The Health Benefits of Rhodiola

10 Amazing Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea

The Health Benefits of Rhodiola

The important health benefits of Rhodiola rosea include its ability to boost energy levels, boost the immune system, relieve depression, strengthen the nervous system, improve cognitive function, aid in weight loss, and increase libido.

What is Rhodiola Rosea?

There are many common names for this versatile and globally available herb, including golden root, Arctic root, king’s crown, and roseroot, but they all describe the same flowering plant. You can typically find this small, hardy perennial plant in cold regions, including Siberia, the Arctic, as well as northern parts of Asia, North America, Europe, and the UK.

You can identify these plants by several stems growing from the same root, topped by small yellowish-white flowers. These plants commonly grow in cliffs or rocky sea regions. Rhodiola rosea has been used for thousands of years in certain traditional medicine treatments due to the high concentration of organic compounds, such as phenols, alkaloids, flavonoids, and quinones.


There have been many research studies conducted on the roots of these plants, as that is where most of the nutrients are found. These roots have been sought out because they can be dried, powdered, and made into a very beneficial tea, which has been used in Indian and Chinese traditional medicines for centuries.

It was initially popularized for its impact on stress and anxiety, but subsequent research has identified a number of other health concerns that can be treated with this versatile herb. You can also find Rhodiola rosea supplements in many herbal shops, which is the most popular way of consuming this herb.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the many health benefits of Rhodiola rosea. [2]

Health Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea

Some of the health benefits offered by Rhodiola rosea are as follows:

Relieves Stress

The calming effects of Rhodiola rosea tea have been known for thousands of years. From the stress of life in rural China to the depression-inducing weather of Siberia, this herbal tea has been soothing and calming people for generations. The chemical constituents found in Rhodiola rosea can affect the hormonal levels of the body and induce relaxation.

Rhodiola is native to the arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and Alaska. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Relieves Depression

One of the side effects of Rhodiola rosea is an increase in energy levels, and for those people suffering from fatigue-induced depression, this herbal approach can be life-altering. For people pursuing alternative medicinal solutions to their depressive symptoms, Rhodiola rosea tea can be extremely effective.

Some of the organic compounds in this widely available herb are considered adaptogenic, which means that it can cause long-lasting effects on our hormonal and metabolic states. In other words, it helps in providing relief from depression and chronic stress.

In fact, the proven usefulness of Rhodiola rosea extract has led it to be combined with numerous antidepressants on the market, and the results have been very encouraging. [3]

Boosts Cognition

The two health benefits listed above certainly have an effect on the brain and hormone levels that affect mood. But the overall health of the brain is another major concern in modern medicine.

Research suggests that Rhodiola rosea can have an effect on numerous aspects of cognitive health, including improving memory and concentration.

For the aging populations suffering from the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s, Rhodiola rosea tea may help boost cognition and memory, thereby keeping your faculties intact for longer as per studies. [4] [5]

Aids Weight Loss

Recent research has shown that using Rhodiola rosea extracts and teas can be highly effective for weight loss.

The release of adipose tissue is one of the keys to losing weight, and while researchers have been looking for a natural product containing the essential enzymes to do that, golden root has been under their nose the whole time.

Essentially, Rhodiola rosea speeds up the fat-burning cells in your body, and when combined with exercise, this can speed up your slimming results. [6]

Boosts Energy Levels

Some of the active compounds found in Rhodiola rosea have been directly linked with increasing metabolism and stimulating greater circulation of blood and oxygen within the body.

When your organs receive more oxygen, they function more efficiently, particularly muscles, nerve cells, and the brain receive the benefit of that oxygen boost! This has even been relied on by professional athletes in Asia and Russia as a safe and legal energy enhancer. [7]

Protects Heart Health

One of the most dangerous substances for our body is already inside of us – stress hormones. By reducing corticosteroids and catecholamines released by the body, we are able to reduce the effects of those hormones on all of our organ systems, including the heart.

