23 Apr 2011

Vocal Health and Quality Energy with Rhodiola

Vocal Health and Quality Energy with Rhodiola

Singing, performing, presenting, teaching and leading worship services on a regular full time basis can be extremely demanding on the voice and  body. As full time voice professionals we are constantly asking our voices to deliver. Voice quality and vocal beauty are both the result of one thing: energy. If our energy is jagged and uneven or lackluster and we are plagued by fatigue from life’s normal day to day activities, one of the most challenging things to do is produce quality sounds of beauty and strength that touch and move the listener. Once again, nature has provided us with a wonderful tool to help us when we need energy and are overwhelmed with fatigue; Rhodiola.

Vocal Health Energy and Rhodiola

Rhodiola also known as Arctic root or Golden Root  has been used for centuries throughout  Russia and Scandinavia as a medicine to increase physical endurance, productivity, fight fatigue, depression, combat high amounts of stress and nervous disorders. Russian athletes use this herb to increase their stamina, endurance and athletic performance without detrimental side effects to the body and over all health. In my experience, there is no difference between me and a professional athlete. We both have to produce on a regular basis. We both need quality sustainable energy to be excellent at our craft and have to deal with the same stress and life difficulties life presents while we are trying to perform.

Numerous studies on the positive effects of Rhodiola regarding increased stamina, endurance and combating fatigue have been done. One may be found at this link:


Rholdiola has shown to be a very powerful and effective adaptogen; an herb that is proposed to increase the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety and fatigue.
The studies done have shown it to increase resistance to chemical, biological and physical stressors including those that break the body down due to stress. When I am on the road in different environments every other day and dealing with a higher than normal level of stress, I can always use some additional help that is natural and safe. Something that  works with my body to strengthen it’s own abilities giving me the energy and focus I need to sing beautifully and strong and stay in top quality vocal health.

Rhodiola and Mental Fatigue and Vocal Health

In addition to it’s amazing effects on the body to help with physical stress and energy, rhodiola also can have immediate effects on cognitive function and memory. One study involving workers who worked a night shift after a full day of activity were given rhodiola for 6 weeks. Their mental performance was evaluated using tests to determine speed of auditory perception, attention capacity and short term memory.  A significant improvement in mental performance was observed within the first two weeks of the study. In addition, there were noticeable results that showed an improvement in coordination, kinesthetic sensitivity and general over all well being.

All of the above mentioned states of body and mind are crucial for a voice professional when performing or presenting. Mental clarity, physical endurance, memory for lyrics, successful delivery of lines and presentations can make or break a wonderful and successful performance. In regards to vocal health, when these things are in place and we feel comfortable, we can let go and allow our training and natural gifts to shine. Rhodiola can help this to happen.

Like any medicine, herb or food, we must be aware of how to use these agents correctly. Some side effects have been observed when using rhodiola. The most common side effects include restlessness, irritability, and insomnia, the “shakes” or a slightly higher heartbeat. It is highly recommended to not take rhodiola when consuming any other type of stimulants such as caffeine or phenols. Essentially these side effects are the same that accompany any type of stimulant when mixed incorrectly with other stimulating agents. It is also recommended that one does not take rhodiola before sleeping as it may affect a good nights sleep.

When used correctly and in the recommended doses, rhodiola can be an excellent addition to your vocal health toolbox for quality sustained energy, mental alertness and overall vocal health. Always check with your doctor or health practitioner before adding or changing any medications, herbs or supplements.

As always, I wish you the best on your quest for Superior Vocal Health.

About the Author:JAN ALAN SCHWARTZ

Voice Professional and Business Owner

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