Ashwagandha and rhodiola have been staples of ancient Indian medicine for centuries.

Both of these powerful herbs boast a variety of benefits for the body and mind and are still widely used today because of their many proven benefits. 

But it can be difficult to decide if you should take ashwagandha or rhodiola. 

Ashwagandha excels at reducing stress and regulating the body’s metabolic functions. Alternatively, rhodiola is great at improving mental and physical performance. Because both herbs are adaptogens, these herbs provide superior benefits when taken together versus taking either herb alone.  

So, is it better to take ashwagandha or rhodiola? 

Let’s review these two herbs now.

The Similarities of Ashwagandha and Rhodiola

Ashwagandha and rhodiola are both termed “adaptogens” which means they share some important characteristics.  

By definition, adaptogens are herbs that boost the body's resistance to stressors of every kind, be they mental, physical, or chemical[1]. 

Simply put, they help your body cope with all types of stress.  There are three qualities ashwagandha and rhodiola share by virtue of being adaptogens [1]:

  • They are completely non-toxic.
  • They enable your body to return to a state of balance or homeostasis.
  • They enable your body to cope with stress and protect your health from the serious dangers of stress.

The clue as to how they work lies in their name. As adaptogens, ashwagandha and rhodiola regulate how your body adapts to stress and work to mitigate its harmful effects on the body.  

It helps to think of adaptogens as a type of stress thermostat: 

They elevate your mood when you're feeling low and 

calm you when you're feeling anxious. 

For a very helpful article that goes deeper into how ashwagandha and rhodiola, as well as other adaptogens work, go here:

Studies reveal how adaptogenic herbs really work (+examples)

Being adaptogenic herbs, both ashwagandha and rhodiola are incredibly powerful and effective, helping your entire body function in a peak state.

The Benefits of Ashwagandha and Rhodiola Herbs

Even though ashwagandha and rhodiola share a lot of similarities, it's important to make a crucial distinction: 

Ashwagandha is more calming, while rhodiola is more energizing.

With that, let’s now review what ashwagandha is best for and then compare it to rhodiola’s best benefits.

What is Ashwagandha Best For?

1. Relief of stress and anxiety

Ashwagandha has a unique relationship with your body's stress hormone, cortisol.  The herb has been shown to significantly lower cortisol levels in the body -- which is great news for chronically stressed individuals. 

What's more, being an adaptogen, ashwagandha helps bring your body to a state of calm balance by eliminating the negative impacts of stress and anxiety [2].  

Actively treating stress in the body can also help in the management of stress-related ailments, such as poor sleep, heart disease, memory impairment, high blood pressure, tension headaches, and IBS.

2. Healthy blood sugar levels

Ashwagandha may support healthy metabolic function by lowering blood sugar levels. The herb achieves this feat by increasing the secretion of insulin and even improving insulin sensitivity in muscle cells [3]. When paired with a well-rounded diet, ashwagandha can help keep blood sugar levels at optimum levels, making it incredibly beneficial for your long-term health.

3. Improved brain health

Ashwagandha contains both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, two properties that help protect brain cells from damage, stress, and disease [2]. In general, ashwagandha helps bring about a calm and peaceful state of mind while also optimizing your body's physical functions.

To learn more about the incredible benefits of ashwagandha, here is an excellent article:

7 Incredible Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

What is Rhodiola Best For?

1. Improved mental performance

Now, who doesn’t want to think clearer and have a better memory?

Compared with ashwagandha, rhodiola has different effects when it comes to the mind. It's an herb that helps improve overall mental energy, working a bit like caffeine in this regard. It has also been shown to alleviate burnout caused by chronic stress [4].

Rhodiola contains neuroprotective compounds that come with the benefit of improved mental focus and concentration [4]. If you feel like your brain is slowing down, rhodiola can provide the energy boost you need to optimize brain function.

2. Enhanced physical performance and endurance

Rhodiola’s benefits also extend to your physical body as well. The herb is so potent that it reduces fatigue in chronically fatigued individuals. Because it's an adaptogen, rhodiola also helps to reduce cortisol levels. 

Rhodiola makes exercise feel less physically exerting and is a great supplement for fitness enthusiasts as well as anyone who wants to work out.[4]

3. Cancer-fighting properties

Researchers are looking into rhodiola as an aid to existing cancer therapies. Salidroside, a compound found in rhodiola, has been found to have anti-cancer properties. While research is still in its early stages, salidroside has proven effective at inhibiting the growth of some cancer cells, including lung, gastric, and colon cancer cells [4].

If you're currently undergoing cancer treatment, it's very important to consult your healthcare provider before adding any supplements, including rhodiola, to your regimen.

For more information about this incredible adaptogen herb, here is an excellent article:

Rhodiola Rosea: The Beautiful "Rose" that Thrives in Treezing, Arctic Regions

Should You Take Ashwagandha or Rhodiola?

Some things are just better together, as is the case with ashwagandha and rhodiola. 

Taken together, these two adaptogens provide results that far exceed the benefits of either herb alone. 

Ashwagandha excels at reducing stress and regulating the body’s metabolic functions, while rhodiola is great at improving both mental and physical performance – but ashwagandha and rhodiola are an adaptogenic powerhouse when combined!

That said, if you’re new to the world of adaptogen herbs, it’s a good idea to see how one herb makes you feel before adding another to your wellness regimen. If you’re mainly looking to ease stress and anxiety, ashwagandha may be more beneficial for you because it will provide a calming effect and help you to relax and sleep better. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for more mental and physical energy, you might find that rhodiola is just what you need.

Additionally, if you are looking for a complete adaptogen supplement, it is highly suggested that you review all the adaptogens that are in Lean Factor’s best-selling adaptogen supplements. 

For further information and an excellent article on adaptogen supplements, visit:

What Is an Adaptogen Supplement? (+3 Huge Benefits)


  1. Panossian A, Wagner H. Stimulating effect of adaptogens: an overview with particular reference to their efficacy following single-dose administration. Phytotherapy Research. 2005 Oct;19(10):819-38.
  2. Gupta GL, Rana AC. Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha): a review. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 2007;1(1).
  3. Singh N, Bhalla M, de Jager P, Gilca M. An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines. 2011;8(5S).
  4. Panossian A, Wikman G, Sarris J. Roseroot (Rhodiola Rosea): traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacy. Phytomedicine. 2010 Jun 1;17(7):481-93.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Related Products

In cart
In cart
Sale 29%
In cart

Peak Male & EmpowHER Bundle

$159.98 $114.99
In cart