energy

Featured in mindbodygreen: Rhodiola Rosea: Everything You Need To Know About The Stress-Fighting, Sleep-Boosting Adaptogen

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These days, it can feel like everything comes with a side of adaptogens. From superfood chocolate to functional elixirs and beyond, herb-based medicines are easier to come by than ever.

And one adaptogen you're likely to see more of is Rhodiola rosea, a flowering plant whose root can be used for fighting stress and anxiety, increasing athletic performance, boosting energy, and more. Also known as golden root, arctic root, and King's crown, it has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Greek medicine—and its beginnings may stem back as early as the first century A.D.

As someone who has spent the past year and a half moving away from pharmaceuticals as much as possible (while understanding, appreciating, and utilizing them when needed!) and gravitating toward plant -and food-based medicine, I love exploring the uses and benefits of adaptogens and herbs. And Rhodiola rosea is a powerhouse that I keep in my herbal arsenal.

Let's take a look at the benefits and side effects of this adaptogen to help you see if it's the right thing to mix into your morning coffee (or matcha, or herbal tea, or smoothie...). Because while adaptogens are increasing in popularity, it's important to make educated and informed decisions about the ones you should actually be taking:

So, what are the benefits of taking Rhodiola rosea?

There are many reported benefits of Rhodiola rosea, some of which have been studied more than others. Here are a handful that are backed up by science:

It helps regulate stress.

First and foremost, Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen, so by definition it helps your body adapt to stress. These super herbs can adapt to what your body needs—whether it be a boost of energy when you're fatigued or a way to calm anxiety in stressful situations—and help regulate your cortisol levels to stave off fatigue. "Adaptogens are one of my favorite natural healing tools to use in my functional medicine clinic. I often recommend Rhodiola for patients who are severely stressed and anyone struggling with adrenal fatigue as it works to support your sympathetic nervous system—the stress control center of your body," shares Will Cole D.C., IFMCP, an author and functional medicine practitioner.

It increases energy and fights fatigue.

One of the foremost reasons individuals choose to take Rhodiola rosea is for its energy-boosting and fatigue-fighting properties. According to one study that followed nursing students working shifts, Rhodiola rosea helped reduce their fatigue levels more than a placebo. Rhodiola rosea has also been shown to be beneficial for brain function and concentration. Another clinical trial showed that participants who took Rhodiola rosea every morning were more capable of fighting burnout and maintaining concentration throughout the day.

It can boost physical activity.

Due to its energy-boosting abilities, Rhodiola rosea is often used by endurance athletes. One clinical study that followed young, healthy individuals who took Rhodiola rosea daily for four weeks showed an increased endurance during exercise, and the adaptogen has even been shown to act as an antiviral during prolonged physical activitysuch as marathon running, meaning it makes athletes less susceptible to infection. It's not just for super-athletes either.

"Rhodiola can be really effective for people who are consistently physically active. Athletes, yes, but also any of us who stand for much of the day, walk a ton, lift, or the like," explained Rachelle Robinett, a holistic health practitioner and founder of Supernatural. "As an adaptogen, it's been pretty well-studied in physical (and mental) performance, and if it's the right herb for you, you should see better performance times or cognitive function, and recovery from physical exertion too."

So before you hit the gym, go for a run, or hike up that mountain, consider a dose of Rhodiola rosea for some extra support.

It might help fight depression.

The adaptogen has also been studied in regards to supporting individuals struggling with depression. Compared to Sertraline, a pharmaceutical antidepressant (you may know it under the name Zoloft), Rhodiola rosea was found to be less effective at treating symptoms, but it had fewer side effects like nausea and drowsiness. The study concluded it to be a potentially better option for those with mild to moderate depression who want to mitigate the risk of such side effects.

The laundry list of other potential Rhodiola rosea benefits in early research stages includes fighting diabetes, fighting cancer, preventing altitude sickness, and more.

That sounds awesome! I should definitely take it then, right?

Adaptogens are widely considered to be safe and low-risk, but there are certainly some things to keep in mind before taking them on the daily. Rhodiola rosea side effects are rather limited, but a small group of participants in one study showed mild side effects such as headaches and insomnia. "Rhodiola can be over-energizing, but in lower doses this can turn into a calming effect," explained Robinett. So you should consider taking Rhodiola in the morning, but be cautious if you are already a hyper-energized or anxious person.

Rhodiola rosea side effects have also included dry mouth and dizziness. If you feel these effects or any general discomfort after taking Rhodiola rosea, stop taking it. There may be an herb that provides similar benefits that your body is more welcoming to.

You should avoid experimenting with Rhodiola rosea if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking mood stabilizers. It is always optimal to consult with a doctor, herbalist, or naturopath when considering which herbs and adaptogens are right for you.

OK, I want to try it! How much do I take and in what form?

It's important to note that adaptogens generally work in your body over time, so try to work them into your daily routine for optimal benefits. If you want, you can take the occasional break to see if the herbs are really working.

