Rhodiola Rosea for PCOS

Rhodiola Rosea for PCOS: Benefits, How to Use & Precautions

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a hormonal disorder affecting women. Common symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, acne, hair loss, or weight gain.

To manage PCOS and improve the lives of affected women, adaptogenic herbs have become popular. Adaptogenic herbs are natural and have fewer side effects, making them increasingly favored by women.

One of the most popular adaptogens is Rhodiola.

This article will help you understand Rhodiola Rosea for PCOS: Benefits, Usage & Precautions. Let's explore together.

Before exploring further, please read the disclaimer located at the end of this webpage.

Key Takeaways

  • Rhodiola can manage PCOS symptoms by balancing hormones, reducing stress, improving insulin sensitivity, boosting energy, reducing inflammation, etc.
  • The recommended dosage of Rhodiola for PCOS ranges from 200-1500 mg.
  • The appropriate time to take Rhodiola for PCOS is in the morning and early afternoon.
  • Avoid using Rhodiola when taking medications like antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, pain relievers, etc.
  • Combining Rhodiola with other adaptogenic herbs can provide comprehensive health care.

Rhodiola for PCOS: Is it Effective?

Rhodiola may reduce PCOS symptoms

In managing PCOS, Rhodiola can help alleviate the related symptoms.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder in women, reported to affect 5-10% of women of reproductive age [1].

It has adverse effects on women's bodies such as irregular cycles, more severe menstrual pain, worse skin conditions, acne, hair loss, obesity, etc., significantly impacting daily life.

Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb known for supporting overall health and reducing PCOS symptoms.

The most common benefit of Rhodiola is its ability to manage stress and reduce fatigue, anxiety, and hormone imbalance.

When you are stressed, your adrenal glands secrete cortisol. However, consistently high cortisol levels can affect the balance of other hormones, including sex hormones like androgens. Rhodiola helps balance cortisol, potentially reducing overall androgen levels and alleviating PCOS symptoms.

Moreover, it can also improve energy levels, helping you achieve better sleep and mood for a healthier lifestyle.

To delve deeper into the benefits of Rhodiola for PCOS, please continue reading in the following sections.

What are the Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea for PCOS?

Hormonal Balance

PCOS is characterized by hormonal imbalances, including elevated levels of testosterone and insulin. This imbalance significantly affects women's bodies.

Rhodiola can help regulate hormone levels, including testosterone, DHEA, and insulin.

This is evident when you are stressed; your body produces cortisol. Higher cortisol levels can disrupt hormonal balance.

Rhodiola rosea can help inhibit the production of these hormones, thereby boosting the immune system and helping the body combat PCOS symptoms [2].

Additionally, Rhodiola can directly affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, regulating the production and balance of sex hormones like testosterone and DHEA [3].

Stress Reduction

Stress can exacerbate PCOS conditions such as irregular periods, hirsutism, and acne. Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that has long been used to reduce stress [4].

Using Rhodiola can also help alleviate anxiety and depression caused by stress [4]. It provides additional energy and enhances physical exercise performance.

When we have a healthy mind, we can improve our overall quality of life.

Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin and PCOS are closely linked. High insulin levels stimulate the ovaries to produce more androgens (male hormones), particularly testosterone, leading to PCOS symptoms.

Using Rhodiola can improve insulin sensitivity, helping the body use insulin more effectively to regulate blood sugar levels. This can help reduce high insulin levels [5].

Stable insulin levels help decrease androgen production from the ovaries, improving follicle development and ovulation. This can help regulate menstrual cycles and increase fertility in women with PCOS.

Additionally, Rhodiola can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a common condition among women with PCOS.

Energy Levels

Many studies have shown that Rhodiola can help increase energy, reduce fatigue, and enhance focus and alertness [6].

Rhodiola has been proven to enhance the production and utilization of ATP, the energy-carrying molecules that serve as the main energy source for most biochemical processes in the body [7].

By increasing ATP production, Rhodiola provides a sense of vigor and energy for daily activities.

