Natural Adaptogens

Ashwagandha vs. Rhodiola Rosea - Which One Is Best For You?

November 19, 2022

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Ashwagandha and Rhodiola Rosea are herbal supplements for similar reasons, like decreasing stress and anxiety and helping with depression.

However, they work in unique ways, each with its benefits. Both looked promising to me, and I decided to try them out and share that experience in this article.

This article will contain everything you need to know to decide whether to give Ashwagandha or Rhodiola Rosea a shot.

I’ll discuss Ashwagandha vs. Rhodiola Rosea on the following topics:

  • Practical information about Ashwagandha
  • Practical information about Rhodiola Rosea
  • My experience with Ashwagandha
  • My experience with Rhodiola Rosea
  • Who wins in Ashwagandha vs. Rhodiola Rosea?

In the practical information, I’ll discuss what the compound is, how it works, if it’s safe (who should avoid it), the (possible) benefits, and (possible) side effects.

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Practical Information on Ashwagandha
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Practical information about Ashwagandha

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a herbal supplement that can reduce stress, improve sleep quality, and positively affect testosterone production.

It’s made from a green shrub tree and can be found in parts of Asia and Africa.

The active ingredients in Ashwagandha are the withanolides.

There are three high-quality categories of Ashwagandha supplements available.

The Ashwagandha supplements I like best are from Nootropics Depot. I’ll put a link after the information to an in-depth review for each.

  • KSM-66 Ashwagandha has been deemed the king of full-spectrum Ashwagandha supplements (around 5% withanolides). Review.
  • Sensoril Ashwagandha is especially great for balancing stress levels and supporting a healthy sleep pattern because it’s higher in Glycowithanolides (around 10% withanolides). Review.
  • Shoden Ashwagandha is a relatively new and highly purified full-spectrum Ashwagandha supplement (around 35% withanolides). Review.

How does Ashwagandha work?

Ashwagandha is a classified adaptogen that can help us handle stress better.

Taking it at night can help calm the body and reduce anxiety, improving sleep quality.

Ashwagandha can also positively affect testosterone by increasing the production of the luteinizing hormone. This hormone triggers testosterone production and supports our reproductive system.

Is Ashwagandha safe, and who should avoid it?

Ashwagandha supplements are non-toxic and safe to consume for most healthy adults.

Ashwagandha should be avoided by people with certain medical conditions, such as autoimmune disease, diabetes, low or high blood pressure, thyroid disorders, or stomach ulcers.

Ashwagandha is also best avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women.

What are the benefits of Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha can help with:

  • Handling stress
  • Improving the quality of sleep
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Boosting testosterone (thus improving muscle/ strength/ sexual desires/ mood/ body composition/ etc.)

What are the side effects of Ashwagandha?

In some uncommon cases, it may cause drowsiness, nausea, an upset stomach, diarrhea, or allergies.

More research is needed to pin down every possible side effect.

Practical Information on Rhodiola Rosea
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Practical information about Rhodiola Rosea

What is Rhodiola Rosea?

Rhodiola Rosea (Arctic Root, Golden Root, Roseroot) is a herb used for centuries to treat anxiety, fatigue, and depression.

Besides this, it has also increased productivity and made people more resistant to work-related mental stress.

It can be found in the high, cold mountain regions of Asia and Europe.

The active ingredients are Rosavin and Salidroside, so herbal supplements containing Rhodiola Rosea are standardized to one or both.

“Rumor goes Vikings have used Rhodiola Rosea for strength and vitality.”

How does Rhodiola Rosea work?

Rhodiola Rosea is a classified adaptogen, a group of herbs that can help us deal with stress better.

This herb has a wide variety of positive reactions in our bodies, including stimulating the production of neurotransmitters like Dopamine and Serotonin.

It also supports the creation and repair of new neurons in the brain, called neurogenesis.

Furthermore, Rhodiola plays a role in ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) synthesis, which is the primary energy source of our muscles.

It has the potential to benefit our lives by influencing many pathways.

Is Rhodiola Rosea safe, and who should avoid it?

