A Mother's Journey Blog

Charlie LOVES his Rhodiola

Through the years Charlie has tried many different types of supplements. We’re always trying new things. Early this year we added to his vitamin regimen an herbal stress adaptogen called rhodiola. It’s considered to be one of the most resilient of all the known adaptogens. Charlie saw immediate results and LOVES this product! Rhodiola enhances concentration by stimulating neurotransmitter production. It also increases your endurance, puts you in a better mood, supports your immune system, and many many more benefits. We have a rule in this house that whenever we open the last bottle of any supplements, it is written on a list so I can re-order more. I have yet to get Charlie to comply with this rule until Rhodiola came along. Not only does he write it down on our re-order list when he opens the last bottle but he writes me a note and puts it on my computer. And finally he will ask me numerous times, “Did you get my note? B/c their are only 30 caps in each bottle. If you don’t order today I’ll run out!” Isn’t that crazy??? He loves this stuff! He says it makes his thinking sharper, his reflexes quicker, and it helps him take notes faster.

There is just one slight problem. Because it’s an herb, you need to cycle off of it. He takes it 5 days on (Mon-Fri) and 2 days off (Sat & Sun). Unfortunately in 2 months the power of rhodiola starts to wear off. I could increase his dosage but I’m comfortable with him at 200mg a day. I do not want to go higher. If I did that then eventually his body would get accustomed to that and we would need a higher dosage and so on. So after 2 months we take 1 month off. Right now we are in off month with Rhodiola. And Charlie is bugging the crap out of me. Since he started this new school (Collegiate High School on our college campus- he’ll graduate with his associate degree along with his high school diploma), he keeps telling me how he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to take this month off since his classes this year are extremely hard. I mean the drama that is coming from this child, I tell you! I told him we are doing our EEG Biofeedback treatments (brain mapping), so I really need to see how his treatments are truly affecting him minus the rhodiola. Plus we found what works for best for Charlie when taking this herb. I have a bottle in our room that my husband and I take on stressful or hectic days. Charlie still continues to try to get me to come off our stash! I was going to keep him off this product until we were done with our EEG treatments (5-6 months) but Charlie isn’t having any of this! So I guess after this month is over, I will start him back on this herb. 

Here is the product we use:

100mg  http://www.vitacost.com/New-Chapter-Rhodiola-Force-100 

300mg http://www.vitacost.com/New-Chapter-Rhodiola-force-300-mg 300mg are for special occasions such as finals.

P.S Remember this stuff is great but based off my personal experience and testimonies of family and friends, it will lose it’s effectiveness. How long? I guess it really depends on you. We didn’t start taking Rhodiola to help with Charlie’s focus or concentration. We have mastered those obstacles years ago. Another mom from my website brought this product to my attention after recieving wonderful results from her son. I thought we’d try it just to see what would happen. Little did we know this would become Charlie’s favorite supplement!

 Enthusiastically yours,

Shirley Highers


When the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, it may be that they are taking better care of it.


Rhodiola Best Herb For ADD/ADHD

Talk about flying under the radar, Rhodiola Rosea (Golden Root) is probably one of the best kept secrets that has been bestowed upon ADD/ADHD. This has been one of the hardest herbs to research. I have gone through over 50 something health books last week with little info available. Most herbal remedy books didn’t even have this herb listed. And for the ones that did, they only offered basic info; where it is commonly found and it’s health benefit. No dosage, no side effects, etc…. The internet offered more information but I wanted more details about side effects, dosages for athletes, how often it is cycled, etc. Had this herb not been recommend to me by a mom who has a child with ADHD, I would have missed out on its magic wonders! Her son was failing. She had ordinary tried Rhodiola at 100mg with no success. But as one last attempt she tried this herb again but this time at 200mg. Her son began to show improvements. In fact his teacher sent an e-mail amazed at the difference in him.

Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba are two popular herbs that seem to get all the credit in this country. But in other parts of the world Rhodiola is known as one of the most powerful adaptogen around today that posses an extraordinary combination of health benefits WITHOUT serious side effects. Because this herb is grown in harsh sub-arctic climates and high altitudes of Siberia, it has learned to adapt to unfavorable conditions in order to survive. When we take this herb our bodies will also have the ability to adapt to stressful, chemical, and psychological conditions in our environment.

This herb benefits ADD/ADHD:

1. It improves attention span

2. Increases circulation to the brain

3. Fights depression and emotional stress

4. Stimulate dopamine/serotonin production

5. Improves cognitive skills

6. Enhances mental work capacity

7. Heightens the body’s resistance to stressors such as too much motor activity (hyperactivity-ADHD)

What You Need To Know About Rhodiola:

1. It does not build up in your body like other herbs so it keeps side effects to a minimum.

2. You can take up to 20 times the recommended dosage (kids 50mg adults 100-200mg) without severe side effects…..HOWEVER, people with a sensitive nervous system need VERRRY small amounts or should start off on this herb on a small amount first and build up to a recommended dosage. Some individuals reported that they became moody and couldn’t sleep for days just from one dosage. Others individuals suggested to take in the morning and not in the afternoon if you want to get any sleep.