Moreover, Rhodiola can stimulate the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which play crucial roles in regulating mood, concentration, and energy levels [8].

Inflammation Reduction

Chronic inflammation can contribute to and prolong PCOS. A study has demonstrated the relationship between chronic inflammation and PCOS, even though at a relatively low level [9].

Research has shown that Rhodiola possesses anti-inflammatory properties [10].

This is a positive indication that Rhodiola can be an effective support method in managing inflammation and related symptoms of PCOS.

How to Take Rhodiola for PCOS?

How Much PCOS Should You Use for PCOS?

The dosage of Rhodiola ranges from 200 mg to 1500 mg daily

The dosage of Rhodiola for stress reduction has been studied at around 576 mg [11]. Higher doses have been researched up to 1500 mg [12]. Therefore, the dosage of Rhodiola for PCOS ranges from 200 mg to 1500 mg daily.

Rosavin and Salidroside are the main active compounds of Rhodiola. To ensure effectiveness, you should choose a Rhodiola rosea product containing at least 3% rosavin and 1% salidroside.

You can divide the dosage into multiple servings throughout the day, 1 to 2 times, or even 3 times. However, avoid using it in the evening or before bedtime, as Rhodiola may affect your sleep.

Taking Rhodiola on an empty stomach will help your body absorb it better without worrying about competing with other substances [13].

What are Rhodiola Forms to Use?

There are several forms in which you can use Rhodiola:

Dried Rhodiola Root: Commonly used for making tea or powder. Dried Rhodiola root may contain a high amount of salidroside, one of Rhodiola’s main active compounds. However, it takes time to prepare, and it can be difficult to measure the appropriate dosage.

  • Rhodiola Powder: Made by grinding Rhodiola root into a fine powder. Rhodiola powder can be added to smoothies, juices, or foods to enhance flavor. Like dried Rhodiola root, it is challenging to adjust the dosage accurately.
  • Rhodiola Extract: Easier to use than dried Rhodiola root, and the body can absorb nutrients faster since the extraction process removes unnecessary substances and retains beneficial compounds. However, some products may contain additives.
  • Rhodiola Tincture: An extract of Rhodiola soaked in alcohol. This form is also easily absorbed but has a strong taste that some may find unpleasant.
  • Rhodiola Capsules: Perhaps the most convenient way to use Rhodiola. Capsules often contain a pre-measured dose of Rhodiola. You simply need to swallow the capsule without any preparation.

Your choice of Rhodiola form will depend on your personal needs and preferences. If you are looking for the most potent form of Rhodiola, consider using Rhodiola extract.

If convenience is a priority, Rhodiola capsules are a quick and easy option. For the most natural form, dried Rhodiola root is a good choice, allowing you to incorporate Rhodiola into your diet as you prefer.

Duration to Take Rhodiola for PCOS

Taking Rhodiola in the morning or afternoon is recommended as it can boost energy and reduce stress. This way, you'll have plenty of energy for activities throughout the day.

Avoid taking Rhodiola in the evening to prevent sleep disruption, as it can increase alertness and energy, making it harder to fall asleep.

Regarding the cycle of Rhodiola use, most studies on Rhodiola for PCOS have lasted around 8-12 weeks.

Therefore, the recommended duration for Rhodiola use is up to 12 weeks. After 12 weeks of use, you should take a break of about 3-4 weeks to allow your body to rest and recover before starting a new cycle.

As with any herbal supplement, consult your doctor before starting Rhodiola to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Combining Rhodiola with other Adaptogen Herbs that Benefit for PCOS

Adaptogenic herbs benefit in managing PCOS

Adaptogenic herbs can be combined with each other. Combining Rhodiola with other adaptogenic herbs can offer multiple benefits in managing PCOS symptoms and improving overall health.

