Rhodiola Cures and Side Effects

Last Modified on Mar 17, 2014

<< Continued from page 4

Side Effects

Approval Ratings

[SIDE EFFECTS]  10/05/2009: Bee from USA: "I tried Rhodiola for the first time, and really hoped it would lighten my mood. I am also currently tapering off Paxil, down to 10 mg from 20 mg. The withdrawal is physically and mentally a struggle, and unfortunately the Rhodiola seemed to greatly worsen my anxiety. I felt like I could not sit still and was overly sensitive, emotional and distressed. My abdominal muscles were so tight I felt I could not take deep breaths. I can only attribute this change to Rhodiola, as I have been at this half dose for about a month and things were getting better. I am trying magnesium and tyrosine now. Also, before tapering I started on 5-htp 100mg and that was helping. I still hope to find some combo that allows me to get rid of the constant and emotionally draining anxiety, as well as the persistent down mood as it's taking over my life. But I don't want to be stuck forever on prescription medicines, as I worry about long-term effects."

10/05/2009: Rob from Manhattan, New York replies: "Hi Bee... there might be some helpful advice here...(no need for me to repeat it)
04/07/2010: Anonymous from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Usa replies: "Mix 1 tablespoon each Chamomile, Catnip, and Basil in hot water, steep 10 minutes or so. While it's steeping eat a cup of plain yogurt, not lowfat or anything. Then drink the tea, strain out the leaves if you like. This makes the abdominals quite relaxed and peaceful. Also try Horse Chestnut with yogurt."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  07/09/2009: Ruser from New York, NY: "manic episode on rhodiola... Hi, i am a psychologist reporting that a client of mine who worked her way up to 600 mg of Rhodiola wound up feeling agitated, "out of her mine" chopping at ther hair, and ultimately got arrested in a department store for shoplifing. she describes confusion at the time and persevaritive thoughts. I have consulted with some psychiatrist friends of mine who indicate the drug might potentiate a manic or hypomanic episode. does anyyone else have any info to report on this matter? Thanks."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  10/01/2009: Sisterlouise from Portland, Oregon replies: "I did have trouble with anxiety when taking rhodiola. I only tried it a few days. The energy level was great, felt very positive throughout the day (took in a.m. as recommended by New Chapter, but in the evening, I was miserable, anxious, even my bp went up a bit. Had to drop it. It is GREAT for my husband, but, alas, not for me."
[SIDE EFFECTS]  10/02/2009: Rob from Manhattan, New York replies: "yes, same for me... I also experimented with the New Chapter brand at 300mg and found it was too strong. I was able to take half a capsule. There are other brands that are less potent. You may also want to cycle it at three days on, 2 days off and taking a week off every couple weeks. Taking time off is a good idea for many supplements."
12/12/2009: Sisterlouise from Portland, Or replies: "Followup: My husband who was feeling really good on 100 mg of Rhodiola a day began to feel it was not as effective with energy and focus as it had been. Rather than increasing the dose as the manufacturer had suggested, he begin taking it just every other day, which seemed okay. He's begun to notice, though, that on the days he takes it, he has a bit of pain in one of his elbows. He has some sensitivity to some foods that causes joint trouble occasionally and this may be falling into that same category."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  04/17/2009: Diana from Arlington, VA: "I have been taking Nutrilite's Rhodiola 110 for about a month now (take twice a day) and I found that after two weeks of taking it, my period stopped. I thought I might have been pregnant after being 2 weeks late and took 5 pregnancy tests - all negative. So, I am now almost 6 weeks late on my period and not pregnant, so I would have to say after reading others' feedback, that my missed periods and subtle cramping is due to taking this pill.

Although it gave me great energy, it has altered my cycle and put me through some stressful weeks."

06/06/2009: Maxine from Rochester, NY replies: "I've been trying 2 full squirts of this herb in tincture form (small bottle with dropper) daily in the mornings, sometimes with an extra dose in the afternoon, for a couple of weeks now. As a person with chronic fatigue, I have see a noticeable difference in my mental clarity and ability to get through the day, and with way less anxiety than before. I wake up feeling better, am still not 100% but am more productive overall, and am happy with the increased energy and functioning. My period this month, however, was BARELY present at all--a trade off I am more than willing to accept! :-)

The brand I use is Herb Pharm purchased on sale at local health food store for $8.99. It tastes terrible in a small glass of water as suggested, so I take mine with juice instead. I prefer tinctures because they're a good alternative to swallowing pills, and has a much longer shelf life.

Good luck all!"
[SIDE EFFECTS]  12/05/2009: Char from Fayetteville, Nc replies: "I have been taking New Chapter Rhodiola for about a month now at 300mg in the am per day. I also alternated with Now 500 mg per day.