* As long as you stay under 800mg a day you should be okay. 

3. Mix reviews from the internet but all the herbs book I’ve been checking out in the book store suggest to cycle this herb because taking it everyday will cause it to lose it’s potency. I like the 5 days on 2 days off or 5 weeks on 2 weeks off. Some say 4 days on 3 days off, etc.. but this cycle was recommended to me by a Biochemist at NC State.

4. Most ADHD are great athletes. This herb will benefit them because it enhances cardiovascular, maintains energy levels, improving both endurance and protein metabolism.

5. When used for depression it is given at higher dosage 340mg-680mg. It’s known as a natural anti-depressant. Plus it can be taken with depression medication. It is not an MAO inhibitor. HOWEVER, should not be taken for manic or bi-polar. I’m guessing it’s because of their sensitive nervous system.

6. Many ADD/ADHD have food sensitivities or allergies making them more sensitive to this herb. So make sure you start at 50mg and slowly work your way up to 100-200mg.

7. Children who mimic ADD/ADHD symptoms because of faulty glucose levels and thyroid issues, will greatly benefit from this herb because it helps balance and regulate their hormones. Just know if ONE hormone in your body is out of whack, then it will throw the rest of your hormones out of sync too. It also regulates adrenal glands and controls cortisol levels.

8. When purchasing Rhodiola you are looking for the 2 primary active ingredients phenylpropanoids of Rosavin (3%) and Salidroside (1%) ratio. If you can find anything higher …..order it!

9. Stay away from Chinese Rhodiola because Russian Rhodiola is 3 times stronger.

10. Best taken 30 mins before meal but I did find info on the internet that said you could take with or without food.

Charlie started on this herb last Saturday. He took 1 cap (100mg) with his vitamins. He ate breakfast 30 mins later. He had to help clean up a yard with his church group. He didn’t really notice any focus BUT he said he never got tired once working in the yard while everyone else was taking breaks. Monday I gave him 2 caps (200mg) with his neurotransmitters. I was too nervous to stop something that has been working on a school day. Anyway, after school he said he noticed that he had a little bit more focus. Charlie no longer has focus issues but he’s very in tune to his body because his mama is always doing experiments ;). I asked for more specific situations. He said when he was taking notes from the board he didn’t have to look up as many times. BUT what he noticed the most was during PE, his stamina and endurance switch was flipped ON! He already has plenty of energy from his supplements so I asked him, “Do you mean it gives you more energy?” And he’s said, “No, but it keeps me feeling like I never get tired while we’re playing basketball.” Tuesday Charlie took 2 caps with his vitamins and this time no Neu-becalm (neurotransmitters). He told me after school that his focus felt “enhanced.” I said what do you mean exactly. He’s said, “Okay out of 1 to 5, my focus is usually a 4 but today it felt like a 5. I’m not doing anything faster but I do feel like I’m thinking clearer.” His report on this herb for the rest of the school week has been consistent. I asked him, “Do you want to keep taking this herb or do you feel like it’s worth taking during the school week?” He said, “This is my favorite herb that you have given me so far and I want to keep taking it.” I will continue to keep him at 2 caps during the week and during the weekend he will not take Rhodiola and go back on his neurotransmitter supplements. I’m curious to see how this herb plays out long term and the results it will have on other ADD/ADHD children/adults that I have asked to participate in this experiment. And whatever Charlie takes, me and my husband ALWAYS take as well to help Charlie understand what he is experiencing. I felt like 1 cap of a 100mg was PLENTY for me! Don’t want to say I felt jittery but I was a tiny bit restless….in a good productive way. It never interfered with my sleep. However my husband who has ADHD started Monday with me and he’s up to 2 caps. He hasn’t really notice anything yet but he’s a tough one. He’s always my ultimate test. Maybe he needs a higher dosage and a longer duration on this herb to see results.

Here are two Rhodiola products I like so far:

1. https://www.emersonecologics.com/Products/EmersonMain/PID-RHOD5.aspx This product at (180 caps @ 27.80) 3% Rosavin and 1% salidrosides.

2. This product has a high % of Rosavin and salidrosides (5.4-6.6%)  http://www.nationaldiscountvitamins.com/details.cfm?Group_ID=29&Product_ID=4784 (60 caps @$19.96) So far it has ranked as one of the highest. I ordered this product.

Enthusiastically yours,

Shirley Highers


When the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, it may be that they are taking better care of it.

