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Ginseng vs Rhodiola – Which One Should You Take?

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So you’re ready to take your health to the next level.

Well, congratulations! You’re making a life changing decision that will benefit you for years to come.

Once your diet and exercise routine are nailed on, you’ll definitely benefit from taking some high-quality supplements.

No biggie, right?

Only issue is, there are SO many different supplements to pick from.

Capsules, powders, tablets, herbs, vitamins, you name it.

I understand it can be quite overwhelming, and tricky to know which one is the right fit for you.

And for that exact reason, I’ve created this Supplement Comparison Guide.

Today’s article features Ginseng vs Rhodiola.


Let’s get cracking!

What is Ginseng?

ginseng root

Ginseng is an ancient herb that’s been used for medicinal purposes and for improving well-being in Asian countries for over 2,000 years

A lot of the benefits that Ginseng has to offer are credited to phytochemicals called Ginsenosides which are located within the herb.

(To date, more than 30 different Ginsenosides have been discovered.)

Ginseng loosely translates to “essence of man” in Chinese and it’s one of the most popular herbal supplements used by American adults.

What is Rhodiola?

rhodiola rosea

Rhodiola, also known as roseroot, is an adaptogen that’s been used throughout history in many different countries, including Iceland, Sweden, France and Greece.

In fact, it’s believed to have been used by the Vikings to boost mental and physical endurance.

Today, it’s widely used as a supplement for its many health benefits.


Benefits of Ginseng

Ginseng helps lower inflammation

Inflammation can be a double-edged sword.

Acute inflammation occurs suddenly and sharply and helps speed up the healing process.

(For example, when you cut yourself.)

In this situation, inflammation is important as it signals that your body needs healed ASAP.

On the other hand, chronic inflammation builds up slowly and is the result of eating junk food, sleep deprivation, lack of exercise and other lifestyle factors like smoking.

This inflammation is the one you want to avoid as it’s been linked to many diseases including:

  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Leaky Gut
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Heart Disease

So, to reduce your risk of getting the diseases above, you should aim to reduce inflammation as much as possible.

And this is where Ginseng enters the picture.

Research has shown that Ginseng extract could help regulate tumor necrosis factor-alpha – a cytokine that plays an important role in inflammation.

Furthermore, a study of 18 male athletes investigated how Ginseng affects the inflammatory response to exercise.

The results showed that the Ginseng users had a significantly lower inflammatory response than the placebo users.

(Related reading: Best Magnesium Supplements For Inflammation)

Ginseng may improve the immune system

Cancer treatment has a lot of complications, including the loss of immune function.

But research has shown that Ginseng supplementation can massively improve this.

For example, a study investigated how Ginseng supplementation affected immune system markers in stomach cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

The results concluded that those who took Ginseng had better immune system markers than those who didn’t.

Another study had 20 stomach cancer patients who were recovering from surgery take 5.4g of daily Ginseng for 2 years.

(19 other patients in the study didn’t take Ginseng.)

At the end of the study, those who took Ginseng had a lower recurrence of symptoms and a significant improvement in immune function.

Ginseng may improve erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is often multi-factorial.

In other words, there are many different reasons why someone may suffer from ED.

One of these reasons is low levels of nitric oxide.

This is an important molecule used for blood vessel dilation and muscle relaxation, and research shows that Ginseng helps increase it.

Another potential cause of ED is oxidative stress in the blood vessels.

Thankfully, Ginseng can reduce this oxidative stress.

It’s pleasing to see that Ginseng has had promising results for ED in human studies too.

For example, a study found that Ginseng was twice as effective as ED medication for improving ED symptoms!

Ginseng may help boost cognitive function

Ginseng’s ability to improve mental performance and function has been demonstrated in many human studies.

For example, this study showed that 400mg of Ginseng each day for 8 days improved mental arithmetic and calmness.

Another study of 30 people investigated the effects of 200mg of daily Ginseng on mental performance.

After 4 weeks, the subjects showed improvement in mood, mental health and social functioning.

Benefits of Rhodiola

Rhodiola may lower stress

I like to call stress the silent killer.


Well, research shows that stress can increase chronic inflammation, and as mentioned earlier in the article, chronic inflammation increases your risk of many different diseases.

So, reducing stress is a great way to lower chronic inflammation.

Rhodiola acts as an adaptogen, meaning it helps increase your body’s resistance to stress.

A study of 118 people investigated how Rhodiola affects stress-related burnout.

The results showed that Rhodiola improved many related factors, including depression and stress.

Another study over 4 weeks had participants with stress take 400mg of daily Rhodiola.

After just 3 days, the participants had improvements in stress-related symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue and exhaustion.

Rhodiola may boost exercise performance

One of the lesser known benefits of Rhodiola is its ability to improve exercise performance.

In one study, participants were given either Rhodiola or a placebo before a six-mile simulated cycle race.

The results showed that the Rhodiola users finished the race significantly faster than those who took the placebo.

