Whats The Difference Between Rhodiola vs Ashwagandha?

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    Two of the most natural remedies for stress are Rhodiola and Ashwagandha. Let’s compare the two supplements and uncover what distinguishes them.

    When it comes to natural remedies for occasional stress and fatigue, two of the most popular options are rhodiola and ashwagandha. Originally used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, these herbs have become increasingly popular as alternative treatments for increasing energy levels, improving mental performance, and alleviating stress. In this article we will compare the effects of rhodiola and ashwagandha, outlining their respective benefits and drawbacks.

    What Is The Difference Between Rhodiola and Ashwagandha?

    Rhodiola and ashwagandha are both adaptogens with a range of potential benefits. Adaptogens are plants and mushrooms that help your body better respond to stress and promote overall well-being. While both rhodiola and ashwagandha have many similarities, they also have unique differences.
    Rhodiola is found in cold climates on mountaintops and is also known as arctic or golden root. Rhodiola is typically used for its ability to help with boosting mood, energy levels, and sports performance.

    Conversely, ashwagandha powder is derived from the root of the Withania somnifera plant, which is found in India, Africa, and parts of the Middle East. It is generally used to alleviate occasional stress, reduce food cravings, and help balance hormones.

    Can you take them together?

    Because taking two adaptogens at once can cause overstimulation, we advise against taking ashwagandha and rhodiola together. Instead, we recommend taking one at a time. However, some people do take both together without any issues.

    Benefits of Ashwagandha

    As a traditional medicinal herb with a variety of benefits, today ashwagandha has gained popularity as an herbal supplement with a range of uses, including as an aid to stress management, hormonal imbalances, and uncurbed food cravings.

    Reduces occasional stress

    Ashwagandha is known for its use in relieving occasional stress. Findings from this study show that ashwagandha supplementation can support stressed, healthy adults.

    Another study found that supplementation with ashwagandha can help manage cortisol levels. Cortisol, released as a result of fear or stress, has been dubbed “the stress hormone” for this reason.

    Ashwagandha’s calming properties can help reduce food cravings associated with stress. In one clinical study, subjects taking ashwagandha showed significant reductions in scores on the Food Cravings Questionnaire, a commonly used measure of food cravings.

    Helps balance hormones

    Ashwagandha is becoming increasingly popular in the West as a natural way of promoting sexual health. Recent research suggests its ability to influence and regulate hormones in the body. Many people are turning to ashwagandha as an alternative solution for hormone imbalance-related issues such as low libido and premenstrual syndrome.

    A 2015 study showed that women who took ashwagandha over an 8-week period saw significant improvements with orgasms, arousal, and satisfaction.* Clinical studies have also shown the positive impact ashwagandha has on men, supporting healthy testosterone levels. Ashwagandha supports men and women in different ways but provides both with improved sexual function.*

    Potential Side Effects Of Ashwagandha

    Supplementing with ashwagandha is considered safe. Side effects are uncommon and have not been clearly defined. Based on clinical research large doses may cause gastrointestinal upset in rare cases. Although side effects are rare, little is known about whether it is safe to use ashwagandha during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. So supplementing with this herb during those times should be avoided.

    Benefits of Rhodiola

    Rhodiola (also known as Rhodiola rosea) is a powerful adaptogenic herb that has been used for centuries in traditional Eastern medicine. Rhodiola is an herb that grows naturally in cold climates like Russia, Scandinavia, China, and Canada. The root of the plant contains active compounds called rosavins and salidrosides that are thought to be responsible for their therapeutic effects.

    Studies have shown that rhodiola can help elevate a person’s mood by promoting a sense of calmness and well-being, while also enhancing mental energy and focus. This makes it ideal for people who experience occasional stress or who need help staying focused throughout the day.

    Helps with mood

    Research has found that rhodiola can support healthy responses to stress. This study shows that rhodiola supplementation can result in an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental performance, particularly the ability to concentrate, and decreases cortisol response to awakening stress in those who are experiencing burnout or fatigue.

    Many clinical studies point to rhodiola’s benefits for concentration and cognition. This study demonstrated improved mental capacity after supplementation with rhodiola using the antifatigue index.

    Increases energy

    Rhodiola is quickly becoming a popular tool for increasing energy levels and aiding in improved physical performance. This root has been used for centuries to help fight fatigue and improve physical endurance.

    This study suggests that rhodiola can help manage burnout symptoms. Participants were given 400mg of rhodiola daily over a period of 12 weeks. Promisingly enough, considerable changes were detected within one week of supplementation!

    Research on rhodiola has recently shifted to sports nutrition. Some studies have shown that Rhodiola supports endurance and recovery after exercise.* In this study, healthy participants took 100mg of rhodiola per day, and saw improvements in VO2 max as well as their exhaustion thresholds V in just four weeks.

    Potential Side Effects Of Rhodiola

    Rhodiola is generally safe and side effects, if any, are mild. The most common side effects include:

    • Dizziness
    • Dry mouth or excessive saliva production

    Although side effects are rare, little is known about whether it is safe to use rhodiola during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

    Which One Is Right For You?

    When it comes to herbal supplements, rhodiola and ashwagandha are two of the most popular.

    Rhodiola has long been used traditionally to boost energy and enhance physical performance. Ashwagandha, on the other hand, helps balance hormones in the body, reduces cravings, and improves stress responses.

    Choosing between rhodiola and ashwagandha comes down to your own personal health goals. You want to make sure the source that you are purchasing from is 3rd party tested, non-GMO, C.L.E.A.N certified, has no additional fillers or unnecessary ingredients, and acknowledges your dietary preferences. Care/of’s rhodiola and ashwagandha are both gluten-free and vegan. Take our quiz to find out which one best suits your health goals!

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Jordana Tobelem, RD
    Freelance Contributor
    Jordana Tobelem is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys helping others become the best versions of themselves through proper nutrition education. Jordana is passionate about promoting lifestyle changes through nutrition, physical activity, and behavior to create a superior quality of life. She uses her experience in the clinical field of dietetics to provide consulting services to an array of healthcare brands and companies. Jordana loves finding the most current research in nutrition to create meaningful content to share with her clients. Jordana has been a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2018 and also holds certifications in both Personal Training and Health Coaching.