitive and physical improvements after consumption of the nutritional sup-plement for 12 wk were consistently higher in group 1 than in the overall group or in group 2.”
Hillhouse, B. Et al. ‘Acetylcholine Esterase Inhibitors in Rhodiola rosea’ in Pharmaceutical Biology, Volume 42, Issue 1, January 2004, pp. 68-72. [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13880200490505636]
“In conclusion, the alcoholic extract of Rhodiola rosea has been shown to cause moderate inhibition of acetyl-choline esterase. This plant appears to contain a multitude of different AChE inhibitors including gossypetin-7-O-L-rhamnopyranoside and rhodioflavonoside. In view of thisplants ability to inhibit AChE and cause memory improve-ment at levels which do not cause detectable side effects, the extract of Rhodiola rosea should be examined for its effectiveness at treating memory impairments such as those caused by Alzheimer’s disease.”
Osson, E. M.G.Et al. ‘A 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’ in Planta Med, Volume 75, Issue 2, November 2008, pp. 105-12. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19016404/]
Shi, TY. Et al. ‘Neuroprotective effects of Salidroside and its analogue tyrosol galactoside against focal cerebral ischemia in vivo and H2O2-induced neurotoxicity in vitro’ in Neurotoxicity Research, Volume 21, Issue 4, May 2012, pp. 358-67. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22095090/]
Based on studies like those listed above, Savvy Beverages developed Savvy Mental Performance Coffee to boost brain function. It’s a delicious coffee with amazing added supplements for daily use to provide long-lasting mental energy, support brain function and enhance cognitive performance.
Each delicious Savvy Coffee provides a clinical dose of Rhodiola Rosea, to decrease stress and fatigue while boosting focus and improving mood. Savvy also provides complementary herbs, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals with high levels of evidence for cognitive enhancement.