Aloe Helps Absorb B-Vitamins Quicker Which Is Crucial To Brain Function for ADD/ADHD

Most people think of Aloe as a stomach-soothing supplement, but new research suggests it does much more than that. It aids with better absorption of vitamin C and vitamin B12. Here’a a study I though you might enjoy reading below.

You can use any brands of Aloe, just make sure it’s a pharm grade and is cold pressed versus heat. I prefer Biometics Aloe Plus because in addition to it’s pharm grade Aloe, it also contains vitamin C, E, Beta Carotene (all antioxidants), and Potassium (fluid balance). This product is anti-inflammatory, has antioxidants, has healing benefits (increases strength of collagen-rebuilding damaged tissue), and helps improve the immune system. In my personal experience with ADD/ADHD, many children and adults have told me that they see relief from their allergies, asthma, digestive disorders (Leaky gut syndrome, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis).

26-Jul-2007 – A study demonstrating the potential for aloe vera to enhance vitamin C and B12 bioavailability could give manufacturers of the ingredient another angle along which to promote it.
Researchers at the University of California at Davis Medical Center set out to test the effect of two aloe vera preparations and placebo in a human clinical trial, citing the motivation that vitamin B12 is deficient in vegetarians and the aging population. The UC Davis study demonstrated the potential for aloe to enhance the bioavailability of vitamins C and B12, as well as ORAC.

The favorable results of this study, which is awaiting peer-reviewed publication, back-up a previous study showing aloe enhances the absorption of vitamin C and E, thereby potentially opening up a new category for the use of aloe in dietary supplements.

“Bioavailability is a very important topic in the dietary supplement industry at this time,” Ken Jones, chief science officer and president of the International Aloe Science Council (IASC), told NutraIngredients-USA. “So this elevates aloe and expands its uses.”

The IASC and the Aloe Institute funded both studies, in which the company Aloecorp played no role, said Jones.

Aloe vera, from the tree lily family aloe barbadensis, has traditionally been used as an all-purpose herbal plant. The aloe whole leaf extract or aloe fillet gel can be used as functional ingredients in the form of a juice or powder. In dietary supplements, ingredients derived from the botanical have been used for immune support and relieving oxidative stress.

The UC Davis randomized cross-over trial involved 15 participants between 40 and 80 years of age who were given their vitamins with either aloe whole leaf extract, aloe fillet gel, or just water. The vitamins consisted of 1mg of vitamin B12 and 500mg of vitamin C.

Blood was then obtained from the subjects following one, two, four, six, eight and 24-hour post-ingestion of the aloe or water combinations, with one week between treatments. Researchers indicated that neither the aloe whole leaf extract nor the aloe fillet gel affected lipid or glucose levels.

The aloe gel significantly increased plasma ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) at both four and 24 hours while the aloe leaf extract significantly increased it at four hours compared to baseline and placebo (AUC, 24h, p<0.05).

The aloe gel was also said to have increased plasma vitamin C levels four, six, eight and 24 hours following ingestion, while aloe leaf extract raised the serum vitamin C levels at four and six hours (AUC, eight and 24 hours, p<0.02).

According to the researchers, vitamin B12 was also increased in the serum by both forms of the aloe ingredient at one and two hours.

This could have implications for supplementation and the targeting of chronic diseases, especially in the elderly, said Jones.

“One area of research – if you were going to go for that – is to look at specific conditions which could benefit from increased absorption,” said Jones.

The aloe specialist cited the example of gastrointestinal conditions that make it even more difficult for people to absorb vitamin B12. B12 is crucial to brain functioning, as well as for the formation of blood.

The advantage of this most recent study, which is set to be published in the FASEB Journal (published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology), according to Jones, is that it has set a dosing parameter for the use of aloe vera and bioavailability.

“Now we have specific doses associated with a specific action,” said Jones.

Aloe has established applications for cosmetics and dietary supplements, as well as in the growing crossover category for these two markets: cosmeceuticals. The application for bioavailability would create a new category for uses in dietary supplements.

The previous aloe vera bioavailability study, published in 2005 in the Phytomedicine journal, involved healthy subjects ranging between the ages of 21 and 42. Aloe was found to improve both the absorption of vitamins C and E.

It now remains for supplement makers to in turn test aloe ingredients in their products. Like any other plant-derived ingredients, aloe has its own shelf-life and stability challenges which would have to be assessed, said Jones.


Aloe ready for bioavailability applications
By Clarisse Douaud

Vinson, J.A., H. Al Kharrat and L. Andreoli. “Effect of aloe vera preparations on the human bioavailability of vitamins C and E.” Phytomedicine. 12 (2005) 760-765.

Enthusiastically yours,

Shirley Highers


When the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, it may be that they are taking better care of it.