Rhodiola Vs Ginseng. Which Can Help You Be More Active?

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 The roots of Ginseng and Rhodiola are the primary sources of the medicinal properties of these plants.  

The two plants are growing in different conditions yet have very comparable effects on our bodies, particularly when it comes to physical and mental stress control.  

Rhodiola vs Ginseng 

This article compares Rhodiola vs Ginseng to find out how supplementing these two nootropics might improve your physical performance, relieve fatigue, and help you be more active.  

Rhodiola, Grown For Survivors   

William Blake, the English poet, once said that  ” Great things are done when men and mountains meet..”, that is very true when we consider Rhodiola and its use for humans.  

The roots of Rhodiola have been used in traditional medicine for healing anxiety and depression

For centuries, Russians and Scandinavians have been using Rhodiola to overcome harsh weather and stress. People have been growing and using it in the cold arctic and remote mountainous regions throughout Europe, Asia, and North America [1].   

Rhodiola is a relatively rare herb with a high medicinal value that can originate from its natural growth in extreme conditions and high altitudes.  

rhodiola vs ginseng

The scientific name “Rhodiola Rosea” is used to describe Rhodiola's roots. Its extract is used in many dietary supplements. Regular consumers and athletes across Europe, Asia, and the United States are using Rhodiola with hopes to enhance their natural body resistance to both physical and psychological stresses [1].  

Ginseng, A Chinese Whisper For Good Mood And Fatigue Relief

On the other hand, Ginseng is well-known in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) due to its rich pharmacologic properties.  

The herb is taken from the Panax plants that are commonly cultivated in Far East Asia and North America [2].  

Only the American Ginseng (AG), the Chinese Ginseng, and the Korean Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) are nowadays commercially distributed. They come in three different forms; green fresh non-dried Ginseng, white sun-dried Ginseng, or the famous red steamed Ginseng.   

Supplements, tea, and herbs containing Ginseng are used for modulating mood disorders, treating depression, and enhancing body resistance to stress [2]. 

Improved Vascular Health And Fatigue Resistance  

Physical activities become more challenging as we age.   

Prolonged fatigue and shorter endurance are symptoms of aging and poor vascular health. It can be improved by a healthy diet. Rhodiola and Ginseng extracts have been shown effective in improving vascular health, delaying the perception of fatigue, and speeding up physical recovery.  


It sounds very reasonable for a plant favored by people living in mountains that it is useful for fatigue relief and improves physical agility, those who need it the most.  

Especially in cases of people with stress-related fatigue, using Rhodiola Rosea tablets has a significant anti-fatigue effect.   

Rhodiola extract can suppress symptoms of fatigue and decrease cortisol secretion in response to stress in burnout patients.   

The study that suggested these effects has included a mixed age and gender group of 60 participants who have been given either a 567 mg (4 tablets) Rhodiola extract every day or a placebo. 

The effects of Rhodiola were assessed against Pines' burnout scale, Montogomery-Asberg depression rating scale, and other tests measuring symptoms of fatigue, depression, and attention. Data gathered and analyzed from the experiment have shown that the fatigue symptoms improved significantly with Rhodiola tablets compared to placebo [3]. 

People who show chronic fatigue symptoms could experience improvements already within eight weeks of using R. Rosea supplements (two 200 mg extract tablets).   

In another experiment, which included 100 patients with prolonged fatigue, the administration of a dry ethanol extract of Rhodiola effectively treated fatigue symptoms from the first week and over two months with only mild adverse effects [4].  


Research suggests multiple health benefits for the American Ginseng, particularly in preventing and treating mental and vascular disorders. 

Ginsenosides are the active chemical compounds in Ginseng species. They are responsible for giving Ginseng its anti-inflammatory and anti-depressive properties. Studies associated it with the induced cardioprtoective, muscle relaxative, and antipsychotic effects of Ginseng [5].  

The Korean red Ginseng can relieve fatigue, enhance blood circulation, and reduce oxidative stress, as reported in several clinical studies [2].  

Its significant cardioprotective and antioxidant effects, suggest that it can prevent heart attacks by inhibiting clot formation and reducing harmful cholesterol levels [6].  

Enhanced Physical Performance 


As Rholidoa has shown potential in easing fatigue, it was only logical to assume and investigate its positive impact on boosting physical performance.  

Could you improve physical capacity and muscle strength by taking Rhodiola supplements?  

The question was answered in a double-blind placebo-controlled study performed on 24 subjects.  

200-mg of Rhodiola Rosea extract helped participants reach improved endurance, quicker limp movements, and higher exercising capacities. Subjects of the experiment showed sustainable responses over a four-week of daily intakes [7].    

Another study confirmed these results. It claimed that using acute ingestion of 3mg per 1kg body mass of Rhodiola decreased the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) without changes in energy expenditure [8].  

That means that Rhodiola has helped participants perceive less fatigue while doing the same activities, which could be correlated to a decreased actual heart rate during exercises compared to placebo [9]. 

A similar study also suggested comparable results, including 15 cyclists, who also showed improved endurance and decreased heart rate response to physical exercises under acute doses of Rhodiola extracts [10].  


It is no surprise that the one particular Ginseng type that has shown significant potential in improving exercise performance grows at elevations higher than 2000 m.  

In Northern Asia, over the Changbai mountain range that extends from Northern China to North Korea grows the Changabi Mountain Ginseng (CMG).  

rhodiola vs ginseng

Supplements made from extracts of CMG can increase muscle mass, improve exercise endurance, and decrease fatigue symptoms. The study from 2017 linked the effect to significantly reduced total creatinine and triacylglycerol, total protein, and glucose levels during the CMG treatment [11].  

Mechanisms of Panax Ginseng can regulate carbohydrate metabolism and delay the accumulation of metabolites that follow intensive exercises.  

The study showed that Ginseng could significantly increase swimming time in mice and decrease blood lactate and dopamine levels in brain tissue.  

Therefore, findings suggest that Ginseng's extracts can achieve greater physical performance with late fatigue perception [12].  

Rhodiola Vs Ginseng: Summing Up 

While comparing Ginseng vs Caffeine, we have observed a relative advantage of Ginseng when it comes to safe long-term effects in treating depression, improving mood, and body immunity.  

We learned in this review that Rhodiola might have an advantage over Ginseng when it comes to boosting physical performance and exercise recovery.  

Using Rhodiola helped in enduring extended exercises, easing limb movements, and managing intense physical training. Some types of Ginseng, like these grown on mountains, can have similar physical performance-improving effects. Reasonable doses of Rhodiola and Ginseng showed potential to speed up muscle recovery and to treat chronic fatigue.    



Al Feky