Wellness Wednesdays by Nurse Fiona- Rhodiola- The anti-stress adaptogen
Stress is unavoidable in today’s world. We live in a constant state of ‘fight or flight’ due to busy lives, lack of sleep & constant exposure to digital distractions from our phones or computers. Chronic stress can lead to a myriad of symptoms including poor digestion, weight gain, hormone imbalance, weakened immunity and brain fog. The use of adaptogenic herbs can help support your health & wellbeing during stressful times, one of Nurse Fiona’s favourites being Rhodiola Rosea.
Rhodiola Rosea, also known as golden or arctic root is an adaptogenic herb that is thought to help improve our mental and physical tolerance to stress. This powerful herb contains more than 140 active ingredients, the 2 most potent being rosavin & salidroside. Rhodiola has been used by Russians & Scandinavians to help reduce stress and fatigue for centuries. Today it is widely used for many health benefits.
Benefits of Rhodiola
- Decreases stress: Rhodiola has long been used as an adaptogen- a natural substance that increases your body’s resistance to stress in non-specific ways. A recent study by the Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice found that this herb offers comprehensive treatment of stress symptoms and can prevent chronic stress and stress-related complications. One particular study followed 101 patients given 400mg of Rhodiola daily(1). This led to significant improvements in symptoms of stress, such as fatigue, exhaustion andanxiety, after just three days. These improvements continued throughout the study.
- Helps fight fatigue: Fatigue can be caused by many factors including stress, anxiety & lack of sleep. One particular study where Rhodiola was given to patients with chronic fatigue saw a significant improvement in energy, mood & concentration (2). Instead of reaching for that extra cup of coffee or that sugar hit, use this ancient adaptogen to help boost energy levels.
- Boosts athletic performance: Rhodiola is being used to boost stamina & strength during exercise. It is thought to do this by increasing your red blood cell count fighting oxidative damage caused by exercise. Red blood cells carry oxygen to muscles and having a higher count has been linked to a stronger athletic performance. Rhodiola can also reduce oxidative stress caused by exercise.
How to take Rhodiola
- It’s best to take Rhodiola on an empty stomach but not before bed time as it can have a stimulatory effect
- When choosing a Rhodiola supplement, be sure contain a standardized amount of 3% rosavins and 1% salidrosides. These are the naturally occurring proportions of these compounds in rhodiola root.
- If using to boost athletic performance take 1-2 hours before exercise
- Another way to benefit from rhodiola is to drink Rhodiola rosea tea, traditionally used to help calm nerves, reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep. To prepare rhodiola tea infuse rhodiola roots that have been dried and ground in water for 30 minutes.