If you’re looking for an herb to boost your energy and improve your mood, you may be wondering if rhodiola or ashwagandha is the better choice. Both of these herbs have a long history of use in traditional medicine, and both offer a variety of benefits. Let’s compare the benefits of rhodiola vs ashwagandha so you can decide which one is right for you.
This post was written by Lindsay Delk, RDN. It is for informational purposes and is not intended to replace medical advice or instructions given by your healthcare provider.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Adaptogenic herbs (adaptogens) are a special class of herbs that have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. They help to regulate your body’s stress response by reducing cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone produced in high amounts during times of stress. Adaptogens help your body respond to stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Two of the most well-known adaptogenic herbs are ashwagandha and rhodiola rosea.
Rhodiola Rosea and Its Benefits
Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb used for centuries to improve cognitive function, boost energy levels, and relieve stress. Current research shows that rhodiola rosea can ease stress, fatigue, anxiety, burnout, and depression.
- Participants in a 2015 clinical trial were given 400 mg of rhodiola rosea per day. They experienced less anxiety, stress, anger, confusion, and depression after 14 days. And they had improvements in total mood.
- A review study in 2018 found that rhodiola rosea influences the release of stress hormones and boosts energy metabolism. It can help prevent chronic stress and stress-related complications.
- Researchers gave participants in a 2017 study 400 mg of rhodiola rosea for 12 weeks. The rhodiola rosea helped ease stress and burnout symptoms.
Rhodiola Rosea Dosage and Side Effects
Most of the research used 400 mg of rhodiola rosea in a single dose or divided into 2 doses. It’s best not to take rhodiola rosea at night because of its energizing effects. This is the rhodiola supplement I take.
Rhodiola rosea is considered safe. Side effects could include dizziness and dry mouth or excessive saliva production. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Ashwagandha and Its Benefits
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a powerful herb that has many beneficial effects on the body. It can help regulate metabolism, reduce stress, help you relax, calm how your brain responds to stress, strengthen the immune system, and protect cells from oxidative damage. Additionally, ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation in the body.
Research shows the following benefits of ashwagandha:
- Can improve your resistance to stress and your quality of life
- Can reduce inflammation in your body
- Can ease stress and anxiety
- Can improve sleep quality
Ashwagandha Dosage and Side Effects
The typical ashwagandha dosage is 500 mg twice a day for a total of 1,000 mg per day. You can take ashwagandha any time of day.
Ashwagandha is considered safe, but side effects could include GI upset, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have thyroid issues, or have an autoimmune disease. This is the ashwagandha supplement I take.
Rhodiola vs Ashwagandha
Rhodiola and ashwagandha are both adaptogens that share many similarities. But rhodiola rosea is more energizing and stimulating, while ashwagandha is considered more calming and relaxing.
If you’re looking to increase energy levels and physical stamina, rhodiola may be your herb of choice. If you’re looking to reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and calm your body, ashwagandha may be the best option.
How to Take Rhodiola or Ashwagandha
Rhodiola and ashwagandha both come from plants and are available in a variety of forms. You may be able to find them in capsules, pills, gummies, liquid, and powder. So you can take them in several different ways:
- Add the adaptogen to your food or drink.
- Use a liquid form of the adaptogen extract (called a tincture).
- Take a supplement of the adaptogen (capsules, pills, or gummies).
- Make an adaptogenic tea. Here are rhodiola tea bags and ashwagandha tea bags.
Can I Take Rhodiola and Ashwagandha Together?
Yes, you can take rhodiola and ashwagandha together. Both herbs are adaptogens that can help the body manage stress.
But it’s important to note that rhodiola has stimulating effects while ashwagandha has more sedative properties. So it’s best to take them at different times of day or adjust the dosages accordingly. Take the more stimulating rhodiola in the morning, and the more relaxing ashwagandha in the afternoon and/or evening.
You should also consult a healthcare professional before taking rhodiola and ashwagandha together as they may interact with certain medications or exacerbate pre-existing health conditions.
Choosing a Safe Supplement
One way to find a safe, reliable supplement brand is to look for one that is third-party tested. These are not-for-profit organizations that ensure supplements contain what they claim without impurities.
The product must be tested by independent organizations who verify that it contains all its advertised ingredients without any contaminants.
When deciding which herb is right for you, it is important to consider factors like availability, cost, side effects, and more. To learn more about rhodiola vs ashwagandha and their potential uses, check out reputable sources like PubMed or your Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.