Rhodiola Rosea has been safely used in clinical studies in 100-600 mg dosages daily for up to 12 weeks. Dosages up to 1,500 mg have been used as well.

Longer durations are likely safe, but clinical studies haven’t gone beyond 12 weeks. Daily use shouldn’t cause issues.

Most herbal supplements containing Rhodiola Rosea range between 100-500 mg. Effectivity depends on the percentage of Rosavin and Salidroside the supplement is standardized.

A supplement standardized to a minimum of 3% Rosavins and 1% Salidroside might be optimal for maximal effectiveness since this is the ratio found in the herb’s root.

You should avoid supplementing Rhodiola Rosea if you are pregnant or nursing, taking medication for diabetes, or when taking prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

The latter is vital because Rhodiola Rosea is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor itself.

What are the benefits of Rhodiola Rosea?

Rhodiola Rosea may help with:

  • Decreasing stress (cortisol) and anxiety
  • Help against depression
  • Feeling less tired during the day
  • Improve cognitive abilities like memory and learning
  • A better mood
  • Exercise performance and increasing muscle strength
  • Overall health

What are the side effects of Rhodiola Rosea?

The possible side effects of Rhodiola Rosea are mild and uncommon:

  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • In rare cases, dizziness or headaches
  • Irritability
  • Allergy
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia (if taken before bedtime)
My experience with Ashwagandha
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My experience with Ashwagandha

I’ve been taking Ashwagandha (mainly KSM-66) daily for years. It’s one of my all-time favorite supplements because the benefits for me are numerous.

I take 600 mg of Ashwagandha KSM-66 within 2 hours before sleep.

Supplementing Ashwagandha has dramatically decreased my stress and anxiety, and I can take on life more confidently. My sleep quality improved because I fell asleep faster and slept noticeably deeper.

I also experienced testosterone-related benefits, such as more energy, better sexual health, faster results in the gym, etc.

My testosterone levels have improved slightly from Ashwagandha, but not nearly as much as from taking Tongkat Ali (you can read about it here).

My experience with Rhodiola Rosea
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My experience with Rhodiola Rosea

I’ve been taking Rhodiola Rosea for the past four months, and it has been great.

On an empty stomach, I take one 500 mg pill standardized to 3% Rosavins and 1% Salidroside in the morning.

I’ve noticed that I can concentrate better and be more productive during my daily tasks. Larger (daunting) tasks seem much easier to handle, leading to less procrastination.

I believe this is a result of less stress and anxiety. My overall mood improved because of this.

My progress in the gym is excellent, but I don’t know how much I can contribute to Rhodiola Rosea.

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Winner Ashwagandha vs Rhodiola Rosea: TIE
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Winner Ashwagandha versus Rhodiola Rosea: Indecisive

It isn’t easy to pick a decisive winner when placing Ashwagandha versus Rhodiola Rosea because they’re both useful in their respective way.

Both can have a beneficial effect on stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression. I’ll quickly compare the unique benefits of each, so you can see which you prefer.

I take Ashwagandha daily at night (within two hours of bedtime), which has noticeably improved my sleep quality, morning energy levels, sex drive, and (free) testosterone levels (slightly).

I take Rhodiola Rosea in the morning (on an empty stomach), which has noticeably improved my ability to focus on tasks, productivity, and mood, and I feel less tired.

I like both Ashwagandha and Rhodiola Rosea as herbal supplements, and I’ll continue to take both daily. In my opinion, these have great synergy and work wonders together.

Rhodiola Rosea in the morning (or around noon) on an empty stomach and Ashwagandha at night improves my quality of life.

I recommend you choose the one that fits your personal needs best or try both together as I do.

The Ashwagandha and Rhodiola Rosea I take come from Nootropics Depot and have given me the most significant benefits.

They heavily research their supplements in an in-house lab and have a mission to provide supplements that contain what’s on the label. This should be mandatory, but often that’s not the case.

You can click on either of them below to check them out.

Ashwagandha KSM-66 (2x 300 mg)

Rhodiola Rosea standardized to 3% Rosavins 1% Salidroside (1x 500 mg)

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