New Chapter seemed to work instantly, I felt less stressed and just happier in general, however I missed my period in October entirely and like Diana I thought I was pregnant. I had strange cramping and have been to the two different doctors trying to find answers to by abnormal symptoms, now (thanks to this site and the people who write on it) I can almost guarantee its from supplementing rhodiola. I stopped dosing yesterday and will not be taking it anymore.

In closing I would like to comment that Rholdiola did make me happier, less stressed and excited for my day, however it put my body out of its natural cycle with unusual cramping and bloating. Due to this I will not take Rhodiola."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  03/28/2012: Anonymous from Melbourne, Australia replies: "I had a similar experience. I took Rhodiola _____ brand for about 1 week (2 per day) followed by ____ brand (2 per day most days, 1 per day occassionally) for about 2. 5 weeks and my period was late. The day after my period was due, I stopped taking Rhodiola after reading other comments on this website. My period is now 1 week late. Rhodiola was very effective for treating anxiety, however I am quite concerned about this side effect and what it may mean for my reproductive cycle. In case it is relevant, I have had mild cramping. Also, I am definitely not pregnant as confirmed by 2 pregnancy tests."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  11/14/2008: Mary from London, UK: "I took Rhodiola Rosea- Each one-a-day capsule contained 250mg standardised Rhodiola Rosea root extract (1% each rosavins, salidrozid and polyphenols) and also 130mg Raw Rhodolia Root powder.
I bought these after internet research from a reputable vitamin company, mainly for an energy lift and adrenal support following a period of chronic stress. I didn't expect to experience any results for a week at least but have stopped taking this after only 3 days because of a marked change in mood - feeling depressed, irritable and very tired. Foggy, negative thinking. Eye irriation and head ache. I was not previously depressed. I am a skeptical person and wary of attributing these effects to R.Rosea after such a very short period of time, but I have no other explanation than to consider this a negative reaction to the herb. Disappointed and concerned, this was not at all what I expected."

12/03/2010: Robert Bernard from Moscow, Russia replies: "RHODIOLA ROSEA (Golden root)
This is a perennial plant with red, pink, or yellowish flowers. It is no biological relation of the "common" rose, but due to its similar fragrance it has been used as a substitute for Attar of Roses. One of the greatest things Rhodiola does is enhance mental and physical performance. It has been widely used by Russian athletes to increase energy. Rhodiola is cardio-protective, normalizing the heart-rate immediately after intense exercise. It improves nervous system and mental functions such as memory by increasing blood-supply to the muscles and brain, and also increases protein synthesis. Rhodiola rosea has extraordinary pharmacological properties as an anti-mutagen and anti-depressive agent. In this respect Rhodiola rosea is much more powerful than other adaptogens."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  11/12/2008: Joy from Toronto, Ontario: "I took Rhodiola for two days and the pain in my joints was terrible. I stopped taking it. I started again 3 weeks later and had the same effect. It also worsens my fibromyalgia. I have taken Rhodiola on 5 occasions. I like how it helps increase my clarity of thought and focus, nevertheless I must always discontinue use because of the pain."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  10/04/2008: Louise from NSW, Australia: "I started using Rhodila Rosea 500mg after reading how it increases energy. I started taking 1 capsule 1/2 hr before breakfast and it made me VERY tired. I then tried 250mg (1/2 capsule)...same effects...so I diluted 1 500mg capsule in 250 ml water and took 50ml equalling
100mg and I still get tired (not as much) but very moody. My sister gets the same effects as I do."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  07/14/2008: David from Portland, Oregon: "For about six months I've been taking Rhodiola (Rosavin Plus standarized 3% Siberian Rhodiola rosea, RosaFactor 300 mg.) for depression and fatigue. For some weeks now I have been suffering headaches, eye irritation, and general tiredness. I have also had some heart arrhythmia. My doctor can find no other cause of these symptoms and recommends that I stop taking this herb and see if there is improvement. I will report what happens and would like to hear from others who may have had negative side-effects to Rhodiola. DJW"

[SIDE EFFECTS]  01/21/2013: Abisha5192 from Staten Island, New York replies: "Thanks for posting this. I'm a healthy 56 yo, with a heart of a 26 yo, no history of heart disease in my family, non smoker and non drinker, I am in ICU right now with arrhythmic palpitations that almost killed me. I will see my cardiologist tomorrow and tell him that there is no doubt in my mind it is the 275 mg Rhodiola Rosea I take daily."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  05/25/2008: Sally from Birmingham, England: "i've been using the Rhodiola for a few days, but only one a day. I read the post about someone taking two close together and feeling restless and jittery, and i've been feeling a bit like that. Does that mean i shouldn't take it at all?

