Rhodiola Fights Aging, Depression and Stress Naturally

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Posted by J Phil Murray (Longmont, Colorado) on 02/05/2009
3 out of 5 stars

Better But With Side Effects

Rhodioloa has been very helpful to me but also has some problems--

First, I have chronic adrenal exhaustion and also hypoglycemia. Rhodiola helps me with both problems. I am also anxiety prone and Rhodioloa usually helps that but sometimes makes it a little worse (although I have a pretty good recovery from anxiety using self-help techniques).

I have recently been taking a higher dose which does not work as well for me. It increases my emotional sensitivity, gives me slight headaches and also makes me slightly irritable.

What I have been doing in the last few days is to take an aspirin with the second pill (I take one pill an hour before breakfast and the second pill between 11:00am and 11:30am an hour before lunch, so I'll take an aspirin at lunch to offset the headache).

At lower doses, it doesn't have these side effects for me so I will try that again soon.

Also I really prefer Jiagulan which has the same benefits but is less overstimulating. This is not medical advice however and I encourage anyone using any herbs to carefully research all side effects and contraindications before trying anything. You have some people who are very close-minded about herbs, I don't agree with those folks, but you also have people who are blindly positive about herbs and will take anything without thinking or on the smallest snippet of information. These folks are irresponsible. Herbs can help but can also be dangerous. Do your homework THOROUGHLY before taking.

Posted by Ruth-Ann (Bellmawr, NJ) on 10/23/2008
3 out of 5 stars

Worked Temporarily

Greetings! First, I so thank you for the wonderful gift of this site. It has been of immense help to me during various times. I wanted to write in to tell of my experience with Rhodiola Rosea. I absolutely love this herb. I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs (great place) and it is usually about 300mg of non standardized powdered herb. I have tried the new chapter organics one and didn't feel any different. Anyway, when I take the mountain rose herb one, I really feel a great noticable difference....calmer, more alert, but at PEACE. My only concern is that this effect does not last for me. I will have this for about a week and a half and then no further effect is noticed until I stop taking it for a month and start again. Anyone else experience this? I feel it is a wonderful tool to use.

Replied by Brygivrob
Escondido, Ca

it is written above that chinese source rhodiola does not work

Side Effects  

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Posted by Jean (Smelterville, Idaho) on 08/22/2015
0 out of 5 stars

I am 65, woman with Mitral valve and an adrenalin problem. I was told by an herbologist that rhodiola mixed with a couple other herbs would improve my libido. I have been taking a combo with about 9 different herbs with rhodiola of each 75%...and on the end of the first week...I woke up with rapid heartbeat, had to take athenolol to stop it...

I am wondering what I should supplement with rhodiola to prevent this in the future...how much each day? Thank you. Jean

Posted by Beeonthyme (Plattsmouth, Nebraska) on 11/27/2014
0 out of 5 stars

I was a very strong advocate for Rhodiola. I loved how it helped me with mental clarity. It helped me to focus on tasks that needed attention. It kept my mind from obsessing over a bad divorce. I loved how it helped me cope in high stress situations. I took a Swedish brand called Adapt 232. It had Eleutherococcus senticocus and Schisandra chiensis in the formula. It gave me energy, mentally, more so than physically.

I loved it.

I had run out as iherb.com had run out. I bought the Now brand of rhodiola...just straight rhodiola. It wasn't as good as the proprietary brand, adapt 232.

So...when the supplier got their shipment of adapt 232 in, they sent me an email alert to let me know they had replenished their stock. I was in fear of them and me running out again so I ordered three boxes.

When it arrived I took two immediately.


I went to the emergency room that night. I woke up from a dead sleep at 4 a.m. my heart pounding and racing wildly. I felt as though my internal organs were separating...I felt a deep deep sense of DOOM. I was certain I was having a heart attack or something but it hurt like hell and I was having trouble breathing.

I was diagnosed with panic disorder...I think I was injected with tranquilizers... because I calmed down. I asked if they gave me something... two separate personnel said no...but I felt a change. I was relaxed. After many tests and drawn blood they shoved me out the door at 6 a.m. and sent me home with a script for lorazepan... which I filled for just in case. I've never taken one.

I researched side effects for rhodiola.. and panic attacks was one of them. I quit rhodiola...much asI loved it. And have not had any heart fluttering since. Im having difficulty with this mobile site continuing with my testimony/ review.

EC: Sorry about that. We'll have our programmer look into our mobile site asap.

Posted by Jo-ann (Ca) on 05/01/2014
0 out of 5 stars

I started taking Rhodiola Rosea off & on a few months ago. (Gaia Herbs brand) with one capsule before food (120 mg). When trying it at the recommended higher dose (240 mg), I became incredibly tired, as if I took a sleeping pill. I do have insomnia so I'm guessing that had something to do with it.

