Rhodiola Rosea for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

How Can It Help?

Cinquefoils (Potentilla sp.) and Stone Crop (Rhodiola sp.), lichen-covered rock in the Qachqar-e-Dur Valley - Seen along the Mai Dur Pass trek, in the Gojal region.
Rhodiola Rosea for CFS. John Mock / Getty Images

Medicinal Uses:

Rhodiola rosea is a root that has several demonstrated medicinal uses. It hasn't been studied specifically for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome but is shown to be effective at treating many symptoms of the conditions.

Research shows rhodiola may:

  • Relieve stress, anxiety, and fatigue
  • Alleviate depression symptoms
  • Boost memory and cognitive function
  • Stimulate activity of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine

    Rhodiola has anti-viral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and may increase exercise capacity. So far, we don’t know whether it's effective against post-exertional malaise.

    Dosage:

    The recommended dosage of rhodiola is between 100 and 300 mg a day. Because it can have a stimulating effect, it's best taken early in the day. High doses are sometimes associated with feeling jittery and causing an increased risk of side effects.

    In Your Diet:

    Rhodiola isn't available in foods, so it has to be taken as a supplement.

    In addition to capsule form, it's available as an extract and in medicinal teas.

    Side Effects:

    Possible side effects include:

    • Headache
    • Upset stomach
    • Drowsiness
    • Difficulty sleeping

    Rhodiola has effects similar to prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), so you shouldn't take them together. Taking rhodiola along with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) may increase risk of drowsiness.

    We don't yet know whether rhodiola is safe for children, or during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

    More Supplement and Neurotransmitter Information:

    Sources:

    American Botanical Council. "Rhodiola rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview"

    The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2008;36(6):1209-17. "Antioxidant evaluation of three adoptogen extracts."

    Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. "Rhodiola rosea: A Versatile Adaptogen"

    International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2004 Jun;14(3):298-307. "Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance."

    Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2009 Mar 18;122(2):397-401. "Monoamine oxidase inhibition by Rhodiola rosea L. roots."

    Nordic Journal of Psychiatry. 2007;61(5):343-8. "Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression."

    Phytotherapy research: PTR. 2009 Jan 16. (Epub ahead of print) "Anti-inflammatory activity of Rhodiola rosea - 'a second-generation adaptogen'"

    Phytotherapy research: PTR. 2007 Jan;21(1):37-43. "Adaptogenic and central nervous system effects of single doses of 3% rosavin and1% salidroside Rhodiola rosea L. extract in mice."

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