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Rhodiola grows in cold mountainous regions in Europe, Asia and high-altitude areas in the Arctic. People in northern regions have used rhodiola for anxiety, fatigue, anemia, impotence, headache and depression related to stress. It has also been used to increase physical endurance, work performance and longevity, and to improve resistance to high-altitude sickness.

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Today, people use rhodiola as a supplement to increase energy, stamina and strength, to improve attention and memory, and to enhance the ability to cope with stress.

› Health Benefits

The quality of research on the use of rhodiola as a supplement is limited, so there is no firm evidence of its effectiveness.

Two review articles published in 2011 and 2012 tested the effects of rhodiola on physical and mental performance. Both reviews found that rhodiola may enhance physical performance and ease mental fatigue. Because the study was so small, this evidence did not allow firm conclusions to be made.

Another small study supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health tested rhodiola against sertraline and a placebo in people with mild to moderate major depressive disorder. The results showed that both sertraline and rhodiola had no more effectiveness than placebo, but those who took the rhodiola had fewer side effects than those who took sertraline. More study is needed to clearly understand the effects and safety of using rhodiola as a supplement.

› How much do I need?

The dosage varies depending on age and what it is being used for. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels, and consult your pharmacist, physician or other healthcare professional before using.

When taken orally, rhodiola may cause dry mouth and dizziness.

› Dietary supplements

Rhodiola root extract is available in capsule and tablet form.

Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Please consult your health care provider before making changes to your vitamin/supplement regimen.

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