Here are some beneficial combinations of Rhodiola with other adaptogenic herbs for PCOS:

  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Combining Rhodiola and Ashwagandha can enhance stress reduction, improve mood, and support hormonal health [14], [15]. Additionally, both herbs are beneficial in regulating blood sugar levels [16].
  • Maca: Both Maca and Rhodiola are known for boosting energy, regulating mood, and supporting mental and cognitive health [17]. Therefore, combining them can help you manage PCOS more effectively.
  • Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum): Both of these herbs have stress-reducing and antinflammatory properties [18]. Combining Rhodiola and Holy Basil can help improve PCOS symptoms if they are caused by prolonged stress and inflammation.

Side Effects and Precautions When Taking Rhodiola Rosea for PCOS

Each person will have different sensitivities and reactions to using Rhodiola.

Although it is considered a safe adaptogen, there are some reports that Rhodiola may cause a few side effects, including:

  • Dry mouth: This is the most common side effect of Rhodiola [19].
  • Restlessness and increased anxiety: Some people may feel restless or anxious after using Rhodiola [20].
  • Headache: Headaches are a less common side effect of Rhodiola.
  • Insomnia: Some people may have difficulty sleeping after using Rhodiola due to its mild stimulating properties.
  • Nausea: A few people have reported feeling nauseous and uncomfortable when using Rhodiola.

To minimize the impact of side effects and avoid the risk of experiencing side effects when using Rhodiola, consider the following precautions:

  • Start with a low dose and gradually increase if your body tolerates it well.
  • Ensure you stay hydrated.
  • You can take Rhodiola after meals or with food to avoid gastrointestinal side effects.
  • Rhodiola can interact with several medications, including antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and pain relievers. Therefore, consult your doctor before using Rhodiola if you are taking any other medications.
  • Rhodiola has not been proven safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Do not use Rhodiola if you are a child.

Studies have shown that Rhodiola rosea can interact with various medications through mechanisms such as inhibiting the CYP3A4, CYP2C9 enzymes, and P-glycoprotein, along with MAO inhibition activity [19].

These effects can influence the concentration and efficacy of drugs like phenytoin, warfarin, antidepressants, antihypertensives, and CNS stimulants.

Although there are not many specific clinical studies, you should be cautious when using Rhodiola with these medications.

Other Ways to Manage PCOS

In addition to using adaptogenic herbs, there are other ways to manage PCOS.
Changing your diet, incorporating more natural foods, and exercising regularly to maintain a healthy weight can all help manage PCOS.

Keeping your mind relaxed by engaging in activities such as yoga and meditation is also highly beneficial.

Reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and limiting caffeine intake can help improve your PCOS symptoms.

Acupuncture is another effective method for managing PCOS. It enhances blood circulation to the ovaries and uterus, reduces cortisol levels, and improves insulin sensitivity.

Conclusion

In summary, Rhodiola is a promising herb that may help alleviate PCOS symptoms. Incorporating Rhodiola into your daily routine can help reduce stress, balance hormones, and improve insulin sensitivity, thereby enhancing your quality of life. Although there are not many studies specifically proving Rhodiola's effectiveness for PCOS, its known benefits make it a worthwhile option to consider.