Have read to take this herb "one week on & one week off". Please advise. Thank you.

Replied by Rhodiola Fan

It's funny how many people here are stating that RR has made them worse, and cited all sorts of side effects, yet none are shouting from the rooftops about all the good it can do you. How many of you have been brainwashed by the medical establishment? It interferes with pharmaceutical antidepressants does it? Maybe you shouldn't be taking the antidepressants!! They're what is poisoning you.

How many of these posts have been 'written' by people in the medical industry just for scare-mongering purposes, to shoehorn people in need of help towards their expensive and poisonous, addictive drugs?

I know RR affects people in different ways, but I have nothing but good things to say about it, as do millions of others. If you misuse or abuse it, yes it may have some minor side effects, and can increase anxiety or irritability in a SMALL PERCENTAGE of cases, but why are all of these people apparently posting on here? It does not give a balanced representation in any way.

My suggestion - don't be put off by the scaremongering and all that - try it for yourself. Buy a good brand (not one of the chinese brands as they are NOT the same) like Viridian and follow thesuggested dosage, building up slowly. It can work wonders.

Just my opinion obviously, if you experience any side effects then stop, but fewer people than you think experience any negative effects. They've just all clubbed together to post here!!!

Be happy :-)

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Rhodiola Fan,

Wow, after your comment I went and found all of the "side effects" posts. I had not seen them in the past. I know that herbs affect people differently and the dosing is important.

I can't speak to all their experiences, but I can add my "yea" to Rhodiola. I have been taking it for many months and found it to be very helpful for a muscle spasm I have in my throat. I take 500 mg once or twice a day. Sometimes I take two at once if my spasm is bad. Always helps. And works better for me than passionflower or valerian, though I find them to help to a degree.

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Jessiejess (Atlanta, Ga) on 07/25/2013
0 out of 5 stars

Rhodiola Herbal supplement: This supplement - I purchased for my daughter I thought was supposed to help her focus- I started to take it. This supplement made me feel SUPER anxious, extrememly irritated, jittery and just did not do what I was told it would do. I would not recommend this to anybody. I purchased mine from GNC for $29.00 and I regret it. I wish I did my research first on this. I took it for a week before I realized that it was this herb that was making me feel out of sorts.

Posted by Debra (Providence, Ri) on 08/14/2012
0 out of 5 stars

I have been taking 500 mg of Rhodiola by NOW and have begun to suffer from severe anxiety. The anxiety is so severe it borders on anxiety attacks. I exercise daily and eat well, but taking Rhodiola has sent me to counseling. At first I didn't know why I was feeling so out-of-control until it dawned on me...... it was the Rhodiola.

Replied by Gloria
Portland, Or Usa

Yes, heightened anxiety is known as a possible side effect of Rhodiola. Most people will not experience this, but I have also felt anxiety from taking Rhodiola.

The first time I took it, however, for a number of months, I experienced only the positive effects of increased energy and well-being. So it seems to depend on other factors in the body (metabolism, perhaps?)

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Debra, I'm sorry you had such a experience from rhodiola use. This is why I tell people they should be evaluated by a qualified person before embarking on Chinese herb use. It is one thing to use the adaptogens but otherwise, there are lots of things considered about each individual before then recommending the herbs appropriate to the person's body state. I take rhodiola but it was given to me by a Chinese herbalist and it is also in a formula I use. I was told it would be good for me but if I saw any anxiety, to stop immediately. I have not seen that happen. When you got the rhodiola, did someone recommend it to you or did you just decide it sounded good?

You might want to consider calling Dragon Herbs and getting a free phone consultation where they will evaluate you through lots of questions and you explaining your lifestyle, etc. If you read the testimonies from both Meg and Sue here on the Latest Post page, you will see their experiences from this course of action.

Wishing you well, Lisa

Replied by Andre
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Hi Debra, I completely relate to your post, it happened to me too... In my case I started taking 5HTP (which is extracted from Rhodiola) for several reasons but it made me very anxious and extremelly irritated with everyone and everything to the point I was feeling a bit crazy. The problem went away after a couple of days of stopping taking it (I have tried it twice with the same results).

However I have recently given it a shot one more time and it is working wonders now, I love it! The trick it what time of the day you should to take it! You should read the book "Mood Cure" by Julia Ross. She will go into the 4 groups of mood maintenance chemicals our body needs in order to maintain good mental health, how to identify imbalances and properly supplement, and how to maintain it through diet once the issue is fixed. Go to her website and take the questionnaire, and get the book! It's like 10 bucks on B&N. I failed miserably on the serotonin group and 5HTP (taken properly) fixed it. It HEALED me and it was so easy! Good luck!

