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  1. #1
    Ph.D blackdream71's Avatar
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    What exactly is the reason you shouldn't take Rhodiola Rosea if you have anxiety?

    it would seem to me that RR would help anxiety, but i'm always reading that it's contraindicated for people who have anxiety, anybody know the exact reason?
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    Registered User myk7's Avatar
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    im interested. i take it, and i thought it did the opposite?
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    Good question, hoping for a solid answer.
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    anyone?
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    Ph.D blackdream71's Avatar
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    What Does Rhodiola Do?

    Rhodiola, Commonly known as Arctic Root or Golden Root, is almost unknown in the United States. In Siberia the location of Arctic Root plants are a closely held secret among families who live there. The emperor of China used to organize expeditions to Siberia to bring back this highly valued plant. Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb along the lines of more famous cousins such as ginseng, ashwaganda, suma, etc.

    Rhodiola, however, is more powerful and may be the best adaptogenic herb available. Research by Russians began in 1931 when it was found to increase sexual potency. In a test of 35 subjects with weak erections and/or premature ejaculations, 50 mg per day was found to provide substantial improvement in 26 of the 35. The levels of 17-ketosteroids in seminal fluid showed an increase in the production of sex hormones.

    Women had much the same result. 40 women with secondary amenorrhea (lack of menstruation) were given 100 to 150 mg per day of Rhodiola and 25 resumed their periods and 11 became pregnant.

    Research has shown that whether or not this is true, many remarkable therapeutic benefits accrue from ingesting this herb Among these are:

    Adaptogen. Increases body's ability to handle stresses of all kinds. Partly, this is because it "tones down" the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system and increases the relaxing parasympathetic system. Subjects given Rhodiola show increased levels of beta-endorphin in the brain. Beta-endorphin is the stress relieving, feel-good, analgesic peptide.

    Antidepressant. All test subjects showed a positive therapeutic effect from 100 mg of Rhodiola per day. It is thought to work by making serotonin's precursors, tryptophan and 5-HTP, more available to the brain and by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is destroyed by catechol-O-methyltransferase or COMT. Rhodiola antagonizes COMT. Rosavin can decrease COMT activity by 60% and raise serotonin levels by 30%! A study of 128 individuals of all ages with various forms of depression showed that 65% had a complete disappearance of their depression. Rhodiola has been used with a variety of prescription antidepressants with no apparent problems.

    Prevents emotional stress. Asthenia, an emotional stress condition, is a condition characterized by sluggishness, low motivation, muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, labored breathing, giddiness, chest pain, palpitations and excessive sleeping. 100 to 150 mg of Rhodiola daily reversed this.

    Improves endurance levels. Excellent for athletes. A study of 52 individuals of all ages showed a 12% increase in the duration of physical performance. When initially fatigued and asked to perform the test, it increased to 28%! Rhodiola increases muscular ATP and creatine levels.

    Shortens recovery after strenuous and prolonged exercise. 30 minutes after a 12 mile long biathlon, control subjects still had a pulse rate of 129% above baseline (pre-exercise.) Rhodiola subjects had a pulse rate only 105% of baseline.

    Improves physical performance. In the biathlon subjects had to ski 12 miles while periodically shooting at targets. Not only did they complete the course faster, they hit far more targets. In a study of 112 subjects, 89% of those taking Rhodiola showed a much more rapid improvement in performance in various sports. Furthermore, 69% demonstrated much faster adaptation to climatic and social changes while 86% had an improved appetite. Helps maintain energy levels. Improves indicators of protein metabolism. Valuable for body builders. Researchers considered Rhodiola the equivalent of anabolic steroids without the side-effects. Muscle protein and glutamic acid (from L-Glutamine) are enhanced by Rhodiola. It also increases hemoglobin and red blood cell levels while favorable changing the muscle to fat ratio of the body.

    Increases attention span, memory and mental performance. In a proofreading test, those taking Rhodiola decreased the number of mistakes by 88% while the control group increased theirs by 84%!

    A similar test was conducted with 128 students who were also tested for the effects of fatigue on mental performance over time. After an hour, the placebo group had a 13% increase in errors; after four hours this increased to 37%; after six hours it became 88%; and after eight hours it went up to 180%! Those taking Rhodiola had a 56% decrease in errors for four hours. After that it crept up but still stayed well below the controls.

    Increases strength and mobility.

    Prevents the development of hypoglycemia. Valuable for diabetics. In animal experiments Rhodiola increased blood insulin and decreased glucagon. Rhodiola resulted in a 50 to 80% increase in liver glycogen where excess sugar is stored.

