Rhodiola Rosea

Last Updated: August 10, 2023

Rhodiola rosea, often called “rhodiola” for short, is a plant in the genus Rhodiola that’s used as an herbal supplement with adaptogenic properties that help to provide general resistance to stress. Although its mechanisms of action are not completely understood, it is clear that rhodiola increases resilience to stress at both the cellular and systemic levels.

Rhodiola Rosea is most often used for

What is Rhodiola rosea?

Rhodiola rosea is a medicinal plant in the Rhodiola genus (Crassulaceae family), which has traditionally been used as an anti-fatigue agent and adaptogenic compound.[1] The root contains a number of bioactive compounds, but the main two that are thought to mediate its effects are rosavin and salidroside. Rhodiola supplements are generally taken in the form of root powder or standardized extracts with 1–5% salidrosides. Although rhodiola supplements are usually taken for their stress-and fatigue-reducing effects, they may also have antidepressant,[2][3] anti-inflammatory,[4][5] and antioxidant[6] properties.

How does Rhodiola rosea work?

Although it is known for its ability to alleviate psychological stress and anxiety, rhodiola has also been shown to interact with cellular stress-response signaling in in vitro studies, indicating that it may have benefits at the cellular level as well as the systemic level. The mechanisms behind rhodiola’s ability to mitigate stress in humans are complex and not well understood. The anti-stress effects of rhodiola may occur in part due to it being able to blunt cortisol release under stressful conditions.[7]

What are Rhodiola rosea’s main benefits?

The main benefits of rhodiola are associated with its adaptogenic properties and include reduced stress and fatigue, as well as increased mental performance, particularly under stressful conditions. Rhodiola has an extensive track record for efficacy, with medicinal use dating back centuries, when it was used to promote healing, stress relief, and increased sense of wellbeing.[1] In preclinical studies involving model organisms such as fruit flies,[8] worms,[9] and yeast,[10] rhodiola has been shown to have anti-aging and longevity-promoting properties, as well as anti-cancer effects.[11][5] More research is needed to determine whether there are similar effects in humans. Finally, Rhodiola may be beneficial in improving the symptoms of ischemic heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease when used in conjunction with routine medical treatments.[12][13]

What are Rhodiola rosea's main drawbacks?

In short-to-moderate intake durations (months to a year) and in moderate doses, rhodiola is safe, with little to no side effects. Although reports of adverse effects are rare, dizziness, dry mouth, and headache were noted in a small number of participants in some trials.[14][15] Rhodiola has been shown to interact with liver enzymes in vitro, indicating a possibility for drug interactions. It increased the concentration and decreased clearance of a particular antihypertensive drug in rabbits,[16] confirming interaction with at least one class of drugs in vivo.

Does Rhodiola rosea improve exercise performance?

Rhodiola seems to have ergogenic properties in addition to its adaptogen properties. In studies looking at strength training, rhodiola increased strength and power when taken just before training.[17] Supplementing with rhodiola also decreased the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) in several studies.[18][19][20] In endurance training, some studies have shown that rhodiola can lower fatigue and improve speed.[21][20] While these results are promising, more studies need to be done before rhodiola can be recommended at specific dosages for exercise performance.