Excess stress hormones can cause higher blood pressure, heart disease, and dangerous levels of potassium.

Research has also shown that Rhodiola rosea can regulate the heartbeat and eliminate heart arrhythmias, as well as a reduction in the chances of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. [8]

Anticancer Potential

According to a study of this plant, it has been valued in Mongolia as a folk remedy that may help provide relief against cancer. [9]

In conjunction with the high concentration of antioxidants found in the roots of Rhodiola rosea, it is also known to increase the body’s natural resistance to toxins.

 Anti-tumor activity is just as important as antioxidant effects, and this herb has been observed to have both of those. A study suggests that it may have anti-proliferative properties and because of the presence of salidroside help prevent the spread of human colorectal cancer.

Another study showed that Rhodiola extracts exert anticancer effects against bladder cancer. [10] [11] [12]

However, more human studies are required to confirm the benefits against cancer.

Strengthens Immune System

In addition to all of the other impressive health benefits of Rhodiola rosea, it also has a variety of effects on the immune system. This herb can stimulate the production of NK cells in the stomach and spleen, thereby improving the immune response and establishing homeostasis within the body. [13]

Better Sexual Health

In some traditional and modern applications, Rhodiola rosea has also been prescribed for erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. This can lead to increased fertility, a boost in libido, and a generally healthier sex life, which comes with its own range of psychological, emotional, and physical health. [14]

Word of Caution: Side effects are quite rare following the use of Rhodiola rosea, but when they do occur, they are typically mild and include insomnia, irritability, chest tightness, and increased blood pressure. As always, before adding a new herbal element to your health regimen, you should consult a trained medical professional, and ensure that you always get your herbal supplements from a trusted herbalist.


What Is Rhodiola and How To Use It For Wellness — Eat This Not That

The Health Benefits of Rhodiola

Are the cold months creeping up on you? Is that seasonal depression you kicked to the curb last winter slowly returning? Maybe you haven't been making it to the gym as much now that beach season's long gone and you're looking for an energy boost to get you on the elliptical again. As winter nears and our energy levels and moods find themselves in the precarious dance between holiday celebrations and New Year's resolutions, there may be one adaptogenic herb worth mixing into your routine: rhodiola rosea.

What is rhodiola rosea?

Rhodiola rosea is a flowering perennial plant in the Crassulaceae (or stonecrop) family and has been used for centuries all over the world. Other names and classifications include R. Rosea, «arctic root,» «golden root,» its traditional Chinese medicine name «hóng jǐng tiān,» and its clinical application SHR-5.

Native to colder regions, rhodiola grows naturally in the wild in places of high altitude seaside cliffs and mountains; it can be found in the Arctic, eastern North America, and in the mountains of Central Asia and Europe.

Two thousand years ago, it was first described as a remedy in classical medicine by the Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides in De Materia Medica.

In the 18th century, Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus documented the astringent herb's uses ranging from treating hernias to headaches.

Up until the early 2000s, most of the research on rhodiola remained in Russia and had not been translated into English.

Fortunately, over the last 15 years, pioneers in herbalism, medical practitioners, and researchers have made it a priority to share this information with the rest of the world. Due to rhodiola's mood- and energy-boosting benefits, it's been used widely in Russia and Scandinavia to treat fatigue, depression, and anxiety.

Rhodiola rosea has been celebrated for its many health benefits, especially for its effect on the body's ability to adapt to stress.

In his best-selling book Medical Medium, Anthony William supports using rhodiola to optimize adrenal function and beat fatigue.

He recommends usage for those with depression as well, stating, «rhodiola strengthens the endocrine system, including the thyroid and adrenal glands. [It] also stabilizes the vascular system.»

It has been proven to lower stress in various groups of people. One 2012 study, in which participants were given 400 milligrams of rhodiola a day for four weeks, showed clinical improvements in symptoms of stress such as fatigue, exhaustion, and anxiety. Multiple participants showed therapeutic benefits from the herb in the very first three days of the trial.