Another study had participants take either 200mg of Rhodiola or a placebo 2 hours before a cycling test.

The participants who were given Rhodiola were able to exercise for around 24 seconds longer than those who were given a placebo.

Rhodiola may help reduce fatigue

Fatigue can be brought on by many different things, including a poor diet, sleep deprivation and stress.

Thanks to its adaptogenic properties, Rhodiola may help fight fatigue.

A study of 100 people with chronic fatigue had the subjects take 400mg of daily Rhodiola for 8 weeks.

At the end of study, the subjects experienced significant improvements in mood, fatigue, concentration and quality of life.

Another 4-week study of 60 people with fatigue had participants take either 576mg of Rhodiola or a placebo each day.

The results showed that compared to the placebo, Rhodiola had a positive effect on the subjects’ fatigue levels.

Rhodiola may help boost cognitive function

Like Ginseng, Rhodiola is believed to help boost brain function.

In one study, students who supplemented with Rhodiola for 20 days experienced improved sleep, less mental fatigue and increased motivation.

Another study of 56 physicians working night shifts had them receive either 170mg of Rhodiola or a placebo daily for 2 weeks.

The results showed that the Rhodiola users had less mental fatigue and improved performance, compared to the placebo takers.


Ginseng Cost

Ginseng is usually sold in the form of capsules or slices.

Typical prices for these are:

  • Slices: $30 for 4 Oz
  • Capsules: $20 for 120

Rhodiola Cost

Rhodiola is typically sold in capsules. For a mid-range supplement, you can expect to pay around $18 for 60.

Side Effects

Ginseng Side Effects

Ginseng is generally well-tolerated, but some people have reported the following side effects:

  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Blood pressure fluctuations

Also, women may experience other side effects like breast tenderness and vaginal bleeding.

(Male privilege, right?)

Something else to bear in mind is Ginseng can interact poorly with other drugs/medication, so if you’re taking anything else, then please consult a doctor before using Ginseng.

Rhodiola Side Effects

Like Ginseng, Rhodiola is considered safe although some people have reported mild side effects, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Stomach upset

Also, those who are pregnant or nursing, or are taking prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitors should not take Rhodiola.


My Ginseng Recommendation: Wellbeing Formula Korean Ginseng

Korean Red Panax Ginseng

Click to see on Amazon


Wellbeing Formula Korean Ginseng gets my gold star.

With each bottle containing 180 capsules, this supplement will provide you with high-quality Ginseng for 3 months.

What I like about it

The 100s of excellent reviews shows that this is a trusted Ginseng supplement that’s used and loved by many other people.

Also, Wellbeing Formula only use Ginseng roots that contain a minimum of 5% ginsenosides, making this more potent than other Ginseng supplements.

(Ginsenosides are the compounds which provide the health benefits of Ginseng, remember?)

And as each bottle contains 180 capsules, this supplement will last you a long, long time.

Potential Drawbacks

This might just be me being fussy, but I’d like to see Wellbeing Formula be more specific when they label “Vegetable Capsule” as an ingredient.

‘Cause I don’t know about you, but I like to know exactly what I’m putting into my body.

Check price and read more reviews of Wellbeing Formula Korean Ginseng on Amazon.

My Rhodiola Recommendation: Gaia Herbs Rhodiola

Gaia Herbs Rhodiola Rosea

Click to see on Amazon


A top quality Rhodiola supplement with a reasonable price tag.

Gaia Herbs Rhodiola ticks all the boxes.

What I like about it

Gaia Herbs are king when it comes to providing the finest herbal supplements.

All of their supplements including this Rhodiola are screened for microbes, pesticides and heavy metals so you know you’re consuming a clean supplement free from any nasties.

Also, they’re one of the only supplement companies to provide full traceability for each product they sell.

In other words, when you buy one of their products, you can see how the herb was grown, where it originated and its level of potency and purity.

How cool is that?!

Another feature I love is that Gaia Herbs use liquid phyto-caps, meaning they convert their Rhodiola into a liquid extract before putting it in their capsules.

This is an awesome feature as it allows for easy absorption in the body and is super concentrated.

Potential Drawbacks

Although the price tag is very fair (considering just how good of a supplement this is), it’s not the cheapest option out there.

So those who value price over quality may want to look elsewhere.

Check price and read more reviews of Gaia Herbs Rhodiola on Amazon.

Ginseng vs Rhodiola: The Verdict

Well, thanks a bunch for staying with me to the end of this Ginseng vs Rhodiola breakdown.

These are both fantastic supplements, and either would make a great choice.

I hope that most of you have already decided on which one you’re gonna use, but if not, then here’s what I’d recommend:

You might prefer Ginseng if:

  • You want to reduce inflammation
  • You suffer from Erectile Dysfunction
  • You want a stronger immune system

You might prefer Rhodiola if:

  • You want to reduce fatigue
  • You want to lower your stress levels
  • You want to improve exercise performance

Hope this helped!

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