Posted by Mark (Nottingham, Uk) on 10/05/2011
1 out of 5 stars


I was taking Rhodiola Rosea 250mg standardised to contain 1% salidrosides. One in morning, one at lunch.

I hadn't heard about the stimulating effects of this and took it for 3 months and had awful anxiety attacks. It wasn't until I found this site that I stopped taking it and my anxiety attacks stopped.

It doesn't say the origin of the root extract on the label.

In short be very careful with this herb, introduce it gradually and monitor the effects.

Perhaps I needed a higher dose but the label said max 2 capsules. If I ever considered this herb again I would purchase a higher quality one. Begs the question 'How do we really know what's in it?'

Posted by Diane (Vernon, B.c., Canada) on 07/19/2011
0 out of 5 stars

Rhodiola: Was prescribed by naturopath. Fine for a couple of weeks. Noticed now have symptoms similar to too much caffeine. She prescribed it for stress, thinks it's my adrenals. Should I discontinue?

Posted by Larry (Bloomington, In) on 03/10/2011
0 out of 5 stars

I experienced malignant hypertension with a small dose over a one month period.

Replied by Mary R.
St. Paul, Minnesota
0 out of 5 stars

I just came across this forum when I did a search for rhodiola side effects, not really expecting to find anything. I've been taking rhodiola for a few months at a low dose (100 mg/day), which didn't have much effect. I increased it about a month ago to 500 mg a day and loved the boost to my mood and energy.

But a few days ago I started having fierce hot flashes (I'm 55 and seldom get them any more). I also started getting dizzy when I was doing yard work--that was pretty scary. I reduced the dose to 250 today with no change in the side effects, which also seem to include panic attacks (they go with hot flashes) and twitchiness. I wish I'd just stopped taking it. I do take Wellbutrin (bupropion) for SAD and at first blamed a bad batch of that for my odd symptoms. But after reading other people's feedback here, I think the rhodiola is probably interfering with the antidepressant. I suspect my blood sugar has also gotten high the last few days. I'm a big fan of supplements and I tend to forget they can be as potent and potentially harmful as prescription drugs. Next time I'll do my homework.

Posted by Karen (Wayne, Patr) on 10/23/2010
0 out of 5 stars

I took 100 mg Rhodiola (containing 3% rosavins and 1% salidrosides) by Pure Encapsulations and it made me wired. I read on your post that you can take 1500 mg for a calmer effect. Are there any studies to show if that is safe or do you know any information about that? I would like to try.

Posted by M (Miami, Fl Usa) on 10/19/2010


I have just started taking Rhodiola (250 mg)two days ago. I started taking it based on the findings that it increases energy and may promote weight loss. It has only been two days now, but I notice that I am feeling very sluggish and tire earlier than usual. I also started taking Grapeseed (380 mg) for pre-hypertension two days ago as well. Does anyone have any idea if either of these tend to cause lethargy and sluggish behavior as a side effect?

I will stop taking one at a time to see which one is causing this. If anyone has any feedback regarding similar effects it would be appreciated.

Replied by Kathy
Dallas, Tx
0 out of 5 stars

I started taking 100 mg. of Rhodiola 30 minutes before breakfast yesterday. So far it is making me feel more tired and sleepy. Does anyone know if these side effects will wear off eventually or no? I would really like to take it long term because of the many benefits.

Replied by Smulf
Lexington, Ky
0 out of 5 stars

I was told by my doctor to take Rhodeola once in the morning (3% rosavins at 350mg). The first couple of days I felt like a new person. Now it has the complete opposite effect. I am so tired and have a massive headache from it. Instead of feeling better when I workout I feel weaker and my endurance is worse. What could be the problem?

Posted by Bee (USA) on 10/05/2009
0 out of 5 stars

I tried Rhodiola for the first time, and really hoped it would lighten my mood. I am also currently tapering off Paxil, down to 10 mg from 20 mg. The withdrawal is physically and mentally a struggle, and unfortunately the Rhodiola seemed to greatly worsen my anxiety. I felt like I could not sit still and was overly sensitive, emotional and distressed. My abdominal muscles were so tight I felt I could not take deep breaths. I can only attribute this change to Rhodiola, as I have been at this half dose for about a month and things were getting better. I am trying magnesium and tyrosine now. Also, before tapering I started on 5-htp 100mg and that was helping. I still hope to find some combo that allows me to get rid of the constant and emotionally draining anxiety, as well as the persistent down mood as it's taking over my life. But I don't want to be stuck forever on prescription medicines, as I worry about long-term effects.