What else is Rhodiola Rosea known as?
Note that Rhodiola Rosea is also known as:
  • Rosavin
  • Rosenroot
  • Rhodiola Rhizome
  • Golden Root
  • Arctic Root
  • Rhidola
Rhodiola Rosea should not be confused with:
Update History
  1. ^A Panossian, G Wikman, J SarrisRosenroot (Rhodiola rosea): traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacyPhytomedicine.(2010 Jun)
  2. ^Jay D Amsterdam, Alexander G PanossianRhodiola rosea L. as a putative botanical antidepressantPhytomedicine.(2016 Jun 15)
  3. ^Mao JJ, Xie SX, Zee J, Soeller I, Li QS, Rockwell K, Amsterdam JDRhodiola rosea versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trialPhytomedicine.(2015 Mar 15)
  4. ^Wei-Ling Pu, Meng-Ying Zhang, Ru-Yu Bai, Li-Kang Sun, Wen-Hua Li, Ying-Li Yu, Yue Zhang, Lei Song, Zhao-Xin Wang, Yan-Fei Peng, Hong Shi, Kun Zhou, Tian-Xiang LiAnti-inflammatory effects of Rhodiola rosea L.: A reviewBiomed Pharmacother.(2020 Jan)
  5. ^Zhuang W, Yue L, Dang X, Chen F, Gong Y, Lin X, Luo YRosenroot (*Rhodiola*): Potential Applications in Aging-related Diseases.Aging Dis.(2019-Feb)
  6. ^Dorota M Radomska-Leśniewska, Piotr Skopiński, Barbara J Bałan, Agata Białoszewska, Jarosław Jóźwiak, Dariusz Rokicki, Ewa Skopińska-Różewska, Anna Borecka, Agata HevelkeAngiomodulatory properties of Rhodiola spp. and other natural antioxidantsCent Eur J Immunol.(2015)
  7. ^Alexander Panossian, Marina Hambardzumyan, Areg Hovhanissyan, Georg WikmanThe adaptogens rhodiola and schizandra modify the response to immobilization stress in rabbits by suppressing the increase of phosphorylated stress-activated protein kinase, nitric oxide and cortisolDrug Target Insights.(2007)
  8. ^Samuel E Schriner, Volkan Coskun, Sean P Hogan, Cindy T Nguyen, Terry E Lopez, Mahtab JafariExtension of Drosophila Lifespan by Rhodiola rosea Depends on Dietary Carbohydrate and Caloric Content in a Simplified DietJ Med Food.(2016 Mar)
  9. ^Cong Chen, Jiangbo Song, Min Chen, Zhiquan Li, Xiaoling Tong, Hai Hu, Zhonghuai Xiang, Cheng Lu, Fangyin DaiRhodiola rosea extends lifespan and improves stress tolerance in silkworm, Bombyx moriBiogerontology.(2016 Apr)
  10. ^F A C Wiegant, S Surinova, E Ytsma, M Langelaar-Makkinje, G Wikman, J A PostPlant adaptogens increase lifespan and stress resistance in C. elegansBiogerontology.(2009 Feb)
  11. ^E Skopińska-Rózewska, M Malinowski, A Wasiutyński, E Sommer, M Furmanowa, M Mazurkiewicz, A K SiwickiThe influence of Rhodiola quadrifida 50% hydro-alcoholic extract and salidroside on tumor-induced angiogenesis in micePol J Vet Sci.(2008)
  12. ^Man C, Dai Z, Fan YDazhu Hongjingtian Preparation as Adjuvant Therapy for Unstable Angina Pectoris: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.Front Pharmacol.(2020)
  13. ^Yu H, Lei T, Su X, Zhang L, Feng Z, Dong M, Hou Z, Guo H, Liu JEfficacy and safety of three species of L. in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis.Front Pharmacol.(2023)
  14. ^Alexander Bystritsky, Lauren Kerwin, Jamie D FeusnerA pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)J Altern Complement Med.(2008 Mar)
  15. ^Ishaque S, Shamseer L, Bukutu C, Vohra SRhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review.BMC Complement Altern Med.(2012-May-29)
  16. ^M Spanakis, I S Vizirianakis, G Batzias, I NiopasPharmacokinetic interaction between losartan and Rhodiola rosea in rabbitsPharmacology.(2013)
  17. ^Liu C, Zhao H, Yan Y, Yang W, Chen S, Song G, Li X, Gu Y, Yun H, Li YSynergistic Effect of and Caffeine Supplementation on the Improvement of Muscle Strength and Muscular Endurance: A Pilot Study for Rats, Resistance Exercise-Untrained and -Trained Volunteers.Nutrients.(2023-Jan-22)
  18. ^Duncan MJ, Clarke NDThe Effect of Acute Rhodiola rosea Ingestion on Exercise Heart Rate, Substrate Utilisation, Mood State, and Perceptions of Exertion, Arousal, and Pleasure/Displeasure in Active MenJ Sports Med (Hindawi Publ Corp).(2014)
  19. ^Yao Lu, Bin Deng, Luhua Xu, Hanjiao Liu, Yinzhi Song, Fengxia LinEffects of Rhodiola Rosea Supplementation on Exercise and Sport: A Systematic ReviewFront Nutr.(2022 Apr 7)
  20. ^Noreen EE, Buckley JG, Lewis SL, Brandauer J, Stuempfle KJThe effects of an acute dose of Rhodiola rosea on endurance exercise performanceJ Strength Cond Res.(2013 Mar)
  21. ^De Bock K, Eijnde BO, Ramaekers M, Hespel PAcute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performanceInt J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.(2004 Jun)