A more recent study revealed that people suffering from burnout benefitted from daily use of rhodiola, especially in relation to their stress levels and depression symptoms.

It's clear that emotions and energy levels are linked, so it's not surprising that rhodiola can also fight fatigue. In one Swedish study, 60 people with stress-related fatigue were given 576 milligrams of rhodiola a day. Results showed rhodiola had a positive effect on fatigue and attention levels, plus it lowered cortisol levels compared to the placebo group.

Rhodiola is made up of about 140 chemical compounds, including phenols and phenolic acids, which have antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic effects. Its most active plant compounds are salidroside and rosavin, the latter noted to help balance the stress hormone, cortisol, thus it can trigger a fat-burning response in the body. Lower cortisol levels mean less fat stores in and around the belly.

In addition to lower cortisol levels supporting potential weight loss, rhodiola has also been studied for its benefits to energy levels and athletic performance. Studies have shown that taking rhodiola prior to strenuous exercise boosted overall performance while decreasing effort exerted.

Additionally, rhodiola usage has supported longer periods of exercise. This may be in part due to boosting red blood cells and lowering oxidative damage; because red blood cells carry oxygen to muscles, it may provide more relief and delayed or lessened fatigue.

RELATED: Learn how to fire up your metabolism and lose weight the smart way.

How to use rhodiola

The good news is that rhodiola can be found at many health stores in tea, tincture, and capsule form, the latter providing the most accurate dosage.

When purchasing rhodiola products, it's important to make sure they are standardized to 2-3% rosavin and 0.8-1% salidroside (the naturally occurring proportions found in rhodiola rosea root). According to Aviva Romm, M.D.

, midwife, and author, this amount is safe to take if you are on medications for anxiety and aiming to wean yourself off.

Multiple nutritionists and health professionals suggest taking it on an empty stomach, at least fifteen minutes prior to eating. It's better to stagger higher doses throughout the day (i.e. before breakfast and dinner), instead of taking it all at once. However, avoid taking any before bed because it could have an energizing effect.

The general recommendation for adaptogen usage is to use them for at least three months in order to experience any true benefits, and they can be taken daily for a year or longer.

Potential side effects of using rhodiola

Zizia Botanicals founder and Los Angeles–based herbalist, Abbe Findley warns that «rhodiola's astringent nature may agitate or have a drying effect on certain people. (i.e.

a person with a dry constitution may express certain characteristics that include extreme thirst, dry mouth, or dry skin, hair, throat, nose, mouth, or lean toward constipation).

If that's the case, it may not be the adaptogen for you.

Bottom line: Should you try rhodiola?

Rhodiola rosea is widely considered safe with minimal side effects. It has a vast array of documented health benefits from stabilizing moods to increasing energy levels. Its uses in traditional medicine provide a glimpse into its potential healing abilities.

It's a good idea to speak to a doctor, find an herbalist, or read up on adaptogens that you think might work for you. The American Botanical Council, especially their Healthy Ingredients Database, is a great resource for anyone looking to learn more.


Rhodiola Rosea: Everything You Need To Know About The Stress-Fighting, Sleep-Boosting Adaptogen

The Health Benefits of Rhodiola

Rhodiola rosea is a flowering plant whose root can be used for fighting stress, enhancing athletic performance and energy, and more. Also known as golden root, arctic root, and King's crown, Rhodiola has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Greek medicine—and its beginnings may stem back as early as the first century A.D.

Let's take a look at the benefits and side effects of this adaptogen to help you see if it's the right thing to add to your routine:

So, what are the benefits of taking Rhodiola rosea?

There are many reported benefits of Rhodiola rosea, some of which have been studied more than others. Here are a handful that are backed up by science:

1. It helps manage stress.

First and foremost, Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen, so by definition it helps your body adapt to stress.

These powerful, often antioxidant-rich herbs can adapt to what your body needs—whether it be a bit of energy when you're fatigued or a way to calm a stressful situation—and help manage your cortisol levels to stave off fatigue. Some studies have also found that Rhodiola can help ease depression symptoms.

