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Question:
Is Rhodiola rosea effective for depression and does it have other uses? Will ConsumerLab.com be testing these supplements?

Answer:
Evidence from small studies (including one recently supported by the National Institutes of Health) suggests that extracts made from Rhodiola rosea (also known as roseroot) may have a modest benefit in depression. It is not as effective as anti-depressant medication but poses less risk of side-effects. There is some preliminary evidence it may also be modestly helpful for people with mild anxiety. Support for some of its other proposed uses - such as fighting fatigue and improving mental acuity - has not been well established. For more about Rhodiola rosea, including the type and dosage used to treat depression, see the full answer >>

ConsumerLab.com has tested popular R. rosea supplements for quality and purity. See the results (including our top picks among Approved products), plus more about the evidence for these and other uses, such as reducing fatigue and improving athletic performance, in the Rhodiola Rosea Supplements Review.

For information about other supplements used for depression, see the Depression article in the Encyclopedia on our site, as well as our product reviews of St. John's Wort Supplements, Fish Oil Supplements, SAMe Supplements and Turmeric/Curcumin Supplements.


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Douglas16877   June 3, 2018
For some years, I have taken a capsule of r. rosea 10 minutes before notably challenging exercise, such as hiking steep inclines; it puts off fatigue for about 20 minutes. For long challenges, I take a capsule every 20 minutes. To avoid habituation, I do not take any capsules for normal, merely stressful exercise. There do not seem to be any side effects.

ConsumerLab.com   June 4, 2018
Thanks for sharing this Douglas. You can find information about the evidence for Rhodiola for physical fatigue in the "What It Does" section of the Rhodiola Supplements Review: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/rhodiola_supplements/rhodiola/#physical

Susan640   March 30, 2015
Wondering if individuals on low dose antidepressants such as sertraline could add Rhodiola Rosea to their routine thereby increasing benefits while mitigating risks of increasing the meds?

ConsumerLab.com   March 31, 2015
Hi Susan - Thank you for your question. If taking a prescription anti-depressant, you should consult with your physician before taking R. rosea. We've now added information about this in the Answer above.

Jeannie Marie8037   November 9, 2015
I've been taking a low dose (50mg) of sertraline (Zoloft) in combination with the Rhodiola rosea (Clearmind by Ameriden) for well over 10 years now and find it's beneficial and does allow me to keep my SSRI dosage low. I also take Sam-e with the same benefit and for the same reason. With both rhodiola rosea and Sam-e there's no withdrawal if you stop taking them. However, I'd caution AGAINST anyone who experiences MANIC episodes from using either of these supplements. Good luck.

susan639   March 30, 2015
i take one capsule of r. rosea a day, when i have more to do and am pushing myself i take two caps. i think it helps me although it might just be placebo effect, which isn't so bad anyway

John698   May 3, 2015
I've been on a low dose of Lexapro for years and have used Rhodiola without any problem at doses of 340 to 680 mg rosavins a day (1-2 capsules).

This CL Answer initially posted on 3/28/2015. Last updated 8/3/2017.

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