Replied by Rob
Manhattan, New York

Hi Bee... there might be some helpful advice here...(no need for me to repeat it)

Replied by Anonymous
Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Usa

Mix 1 tablespoon each Chamomile, Catnip, and Basil in hot water, steep 10 minutes or so. While it's steeping eat a cup of plain yogurt, not lowfat or anything. Then drink the tea, strain out the leaves if you like. This makes the abdominals quite relaxed and peaceful. Also try Horse Chestnut with yogurt.

Posted by Ruser (New York, NY) on 07/09/2009
0 out of 5 stars

manic episode on rhodiola... Hi, i am a psychologist reporting that a client of mine who worked her way up to 600 mg of Rhodiola wound up feeling agitated, "out of her mine" chopping at ther hair, and ultimately got arrested in a department store for shoplifing. she describes confusion at the time and persevaritive thoughts. I have consulted with some psychiatrist friends of mine who indicate the drug might potentiate a manic or hypomanic episode. does anyyone else have any info to report on this matter? Thanks.

Replied by Sisterlouise
Portland, Oregon
0 out of 5 stars

I did have trouble with anxiety when taking rhodiola. I only tried it a few days. The energy level was great, felt very positive throughout the day (took in a.m. as recommended by New Chapter, but in the evening, I was miserable, anxious, even my bp went up a bit. Had to drop it. It is GREAT for my husband, but, alas, not for me.

Replied by Rob
Manhattan, New York
0 out of 5 stars

yes, same for me... I also experimented with the New Chapter brand at 300mg and found it was too strong. I was able to take half a capsule. There are other brands that are less potent. You may also want to cycle it at three days on, 2 days off and taking a week off every couple weeks. Taking time off is a good idea for many supplements.

Replied by Sisterlouise
Portland, Or

Followup: My husband who was feeling really good on 100 mg of Rhodiola a day began to feel it was not as effective with energy and focus as it had been. Rather than increasing the dose as the manufacturer had suggested, he begin taking it just every other day, which seemed okay. He's begun to notice, though, that on the days he takes it, he has a bit of pain in one of his elbows. He has some sensitivity to some foods that causes joint trouble occasionally and this may be falling into that same category.

Posted by Diana (Arlington, VA) on 04/17/2009
0 out of 5 stars

I have been taking Nutrilite's Rhodiola 110 for about a month now (take twice a day) and I found that after two weeks of taking it, my period stopped. I thought I might have been pregnant after being 2 weeks late and took 5 pregnancy tests - all negative. So, I am now almost 6 weeks late on my period and not pregnant, so I would have to say after reading others' feedback, that my missed periods and subtle cramping is due to taking this pill.

Although it gave me great energy, it has altered my cycle and put me through some stressful weeks.

Replied by Maxine
Rochester, NY

I've been trying 2 full squirts of this herb in tincture form (small bottle with dropper) daily in the mornings, sometimes with an extra dose in the afternoon, for a couple of weeks now. As a person with chronic fatigue, I have see a noticeable difference in my mental clarity and ability to get through the day, and with way less anxiety than before. I wake up feeling better, am still not 100% but am more productive overall, and am happy with the increased energy and functioning. My period this month, however, was BARELY present at all--a trade off I am more than willing to accept! :-)

The brand I use is Herb Pharm purchased on sale at local health food store for $8.99. It tastes terrible in a small glass of water as suggested, so I take mine with juice instead. I prefer tinctures because they're a good alternative to swallowing pills, and has a much longer shelf life.

Good luck all!

Replied by Char
Fayetteville, Nc
0 out of 5 stars

I have been taking New Chapter Rhodiola for about a month now at 300mg in the am per day. I also alternated with Now 500 mg per day.

New Chapter seemed to work instantly, I felt less stressed and just happier in general, however I missed my period in October entirely and like Diana I thought I was pregnant. I had strange cramping and have been to the two different doctors trying to find answers to by abnormal symptoms, now (thanks to this site and the people who write on it) I can almost guarantee its from supplementing rhodiola. I stopped dosing yesterday and will not be taking it anymore.

In closing I would like to comment that Rholdiola did make me happier, less stressed and excited for my day, however it put my body out of its natural cycle with unusual cramping and bloating. Due to this I will not take Rhodiola.

Replied by Anonymous
Melbourne, Australia
0 out of 5 stars

I had a similar experience. I took Rhodiola _____ brand for about 1 week (2 per day) followed by ____ brand (2 per day most days, 1 per day occassionally) for about 2. 5 weeks and my period was late. The day after my period was due, I stopped taking Rhodiola after reading other comments on this website. My period is now 1 week late. Rhodiola was very effective for treating anxiety, however I am quite concerned about this side effect and what it may mean for my reproductive cycle. In case it is relevant, I have had mild cramping. Also, I am definitely not pregnant as confirmed by 2 pregnancy tests.