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Rhodiola and Ashwagandha Together

Some things just go together better. Taking the most popular adaptogen herbs, Rhodiola and Ashwagandha together provide benefits that considerably beyond the benefits of either herb alone.

Key Takeaways

  • Both Rhodiola and Ashwagandha have a long list of health benefits
  • Benefits of Rhodiola and Ashwagandha dosage have been shown between 100-600mg per day
  • The two herbs work well together but can be side effects in some people

A class of herbs called adaptogens has been used in traditional medicine for millennia. Now, these herbs are growing in popularity again in the modern age.

Rhodiola and ashwagandha are two of the most popular herb types. Surprisingly, although these plants grow in very different areas and climates, they work together exceptionally well.

Ashwagandha and Rhodiola have very similar properties, but they are not identical. Although they can easily be combined, and their minor differences complement each other well, there are times when a combination is best and times when it is not.

Learn the similarities between the effects of the two and their differences, and the similarities and differences between either alone and the two combined, to decide which option better fits your needs.

There are a lot of questions to ask when first learning about these plants and the answers are usually complex and nuanced.

Especially when it comes to interactions with other medicines, you should make sure to talk to your doctor, but certainly also do your own research as well.

The amount of possible information is overwhelming, so we hope that you find this article helpful and informative!

What is Rhodiola?

Rhodiola and Ashwagandha Together

Rhodiola Rosea is a plant used in traditional herbal medicine. It grows best and most vibrantly in the colder regions of Asia and Europe. It’s also known as the Arctic root since it grows in cold climates, and only the root of it is used for traditional medicine.

In doses ranging from 100 to 600 mg, Rhodiola is used as a supplement for many reasons. It affects anxiety, blood pressure, blood sugar, and the immune system.

Rhodiola gives a calm feeling that improves anxiety and increases energy as well. It lowers blood sugar and blood pressure and bolsters the immune system.

All of these traits are good, but combining the herb with some medications can cause problems. There may also sometimes be interactions with conditions, like some autoimmune diseases.

For example, taking Rhodiola alongside blood pressure medication can cause blood pressure to drop dangerously low; taking it with immunosuppressants, such as after a transplant, can undo some of the effects.

On top of that, Rhodiola has a very strong reaction with the MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) class of antidepressants. You should talk to your doctor about all potential interactions before taking a Rhodiola supplement, especially if you take several medications or if you already take any medicines with similar effects to those Rhodiola causes.

Rhodiola might also not be a good idea for people with autoimmune diseases because you could be strengthening the immune system that is already attacking your body.

On top of that, Rhodiola should never be taken while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Outside of these interactions, there are a few other side effects. Headaches, drowsiness, nausea, and dizziness can happen, but they are relatively rare.

What is Ashwagandha?

ashwagandha plant

Ashwagandha, also called winter cherry, grows largely in India. It has very similar effects to Rhodiola. They both work well at soothing anxiety, supporting the immune system, and lowering blood pressure.

Unfortunately, the two have similar side effects, like nausea, headaches, dizziness, and drowsiness. Even the dosage is similar, between 100 and 600 mg, usually around 500 for the most benefit. But the two are not identical to each other’s effects.

Ashwagandha has been shown to be more soothing and calming than Rhodiola, while Rhodiola gives more energy. Ashwagandha is also excellent for stress and reduces swelling and inflammation. One of the best uses is to take it right before you go to bed for better, faster sleep.

Ashwagandha is also, similar to Rhodiola, not safe for pregnancy or breastfeeding. It interacts with immune drugs and immune diseases. Unlike Rhodiola, it also can interact with anesthesia for surgery.

It slows down the nervous system a little bit, and so does anesthesia. Anesthesia is always a delicate balance between too much and too little; taking ashwagandha too close can tip that balance toward too much. Doctors recommend not to take any within two weeks of surgery.

Ashwagandha also interacts with the thyroid system, which means that any thyroid condition could have unforeseen interactions with ashwagandha–exactly what it does is unclear and not well studied.

When it comes to Rhodiola vs. ashwagandha, Rhodiola seems to have fewer interactions, although you should talk to a doctor about either.