Also, my husband has tendonitis in shoulder, any natural remedies. He is taking a capsule of msm; hydrocloride glucosamide; and bought a some turmeric but only used that once or twice. Someone mentioned Black strap molasses for arthritis, would that work? i have some in cupboard."

EC: Possible pages of interest:

05/26/2008: Joyce from Joelton, Tn replies: "Yes, there is something else that will help your husband's shoulder bursitis. If you know what poke sallet (pokeweed) is, they are just now beginning to blossom and you'll have to wait until they ripen this fall to gather them to take. Contrary to popular belief, they are not poisonous. I have been taking them for 30+ years and I'm still here to answer your question. If you want to know how to take them, I started taking 3 or 4 berries 4 times a day and kept increasing them until I was taking about 20 to 25 berries 4 times a day. Several years after starting them, I read that if you extracted them in alcohol or vinegar, it stayed good for several years but dehydrating them, they were only good for 6 months or so. If you care to get into this, there are many books (or on line information) you can find. A general rule of thumb for beginners is that when using fresh herbs - l part herb to l part diluent used to extract: when using dry herbs use 2 parts diluent to l part dries herb. If you want to research poke berries - google pokeweed instead of poke sallet."
06/02/2009: Sammi from Flowery Branch, Ga replies: "Other Southerners know it as poke salad. LOL."
05/01/2012: Beth from Savannah, Ga. replies: "I've only been on Rhodiola a few days, but I seem to be having the opposite affect. I'm tired, and sad. I took 350 mg for several days, thought it was too high so I found Gaiya brand at 250 mg. Still napping twice a day, no impetus to do anything. I get stuff done eventually, but no zeal-always a chore. Break up issues, very alone, and work related sadness, money issues-maybe I'm just too depressed for this to work. Any feedback."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  01/31/2008: Rae from Hackensack, NJ: "I have been taking about 50mg 5 htp with 900mg St. Johns Wort daily to treat my depression with good results. Then I read about Rhodiola and I started taking a 500mg capsule daily. But after 1-2 day I noticed an itchy rash on my face and legs. I'm not sure if it's the Rhodiola or a combination of all or two of the herbs. I have stopped the Rhodiola for now but will begin again at a lower dose once the rash has cleared. I haven't found much about side effects with the Rhodiola but wondered if anyone had a similar experience."

02/06/2008: Rae from Hackensack, NJ replies: "I sent feedback about a week ago about a rash as a possible side effect from Rhodiola (500mg for depression) but I was also taking St John's Wort (900mg). I did more research and found some people have had an itchy rash in response to St. John's Wort! I tried the St. John's again and the same thing happened. Now I'm on the Rhodiola and 5 htp (50mg)and so far so good."
[BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS]  04/28/2010: Caroline from Newbridge, Ireland replies: "I started taking Rhodiola Rosea standardised extract 250mg 1%salidrosides four months ago. 2 capsules in the am daily for mild depression. I have felt the benefits moods wise but have been driven crazy with itchy skin on my back and stomach accompanied by a red rash. I stopped taking Rhodiola (after exhausting all manner of skin lotions) three days ago and have noticed an easing in the itchiness. I feel in no doubt that Rhodiola was the cause. Hope this helps."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  10/23/2007: Mary from bayonne, nj: "I tried rhodiola after reading about all the benefits. What I experiences was a menstrual cycle that was near hemorraging. I immediately quit using it and my cycle returned to normal. There is very little, if any, hard science out there on this product and a whole lot of buzz. I would be careful."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  11/10/2008: Nas from Silver Spring, MD replies: "I have to agree with this, I felt like stuff was pouring out of my body. I think women should be careful with this stuff. I had only been taking it for like two weeks when my cycle started. I was taking Gaia Herbs Rhodiola. Gave a presentation at work and literally had to rush to the bathroom afterward."
[SIDE EFFECTS]  04/14/2010: Louise from Orlando, Fl replies: "I am having this same reaction and am so disappointed because I feel like other than that it might really help me. Wondering if this side effect will subside? I started with Nature's Way 250mg capsules 1%salidroside and 3%rosavins for a few days and then switched to New Chapter 100mg capsules 1% and 6%.

Can anyone help with this? Am I just using too high a dosage or the wrong brand? Any advice appreciated."
11/11/2012: Cj from Honolulu, Hi replies: "I am actually on the combined contrceptive pill, and the rhodiola has caused breakthrough bleeding, like a normal period. I too am hoping it will subside as the energy and mood effects of the rhodiola are excellent. I'd been on it 18 days when the spotting started, and 3 days later it has progressed to a normal period.

