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Dr. Tori Hudson, Portland, Oregon, Blog Healthline Blog

Stress is an all-encompassing concept, but it is a very core physiological reaction to life events, and is mediated by hormones, cytokines, and catecholamines. While we cannot possibly avoid all stressors, chronic and/or severe stress can exceed our adaptation mechanisms. Stressors come in all sizes and shapes that include physical or emotional events, environmental, or come from the world around us or our internal self. Some consider stress to be an epidemic. The world is faster, louder, with less nature and more pressures and demands. Obvious stress related conditions include depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel, headaches, and more. While there are numerous lifestyle changes that can improve our ability to handle stress, there are a class of plants, called adaptogens, that particularly lend themselves to improving our adaptation mechanisms and resilience such that the consequences of stress on us are lessened, and can also be used to help us restore and recover from stress.

clip_image002One of my favorites adaptogens is rhodiola. The authors of the current article reviewed the literature on treatments for stress, and the studies on rhodiola are particularly dominant.

According to the Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), rhodiola is the primary adaptogen for stress. In laboratory and animal data, rhodiola has been shown to normalize stress hormones, boost energy, and activate mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis. Rhodiola also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which can counter the excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can occur in stress, which then cause damage in mitochondria cells. Other animal studies have shown that stress hormones were not affected when the animals were given rhodiola and exposed to stress. Rhodiola appears to be effective for individuals with stress, chronic fatigue syndrome, and mental and physical fatigue (due to no other cause).

Studies have even shown that mental work capacity, attention, anxiety and mood can be improved with rhodiola. Next time you need assistance with one or more of these issues, consider taking 200-400 mg of rhodiola per day….results, depending on the problem, will likely improved in 2-6 weeks.

Reference: Anghelescu I-G, Edwards D, Seifritz E, Kasper S. Stress management and the role of Rhodiola rosea: a review. Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. January 11, 2018; [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1080/13651501.2017.1417442.

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