    Increases blood supply to the brain and muscles.

    Optimizes serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitter levels in the brain.

    Helps remove ammonia from the body.

    Helps maintain high levels of creatine phosphate in the cellular mitochondria.

    Activates lipase in long distance runners and swimmers.

    Protects against heart attacks. Stress causes adrenalin release which over time can "burn" the heart. Overly contracted heart muscle fibers show "contraction bands" a sign of heart muscle damage found in 86% of heart attack victims.

    Rhodiola decreases the amount of adrenalin and cortisol released during stress and protects the heart against "adrenalin burn." Rhodiola also lowers serum fats and cholesterol while increasing the resistance of blood vessels to cholesterol plaques. If that weren't enough it also protects against arrhythmias (abnormal heart beats) by potentiating endorphins (natural opiates that regulate heart beat.)

    Immune stimulation. Rhodiola increases immune response while blocking the immune lowering effects of cortisol. In one animal experiment, natural killer cell activity increased with Rhodiola.

    Combats cancer. A study in rats showed that Rhodiola decreased tumor growth by 39% and inhibited metastases by 50%.

    Fat loss. In a placebo controlled study of Rhodiola’s ability to mobilize fatty acids from adipose tissue, 121 subjects were given either Rhodiola extract or a placebo and their serum lipid levels were tested at rest and after one hour of exercise. The Rhodiola group had 6% greater serum fatty acid levels than the placebo group at rest and 44% greater levels after one hour of exercise. This difference is presumably due to Rhodiola’s ability to activate adipose lipase, a key enzyme required to burn the body’s fat stores.

    Similarly, a clinical study at the Georgian State Hospital (in the former Soviet Union) treated 130 overweight patients for 90 days. At the conclusion it was found that among those who consumed Rhodiola rosea extract, 92% lost an average of 20 pounds while the placebo group lost only 8 pounds on the same diet.

    Rhodiola is recommended for anyone suffering from depression or anxiety, anyone requiring more mental alertness, athletes and body builders, anyone prone to develop Alzheimer's disease or who has memory problems, immune deficient or cancer patients, anyone with heart disease, those suffering from obesity, and anyone wishing to increase their sexual stamina. It is especially recommended for anyone whose life is stressful.
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  6. #6
    Hero. Psycho. Insomniac. Skigazzi's Avatar
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    In a nutshell:

    In some individuals, taking too much rhodiola may induce beta waves.

    Alpha waves = calm and relaxed (Theanine is great for increasing these)

    Beta waves = the opposite

    Start low, work up on dosing. The VAST VAST majority do not experience this.

    "Rhodiola’s main components are rosavin, rosarin, rosin and salidroside. These ingredients help to move fatty acids, enabling greater metabolic ability
    and can assist in weight loss while dieting. These active ingredients also give the body a burst of energy in general, invigorating the patient both at the cellular repair level and the mental mood level."

    Typically these effects will brighten ones mood, but if one is already in a very anxious state, it may increase it further.
    Last edited by Skigazzi; 10-17-2006 at 08:59 PM.
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  7. #7
    Registered User MoPhat's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Skigazzi
    In some individuals, taking too much rhodiola may induce beta waves.

    Alpha waves = calm and relaxed (Theanine is great for increasing these)

    Beta waves = the opposite

    Start low, work up on dosing. The VAST VAST majority do not experience this.

    "Rhodiola’s main components are rosavin, rosarin, rosin and salidroside. These ingredients help to move fatty acids, enabling greater metabolic ability
    and can assist in weight loss while dieting. These active ingredients also give the body a burst of energy in general, invigorating the patient both at the cellular repair level and the mental mood level."

    Typically these effects will brighten ones mood, but if one is already in a very anxious state, it may increase it further.
    Great post from Ski, as usual.
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  8. #8
    Ph.D blackdream71's Avatar
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    interesting.
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    Just a few abstracts

    I have used rhodiola more for stress related support and mental fatigue reduction rather than anxiety. Phenibut cycles have done well for my clients with mild to moderate anxiety as well the mentioned L-theanine (150-300mg). I have noticed that higher dosing of rhodiola (750+mg was more performance and recovery related, not supportive IMO of reducing anxiety.

    1: Phytomedicine. 2000 Apr;7(2):85-9. Links
    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.Spasov AA, Wikman GK, Mandrikov VB, Mironova IA, Neumoin VV.
    Volgograd Medical Academy, Russia.