Rhodiola rosea comes in several forms—powder, tincture, extract, and pills. "I love the powder, because I get to smell it, taste it, and see the dusty-pink color. But for convenience, tinctures are also great," Robinett explains. Personally, I take it in tincture form, which I throw in water or into a morning elixir.

As for dosage, smart small and work your way up. Robinett advises "One-eighth teaspoon per day to start, if using a powder standardized at ~3 percent salidosides, for example, which is then increased slowly to find the sweet spot. For most, if it's the right herb for you, that tends to be between 100 and 400 milligrams per day. If you're not seeing benefits there, it may be worth exploring other options."

If you have a local herb shop, the herbalists may be able to provide specific dosing for your needs or make you a blend with other herbs that would be relevant to what symptoms you are experiencing.

You also want to make sure Rhodiola rosea (and any other herbal supplements you're taking!) come from a trusted source. Look for third-party certifications from the brands you are purchasing such as the USP or NSF seal to make sure you're taking the adaptogen in its pure form.

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This post appears originally on mindbodygreen, here.

Quantum Physics & Reality 101. Amen.

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This isn't yet my notes from The Field (the book and the as a matter of speaking), but I wanted to share because it's such a succinct explanation of what I've been reading (devouring) for the last year+. Gospel as far as I'm concerned. Enjoy.

Physicists have proven beyond doubt that the physical world is one large sea of energy that flashes into and out of being in milliseconds, over and over again.

Nothing is solid. This is the world of Quantum Physics.

They have proven that thoughts are what put together and hold together this ever-changing energy field into the ‘objects’ that we see.

So why do we see a person instead of a flashing cluster of energy?

Think of a movie reel. A movie is a collection of about 24 frames a second. Each frame is separated by a gap. However, because of the speed at which one frame replaces another, our eyes get cheated into thinking that we see a continuous and moving picture.

A TV tube is simply a tube with heaps of electrons hitting the screen in a certain way, creating the illusion of form and motion.

This is what all objects are anyway. You have 5 physical senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste).

Each of these senses has a specific spectrum (for example, a dog hears a different range of sound than you do; a snake sees a different spectrum of light than you do; and so on).

In other words, your set of senses perceives the sea of energy from a certain limited standpoint and makes up an image from that. It is not complete, nor is it accurate. It is just an interpretation.

All of our interpretations are solely based on the ‘internal map’ of reality that we have, and not the real truth. Our ‘map’ is a result of our personal life’s collective experiences.

Our thoughts are linked to this invisible energy and they determine what the energy forms. Your thoughts shift the universe on a particle-by-particle basis to create your physical life.

Look around you.

Everything you see in our physical world started as an idea, an idea that grew as it was shared and expressed, until it grew enough into a physical object through a number of steps.

You become what you think about most. Your life becomes what you have imagined and believed in most.

The world is your mirror, enabling you to experience in the physical plane what you hold as your truth … until you change it.

Quantum physics shows us that the world is not the hard and unchangeable thing it may appear to be. Instead, it is a very fluid place continuously built up using our individual and collective thoughts.

What we think is true is really an illusion.

Fortunately we have begun to uncover the illusion and most importantly, how to change it.

What is your body made of?

Nine systems comprise the human body including Circulatory, Digestive, Endocrine, Muscular, Nervous, Reproductive, Respiratory, Skeletal, and Urinary.

What are those made up of?

Tissues and organs.

What are tissues and organs made of?

Cells.

What are cells made of?

Molecules.

What are molecules made of?

Atoms.

What are atoms made of?

Sub-atomic particles.

What are subatomic particles made of?

Energy.

We are pure energy-light in its most beautiful and intelligent configuration. Energy that is constantly changing beneath the surface and you control it all with your powerful mind.

You are made up of a cluster of ever-changing energy in the form of electrons, neutrons, photons and so on. So is everything else around you.

Quantum physics tells us that it is the act of observing an object that causes it to be there where and how we observe it. An object does not exist independently of its observer. So, as you can see, your observation, your attention to something, and your intention, literally creates that thing.

Your world is made of spirit, mind and body.

Each of those three, spirit, mind and body, has a function that is unique to it and not shared with the other. What you see with your eyes and experience with your body is the physical world, which we shall call Body. Body is an effect, created by a cause.

This cause is Thought.

Body cannot create. It can only experience and be experienced … that is its unique function.

Thought cannot experience … it can only make up, create and interpret. It needs a world of relativity (the physical world, Body) to experience itself.

Spirit is All That Is, that which gives Life to Thought and Body.

Body has no power to create, although it gives the illusion of power to do so. This illusion is the cause of much frustration. Body is purely an effect and has no power to cause or create.

The key with all of this information is how do you learn to see the universe differently than you do now so that you can manifest what you truly desire.

Slightly adapted from: The Mind Unleashed: Quantum Reality: The Limitless Potential Within Everything