«Adaptogens are one of my favorite natural healing tools to use in my functional medicine clinic. I often recommend Rhodiola for patients who are severely stressed and anyone struggling with adrenal fatigue because it works to support your sympathetic nervous system—the stress control center of your body,» shares Will Cole D.C., IFMCP, an author and functional medicine practitioner.

One of the foremost reasons individuals choose to take Rhodiola rosea is for its energy-enhancing and fatigue-fighting properties. According to one study that followed nursing students on shift work, Rhodiola rosea helped reduce their fatigue levels more than a placebo.

Rhodiola works at the cellular level to fight mental fatigue too, as Nigma Talib, N.D., naturopathic doctor and holistic health expert explains, “Rhodiola can enhance energy metabolism and increase the capacity of mitochondria to produce energy-rich compounds in the brain, as well as in the muscles, liver, and blood.” 

3. It's good for the brain.

Rhodiola rosea has also been shown to be beneficial for brain function and concentration. Another clinical trial showed that participants who took Rhodiola rosea every morning were more capable of fighting burnout and maintaining concentration throughout the day.

4. It can support athletic endurance.

Due to its fatigue-fighting abilities, Rhodiola rosea is often used by endurance athletes. One clinical study that followed young, healthy individuals who took Rhodiola rosea daily for four weeks showed an increased endurance during exercise, and the adaptogen has even been shown to enhance immune function during prolonged physical activity such as marathon running.

5. It can help with all-around recovery.

Rhodiola isn't just for super-athletes, either. «Rhodiola can be really effective for individuals who are consistently physically active.

Athletes, yes, but also any of us who stand for much of the day, walk a ton, lift, or the ,» explained Rachelle Robinett, a holistic health practitioner and founder of Supernatural.

«As an adaptogen, it's been pretty well-studied in physical and mental performance, and if it's the right herb for you, then you should see better performance times or cognitive function, and recovery from physical exertion too.»

So before you hit the gym, go for a run, or hike up that mountain, consider a dose of Rhodiola rosea for some extra support.

OK, I want to try it!  What dosage should I take and in what form?

Rhodiola rosea comes in several forms—powder, tincture, extract, and pills—as well as in supplements with other complementary ingredients. As for dosage, start small and work your way up.

Robinett advises «One-eighth teaspoon per day to start, if using a powder standardized at ~3 percent salidosides, for example, which is then increased slowly to find the sweet spot. For most, if it's the right herb for you, that tends to be between 100 and 400 milligrams per day. If you're not seeing benefits there, it may be worth exploring other options.»

Also, it’s important to remember that adaptogens generally work in your body over time, so try to work them into your daily routine for optimal benefits. As functional medicine doctor Frank Lipman, M.D.

shares, “In my experience, most patients who take rhodiola start feeling better within a few weeks to a month,” so be patient.

If you want, you can take the occasional break to see if the herbs are really working.

If you have a local herb shop, then the herbalists may be able to provide specific dosing for your needs or make you a blend with other herbs that would be relevant to what symptoms you are experiencing.

You also want to make sure Rhodiola rosea (and any other herbal supplements you're taking!) come from a trusted source. Look for third-party certifications from the brands you are purchasing such as the USP or NSF seal to make sure you're taking the adaptogen in its pure form.

What are some ways I can incorporate it into my routine?

There are so many ways to incorporate this adaptogen into your routine. Other than taking it in supplement form, you can mix Rhodiola rosea, in powdered or tincture form, into:

  • Yogurt
  • Smoothies
  • Coffee
  • Matcha
  • Caffeine-free adaptogenic elixir (see recipe below)
  • Chia pudding
  • Water
  • Tea
  • Energy/bliss balls (see recipe below!)

It is often recommended to take adaptogens and herbs with a healthy fat such a coconut oil to aid in absorption. Here are two of my favorite recipes for integrating Rhodiola rosea into my daily routine:

Energizing Caffeine-Free Morning Elixir

I love this energizing elixir as part of my morning routine. I will change up which adaptogens and mushrooms I add what I am feeling that morning or week. It's a mocha but with extra herbal benefits.


