Rhodiola rosea: Anxiolytic Herb?

Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb that has been evidenced to have anti-stress effects. These effects stem from the ability of phytochemicals within the plant to alter brain and hormonal activity. The main active principles within Rhodiola rosea are thought to be salidrosides, tyrosol, and rosavins. Animal models suggest that Rhodiola rosea may have particular mood elevating effects. For example, in one study, researchers administered rhodiola to rats and subjected them to experimental stress designed to induce anxious behaviour. The rhodiola was able to prevent this anxious behaviour in a dose response way. However, interestingly, the amount of rhodiola required to prevent anxious behaviour varied depending on the test used. This may suggest that different tests cause different amounts of anxious behaviour, or that certain anxieties are better treated compared to others with Rhodiola rosea extracts. The authors also noted that rhodiuola had low activity on GABA neurones, suggesting another route of activity. 

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Cayer, C., Ahmed, F., Filion, V., Saleem, A., Cuerrier, A., Allard, M., Rochefort, G., Merali, Z. and Arnason, J. T. 2013. Characterization of the anxiolytic activity of Nunavik Rhodiola rosea. Planta Medica. 79(15): 1385-1391

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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