I wonder if this is a little known/rare side effect as there are only a handful of posters here over the last few years and I can't see any info about it anywhere else so far.

SJW and Vitex also cause this problem for me, so I had to discontinue use before I saw any results - I saw results with this stuff after the headaches went away and am so pleased - really don't want to stop! I'll give it some more time and see what happens, and will update this info when I know...

(started 100mg, now on 500mg per day, in the AM)

I also had a daily headache (that some here have mentioned) when I started taking the rhodiola but I persisted and they went away after 10 days."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  04/05/2007: Clara from New York City, USA: "I recently started taking rhodiola and vitamin E in the mornings and afternoons, and I've noticed a huge difference in my energy levels. My skin is more radiant, and I have a lot more energy than I used to. However, a word of caution -- two rhodiola capsules per day might be too much for some people. I noticed that after the afternoon dose I was feeling a little nervous, jittery, and restless, so now I take only one rhodiola capsule in the morning, and I take the vitamin E in the morning and afternoon, and it seems to work better for me. I'd highly recommend this remedy, but be careful with rhodiola if you're at all prone to nervousness and/or panic attacks."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  03/05/2009: Marina from NY, NY replies: "You did not specify the amount of each capsule. i just started taking 500mgs, 3%r osavins and 1% salidrosides, and i am feeling a bit jittery. this is only day 2 for me on this."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  02/19/2007: Artemis from Bismarck, ND: "I started Rhodiola about a week ago for the "fountain of youth" benefit. When I added the Vitamine E, I experienced severe, nearly arthritic pain in joints and muscles. I have not experienced the improved sleep pattern, either. I plan to stop the herb a few days then restart on lower dosage."

03/05/2009: Marina from NY, NY replies: "again, you did not specify the amount. how are we supposed to know what you are talking about?"


Approval Ratings
YEA (2)

[YEA]  05/13/2008: Anonymous from Simi Valley, California: "Rhodiola Feedback: I take 8 grams a day at night before i go to sleep for skin lightening effects. I started on a high dosage a month ago and never had any side effects. I'm 18, have a history of acute asthma, mild depression, tiredness, and get migraines. When I take it without food, which i usually do, it makes my heart race a little and it is hard to focus. I sleep fine, and wake up earlier. I wouldn't take it in the morning or before doing anything exciting or mentally demanding. My skin feels amazingly soft, but i haven't noticed any lightening."

11/02/2007: Tanya from Buffalo, NY: "I wanted to know if Rhodiola is suitable for the person who has severe anxiety/panic disorder (major symptoms lightheadedness, dizziness, faiting)? Did somebody have any positive results with it for the above mentioned symptoms? Thanks"

08/22/2008: Robert from Manhattan, New York replies: "Tanya, being prone to panic attacks myself, I have learned to stay away from many stimulants, especially caffiene. Rhodiola seemed to excite more than calm me. Above all, I would recommend Magnesium. And occasional use of Valerian, which can be sleep inducing. Also Ashwaganda is a good adaptogen with calming qualities."
08/23/2008: Joyce from Joelton, Tn replies: "Hello Robert, I agree with you that magnesium will help with those panic attacks. However, I do suggest that you google "excitotoxins" and do an honest evaluation of how much of two of the major excitotoxins you are ingesting (monosodium glutamate or MSG and aspartame or nutri-sweet), as both of these are known to cause mood swings and panic attacks. You are in for a rude awakening if you think MSG is only ingested when you eat Chinese, Asian or stirfried foods. Interestingly enough, magnesium competes with the same sites with MSG, but removing the excitotoxins makes more sense than continuing to ingest them and hoping you are getting enough magnesium to counteract same. If you are still having the panic attacks, you obviously aren't."
09/21/2008: Robert from Manhattan, NY replies: "Thanks Joyce... Yes, I stay away from those additives. Stress is accumulative and it just piles up living in NYC. I know my sources, a long running litigation, money, and loss. Add a little genetics to the mix and you start to have panic attacks. In an effort to keep on top of it, I take a vigorous yoga class 3 to 4 times a week, and the above mentioned supplements. Getting out in nature would work wonders as well."

[YEA]  08/22/2006: Joanna from Boston: "Rhodiola is one of the best supplements to take for the skin. I think it should be taken with Vitamin E and Flax Seed oil for best results."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  08/05/2009: Karla from Regina, Sask replies: "I am taking 250mg daily in the morning for the past 2 months. Have noticed an improvement in brain fog and anxiety, but am experiencing itchy skin (forearms and shins). Has anyone else experienced this side effect?"



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