Adaptogen Rhodiola Rosea Extract Effects + Brain Toniq (with the best energy drink ingredients)

Hi Everyone!

During my eight years working in R&D at a nutritional supplement company, I came across an herb called "Rhodiola" (Latin name Rhodiola rosea) that is quite amazing.

Rhodiola rosea extract has the effect of rendering a person extremely alert and focused, but without any stimulants.

The Rhodiola herb contains "adaptogens" - natural agents that bolster the human body's ability to "adapt" to environmental stressors. The mechanism by which adaptogens work isn't fully understood, but it is clear they are NOT stimulants, the way caffeine is. In fact, stimulants actually increase the effects of stress on the body, even though they allow you to plow through the stressful tasks at hand better, on the short term. Rhodiola effects are barely noticeable, except that you will find yourself incredibly focused, alert, and productive.

The best way to describe the effects of adaptogens is that they make you "more normal than normal." This makes it extremely hard for scientists to measure adaptogenic effects and "prove" they work.

(NOTE: Conventional measurement of "health" relies on normal ranges - anything within the range of normal is considered "normal" by medical science...thus, it is virtually impossible to measure "before" and "after" effects of adaptogens, if all they do is help you maintain a normal state!)

That's why modern science is skeptical at best about Rhodiola and other putative adaptogens like red panax ginseng and ashwagandha - although the benefits of ginseng are increasingly recognized and appreciated by alternative health care practitioners today, more so than the benefits of Rhodiola rosea.

(Note: combination Rhodiola, ginseng, ashwagandha formulas are a great combined source of multiple powerful adaptogens for mental focus and stress coping without stimulants).

Rhodiola rosea comes from Siberia and is one of the best herbs for stress reduction and coping. During stressful times at my R&D job, I would take a Rhodiola herbal supplement in the morning and it would keep me fresh and focused for most of the day, without any of the side effects of stimulants.

When needed, I was able to take the supplement in the evenings as well and it did not affect my ability to sleep. However, on occasions when I was dealing with lack of sleep, Rhodiola supplementation was able to completely alleviate fatigue and sleepiness at work. I estimate it probably increased my productivity about 25%. Not huge, but significant.

Quality control is a big issue when trying to find a good herbal supplement, and it is no different with Rhodiola rosea extract. The only 100% reputable vendor I am aware of is MediHerb, an Australian company. In Australia, herbal supplements are taken very seriously and the industry is regulated as tightly as pharmaceuticals are in the U.S. Quality must be validated, and clinical effectiveness "proven" before any label claims can be made for a product.

MediHerb Rhodiola rosea extract is the only brand of the herbal supplement I fully trust and use regularly. However, they only sell their products through licensed health care practitioners (and the occasional ex-R&D researcher), which is how they maintain their reputation for high quality products that work.

However, other potentially reputable vendors include: Gaia Herbs, Planetary Formulas, and Vitabase (They have vegetarian capsules!).

Brain Toniq also manufactures an energy drink based on Rhodiola that is sugar- and caffeine-free. Caffeine and sugar are the main (short acting) energy drink ingredients in most popular brands of energy drinks, and they both increase the effects of stress on the long term. They also mess with metabolism on the short term (highs and crashes, with fluctuating blood sugar levels).

If energy drinks are your thing, I highly recommend giving Brain Toniq a try. It's completely different from anything else on the energy drink market.

Always do your HOMEWORK when it comes to using herbal supplements for health. Consult a licensed health care practitioner whenever possible.

Below I have provided some additional peer-reviewed clinical research articles to help you decide if Rhodiola rosea is right for you.


1. Rhodiola rosea - MONOGRAPH. (FREE FULL TEXT)
2. Rhodiola rosea: a possible plant adaptogen. (FREE FULL TEXT)
3. Experimental analysis of therapeutic properties of Rhodiola rosea L. and its possible application in medicine. (ABSTRACT ONLY)
4. Proof of the mysterious efficacy of ginseng: basic and clinical trials: clinical effects of medical ginseng, korean red ginseng: specifically, its anti-stress action for prevention of disease. (FREE FULL TEXT)
5. Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha): a review. (FREE FULL TEXT)


  1. Anna M.5/15/2010

    I love Rhodiola rosea. I've had such a change in my mental outlook, and my ability to get my work done (I'm a writer). Plus, stress just seems to roll off my back. I use a brand called Verde Botanica, because all they make is Rhodiola and major universities have selected them for studies. That product is aptly named (Mind, Body & Spirit). Thanks for opening the eyes to new people about Rhodiola!

    1. Anonymous3/11/2012

      thank you for your input! I have been looking for the right herb to help with my depression. i am taking celexa 20 mg right now and hate that I always feel so tired and have gained 30+ lbs from being on this. I am looking to get off of this medication and giving this brand a try, since i have heard so much good stuff about it. Have you experience any side effects from it? I also struggle with nightmares does this help that? Thank you so much. You can email if you would like Jessie4Jesus@live.com

  2. Thanks Anna! I appreciate that. Yes, there is a lot to be said for a brand that is being scientifically scrutinized. Are there any results yet? I will check out that product. Is this it? http://www.proactivebio.com/viewproduct.php?id_product=28

  3. Anonymous5/04/2011

    so did you write this article for the company?

  4. No. I wrote it because I like rhodiola and think it is a better alternative to stimulants.

  5. I wrote that long after I had already left the company. I still have some of their rhodiola though. Getting scarce.