    The objective was to investigate the stimulating and normalizing effect of the adaptogen Rhodiola rosea extract SHR-5 in foreign students during a stressful examination period. The study was performed as a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled with low repeated dose regime. The study drug and the placebo were taken for 20 days by the students during an examination period. The physical and mental performance were assessed before and after the period, based on objective as well as on subjective evaluation. The most significant improvement in the SHR-5 group was seen in physical fitness, mental fatigue and neuro-motoric tests (p <0.01). The self-assessment of the general well-being was also significantly (p < 0.05) better in the verum group. No significance was seen in the correction of text tests or a neuro-muscular tapping test. The overall conclusion is that the study drug gave significant results compared to the placebo group but that the dose level probably was suboptimal.


    2: Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct;7(5):365-71. Links
    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.Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H.
    Department of Neurology, Armenian State Medical University, Yerevan. epilepsy@acc.com

    The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of repeated low-dose treatment with a standardized extract SHR/5 of rhizome Rhodiola rosea L, (RRE) on fatigue during night duty among a group of 56 young, healthy physicians. The effect was measured as total mental performance calculated as Fatigue Index. The tests chosen reflect an overall level of mental fatigue, involving complex perceptive and cognitive cerebral functions, such as associative thinking, short-term memory, calculation and ability of concentration, and speed of audio-visual perception. These parameters were tested before and after night duty during three periods of two weeks each: a) a test period of one RRE/placebo tablet daily, b) a washout period and c) a third period of one placebo/RRE tablet daily, in a double-blind cross-over trial. The perceptive and cognitive cerebral functions mentioned above were investigated using 5 different tests. A statistically significant improvement in these tests was observed in the treatment group (RRE) during the first two weeks period. No side-effects were reported for either treatment noted. These results suggest that RRE can reduce general fatigue under certain stressful conditions.


    3: Phytother Res. 2005 Oct;19(10):819-38. Links
    Stimulating effect of adaptogens: an overview with particular reference to their efficacy following single dose administration.Panossian A, Wagner H.
    Swedish Herbal Institute, Viktor Rydbergsgatan 10, SE-411 32 Gothenburg, Sweden. ap@shi.se

    Plant adaptogens are compounds that increase the ability of an organism to adapt to environmental factors and to avoid damage from such factors. The beneficial effects of multi-dose administration of adaptogens are mainly associated with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a part of the stress-system that is believed to play a primary role in the reactions of the body to repeated stress and adaptation. In contrast, the single dose application of adaptogens is important in situations that require a rapid response to tension or to a stressful situation. In this case, the effects of the adaptogens are associated with another part of the stress-system, namely, the sympatho-adrenal-system (SAS), that provides a rapid response mechanism mainly to control the acute reaction of the organism to a stressor. This review focuses primarily on the SAS-mediated stimulating effects of single doses of adaptogens derived from Rhodiola rosea, Schizandra chinensis and Eleutherococcus senticosus. The use of these drugs typically generates no side effects, unlike traditional stimulants that possess addiction, tolerance and abuse potential, produce a negative effect on sleep structure, and cause rebound hypersomnolence or 'come down' effects. Furthermore, single administration of these adaptogens effectively increases mental performance and physical working capacity in humans. R. rosea is the most active of the three plant adaptogens producing, within 30 min of administration, a stimulating effect that continues for at least 4-6 h. The active principles of the three plants that exhibit single dose stimulating effects are glycosides of phenylpropane- and phenylethane-based phenolic compounds such as salidroside, rosavin, syringin and triandrin, the latter being the most active. Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


    Just a few clinicals. Hope this was informative.
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    Answer

    Originally Posted by blackdream71 View Post
    it would seem to me that RR would help anxiety, but i'm always reading that it's contraindicated for people who have anxiety, anybody know the exact reason?
    Answer:

    Rhodiola rosea as a treatment for anxiety disorder:
    There are several herbs and nutrients that are helpful for anxiety including kava, passion flower, 5-HTP, tryptophan, ashwagandha, and others. Perhaps rhodiola rosea could be an additional herb to consider. It is possible that high dosages of rhodiola extract could cause overstimulation and insomnia, thus aggravating anxiety. If a person has anxiety, it is worthwhile to explore the different natural treatment options.

    A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
    J Altern Complement Med. 2008. Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
    Ten participants with a DSM-IV diagnosis of GAD, recruited from the UCLA Anxiety Disorders Program and between the ages of 34 and 55, were enrolled in this study. Participants received a total daily dose of 340 mg of rhodiola rosea extract for 10 weeks. Treated individuals showed significant decreases in mean Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale scores. Side effects included dizziness and dry mouth. Significant improvement in generalized anxiety disorder symptoms was found with rhodiola rosea extract.
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