What Are the Advantages of Adaptogenic Herbs?

adaptogenic herbs

Adaptogens are potent and useful compounds, and herbs that contain these compounds can be wonderful for your health in many ways.

The name “adaptogens” comes because, as it suggests, they adapt. As a result, they can serve multiple seemingly opposite functions in the body. That’s why they’re so good at, for example, managing stress.

Cortisol, the hormone most associated with stress, can easily grow to unmanageable levels. If cortisol levels are high, adaptogens will decrease them. However, suppose someone has a problem leading them to produce insufficient amounts of cortisol (chronic fatigue is most likely to cause this).

In that case, adaptogens will increase the amount of cortisol in the body. They adapt; they keep things in balance. Not too high, not too low. Because they keep your cortisol levels in balance and can calm stress and impart energy.

None of the various adaptogens can do everything. That’s why there are warnings about Rhodiola and ashwagandha decreasing your blood pressure too much, but not warnings about cortisol because they can balance those levels better than they can balance blood pressure.

This is because adaptogens can’t balance the levels of every compound in the body; they can only adapt to some things, not to everything.

There are many other adaptogens besides Rhodiola and ashwagandha. A few others are ginseng and eleuthero. The number of possible combinations is also huge, so do your research if you’re looking at any combination of them.

Should You Combine Rhodiola and Ashwagandha?

Many supplements include both Ashwagandha and Rhodiola (our Supergreen Tonik is one example). Still, it’s important to note that only a few studies have come back on each of them separately, and practically none on Rhodiola and ashwagandha together.

This is because the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements, so research requirements are lighter than prescription drugs, which would never come to market without excruciatingly intensive testing. With that in mind, here’s what we do know about combining Rhodiola and ashwagandha.

Rhodiola has a little bit more of an energizing effect, and ashwagandha is a little more calming, so the two of them work very well together to create a more level, stable kind of energy that lasts longer. They also boost each other’s stress relief and inflammation calming traits for a stronger, more balanced herbal supplement.

Holding supergreen tonik

It’s definitely best to take a supplement containing both adaptogens than to take the two separately. If you take one Rhodiola supplement, the dosage will be designed for people only taking a Rhodiola supplement.

If you take one ashwagandha supplement, the same thing applies. If you take one of each, you may be getting more of them than you should if they were combined.

If, on the other hand, you take a supplement with Rhodiola and ashwagandha together, the dosage will be calculated for the two of them being together.

Otherwise, the two of them together might be too much of the effect you’re looking for–just like either one might be too much when combined with a medicine lowering blood pressure. So overall, taking a combined supplement is definitely the best course of action.

It may also be a good idea to try them each alone for a short time before taking a combination. This will allow you to discover if you experience some rare side effects these plants have.

For example, if you find out you get headaches when taking ashwagandha but not Rhodiola, then you should stick to a plain Rhodiola supplement.

But if you had taken a supplement with the two of them together, you would have noticed that it gave you headaches, and you wouldn’t know that the problem could be solved by just taking Rhodiola alone.

Even worse, if you discover that Rhodiola made you dizzy and ashwagandha made you drowsy, you might decide that one of those effects was worth it, but you wouldn’t want to have both, which you would have if you tried the combined supplement.

So it may be worth checking both for side effects before taking them together or if you find that you have side effects from the combination.

Rhodiola and Ashwagandha Together

Final Thoughts

Rhodiola and Ashwagandha are very similar plants, but there are some crucial differences that you need to take into account.

Make sure to watch out for drug interactions if you’re taking either, and especially if you’re taking both.

They’re great on their own and even better together; just make sure to take a combined supplement so you aren’t getting a dangerously high dosage.

It might also be a good idea to check each individual plant for side effects before trying them together.

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Christine VanDoren, NSCA, ACE Nutritionist
Christine VanDoren, NSCA, ACE Nutritionist

Christine VanDoren is an NSCA-certified personal trainer and ACE nutritionist, she started spending her time training in the gym and online. She spends her time working to be better, and in turn, hopes to help others better themselves too.

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