References

  • [1] Scicchitano P, Ilaria Dentamaro, Carbonara R, et al. Cardiovascular Risk in Women With PCOS. International journal of endocrinology and metabolism/International journal of endocrinology and metabolism. 2012;10(4):611-618. doi:https://doi.org/10.5812/ijem.4020
  • [2] Agapouda A, Grimm A, Imane Lejri, Eckert A. Rhodiola Rosea Extract Counteracts Stress in an Adaptogenic Response Curve Manner via Elimination of ROS and Induction of Neurite Outgrowth. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity. 2022;2022:1-19. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/5647599
  • [3] Chiang HM, Chen HC, Wu CS, Wu PY, Wen KC. Rhodiola plants: Chemistry and biological activity. Yàowù shípǐn fēnxī. 2015;23(3):359-369. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfda.2015.04.007
  • [4] Emilija Ivanova Stojcheva, José Carlos Quintela. The Effectiveness of Rhodiola rosea L. Preparations in Alleviating Various Aspects of Life-Stress Symptoms and Stress-Induced Conditions—Encouraging Clinical Evidence. Molecules/Molecules online/Molecules annual. 2022;27(12):3902-3902. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27123902
  • [5] Chen T, Yao L, Ke D, et al. Treatment with Rhodiola crenulata root extract ameliorates insulin resistance in fructose-fed rats by modulating sarcolemmal and intracellular fatty acid translocase/CD36 redistribution in skeletal muscle. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 2016;16(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-016-1176-z
  • [6] Lamadrid P, Williams DK, Kilpatrick MW, Bickford PC, Sanberg C. The Impact of Dietary Supplement NT-020 with Rhodiola Rosea on Energy, Fatigue, and Perceived Exertion. Functional foods in health and disease/Journal of functional foods in health & disease. 2019;9(11):706-706. doi:https://doi.org/10.31989/ffhd.v9i11.656
  • [7] M. Abidov, F. Crendal, S. Grachev, R. Seifulla, Ziegenfuss T. Effect of Extracts from Rhodiola Rosea and Rhodiola Crenulata (Crassulaceae) Roots on ATP Content in Mitochondria of Skeletal Muscles. Bulletin of experimental biology and medicine. 2003;136(6):585-587. doi:https://doi.org/10.1023/b:bebm.0000020211.24779.15
  • [8] Li Y, Pham V, Bui M, et al. Rhodiola rosea L.: an Herb with Anti-Stress, Anti-Aging, and Immunostimulating Properties for Cancer Chemoprevention. Current pharmacology reports. 2017;3(6):384-395. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s40495-017-0106-1
  • ‌[9] Shaimaa Aboeldalyl, James C, Emaduldin Seyam, Emad Moussa Ibrahim, Hossam El-Din Shawki, Amer S. The Role of Chronic Inflammation in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of molecular sciences. 2021;22(5):2734-2734. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22052734
  • ‌[10] None Pooja, Bawa AS, Khanum F. Anti-inflammatory activity ofRhodiola rosea- “a second-generation adaptogen.” PTR Phytotherapy research/Phytotherapy research. 2009;23(8):1099-1102. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2749
  • ‌[11] Stephanie Maxine Ross. Rhodiola rosea (SHR-5), Part I. Holistic nursing practice. 2014;28(2):149-154. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/hnp.0000000000000014
  • ‌[12] Williams TD, Langley HN, Roberson CC, Rogers RR, Ballmann CG. Effects of Short-Term Golden Root Extract (Rhodiola rosea) Supplementation on Resistance Exercise Performance. International Journal of environmental research and public health/International journal of environmental research and public health. 2021;18(13):6953-6953. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18136953
  • [13] Mental Health America. Complementary & Alternative Medicine for Mental Health.; 2016. https://www.mhanational.org/sites/default/files/MHA_CAM.pdf
  • ‌[14] Mohsen Akbaribazm, Goodarzi N, Rahimi M. Female infertility and herbal medicine: An overview of the new findings. Food science & nutrition. 2021;9(10):5869-5882. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.2523
  • ‌[15] Office of Dietary Supplements - Ashwagandha: Is it helpful for stress, anxiety, or sleep? Nih.gov. Published 2021. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Ashwagandha-HealthProfessional/
  • ‌[16] Sharanbasappa Durg, Sachin Bavage, Shivaram SB. Withania somnifera (Indian ginseng) in diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of scientific evidence from experimental research to clinical application. PTR Phytotherapy research/Phytotherapy research. 2020;34(5):1041-1059. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6589
  • ‌[17] Gonzales GF. Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology ofLepidium meyenii(Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine. 2012;2012:1-10. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/193496
  • ‌[18] Jamshidi N, Cohen MM. The Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Tulsi in Humans: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine. 2017;2017:1-13. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/9217567
  • ‌[19] Rhodiola. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Published November 9, 2022. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/rhodiola
  • ‌[20] HerbalGram: Rhodiola rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview. Herbalgram.org. Published 2024. Accessed June 6, 2024. http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue56/article2333.html?ts=1403774445&signature=6f434764b3934d3426fb0859c2e6c347
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Author

Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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