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Rhodiola: cool, calm, cognitive bliss

               Serious training leads to stress—but even everyday athletes can suffer from anxiety and tension. Chill out with one of our favorite botanicals; bonus: it also eases depression, improves mood and enhances cognition.

               Rhodiola rosea, from the root of a flowering succulent that grows in cold, mountainous regions of Europe, Asia, North America and the Arctic, has been used for centuries in traditional herbal medicine. It's classified as an adaptogen, meaning it works with the body's own systems to regulate the stress response and restore balance. Rhodiola is rich in compounds that influence the release of cortisol, the body's primary stress hormone, and a number of studies show it's a safe, comprehensive way to treat everyday stress, prevent chronic stress and protect against stress-related complications.[1], [2], [3]

               Rhodiola also has positive benefits on mood, and can significantly reduce, stress, anger, confusion and depression. In one study, people who took rhodiola showed significant improvements in emotional instability and insomnia, compared to those who took a placebo. And rhodiola has powerful cognitive benefits; studies show it can increase the capacity for mental work, shorten reaction and response time and ease mental fatigue.[4], [5], [6], [7], [8]

[1] Panossian A et al. Effects of adaptogens on the central nervous system and the molecular mechanisms associated with their stress—protective activity. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010 Jan; 3(1): 188–224.

[2] Olsson EM et al. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. Planta Med. 2009 Feb;75(2):105-12.

[3] Anghelescu IG et al. Stress management and the role of Rhodiola rosea: a review. Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2018 Nov;22(4):242-252.

[4] Cropley M et al. The effects of Rhodiola rosea l. extract on anxiety, stress, cognition and other mood symptoms. Phytother Res. 2015 Dec;29(12):1934-9.

[5] Darbinyan V et al. Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Nord J Psychiatry. 2007; 61(5):343-8.

[6] Shevtsov VA et al. A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work. Phytomedicine. 2003;10:95–105.

[7] Jówko E et al. Effects of Rhodiola rosea supplementation on mental performance, physical capacity, and oxidative stress biomarkers in healthy men. J Sport Health Sci. 2018 Oct; 7(4): 473–480.

[8] Darbinyan  V et al. 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. Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct;7(5):365-71.

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