  • 2 tablespoons organic almond butter
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ⅛ teaspoon Rhodiola rosea powder, or 1 serving tincture
  • ¼ teaspoon chaga
  • ¼ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon raw Manuka honey
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon MCT oil
  • 1 shot decaf espresso (optional)


Add almond butter and hot water to blender and blend for 30 seconds (or just use 1 cup hot almond milk!), then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until frothy. Enjoy hot or pour over ice and drink with a reusable straw.

Stress-Busting Bliss Balls

These are one of my favorite healthy snacks to eat at home, in the office, or bring with me on the plane so I am sure to get in my daily dose of adaptogens. Feel free to customize them to whatever flavor profile and mix-ins you'd .) Sometimes I'll swap the cacao for a chai flavoring allspice, nutmeg, or cardamom, or go green with spirulina.


  • 10 dates
  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon Rhodiola rosea powder, or 4 servings tincture
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Dash of pink Himalayan sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla bean powder or vanilla extract
  • Other adaptogens or mushrooms of choice (I love ashwagandha and reishi!)
  • Additional mix-ins of choice: chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, cacao nibs, pumpkin seeds, nuts


Add all ingredients into food processor and process until batter forms into a ball. Add additional cacao, dates, or tahini as needed to get to a sticky consistency. Roll into bite-size balls and top with any toppings of choice such as goji berries, hemp seeds, cacao nibs, or shredded coconut. Keep in the refrigerator and enjoy for up to 5 days (if they last you that long!).

Are there any side effects of rhodiola? 

Adaptogens are widely considered to be safe and low-risk, but there are certainly some things to keep in mind before taking them on the daily. Rhodiola rosea side effects are rather limited, but a small group of participants in one study showed mild side effects such as headaches and insomnia.

Other side effects have also included dry mouth and dizziness. If you feel these effects or any general discomfort after taking Rhodiola rosea, then stop taking it. There may be an herb that provides similar benefits that your body is more welcoming to. Those who are on medication to lower blood pressure should also avoid Rhodiola rosea.

Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen that's long been prized for its ability to enhance energy, boost mood, and aid in recovery. It is now available in many forms and can easily be incorporated into elixirs, smoothies, and more. It is generally considered safe, though you should always consult with your doctor before adding a new supplement into your routine.


7 Rhodiola Rosea Benefits For Your Overall Health | Dr. Seeds

The Health Benefits of Rhodiola

Rhodiola’s adaptogenic properties can raise the body’s stress resistance.Historically, Chinese and Siberian people have taken Rhodiola tea to cope with work stress and harsh weather. The chemical make-up of this herb can induce calm and relaxation by working on the body’s hormone levels.

This benefit stays true today as shown in a study that tested how the herb will affect 101 subjects with life and work-related stress. The researchers gave them 400 mg daily within one month.

The findings revealed a significant improvement in stress symptoms (fatigue, exhaustion, and anxiety) after only three days. This positive results continued in the study’s progression.

Additionally, Rhodiola may also improve burnout symptoms which can simultaneously happen with chronic stress. In a study of 118 subjects with stress-induced burnout, results showed the herb’s positive effect on improving stress and coping with depression.

2. Helps Improve Cognition

Taking Rhodiola rosea may help boost your brain power, memory, concentration.

One study tested how the herb will affect mental fatigue on 56 night shift doctors. The researchers randomly gave the subjects either 170 mg of Rhodiola or a placebo pill daily for two weeks.

The Rhodiola group showed reduced mental fatigue and a 20% performance improvement in work-related tasks compared to the placebo group.

In another study, researchers tested how Rhodiola will affect night shift military cadets. They were randomly assigned with either 370 mg or 555 mg of the herb or one of two placebos a day for five days.

The finding revealed that both doses improved the subjects mental performance compared to the placebos.

In a study on students, the researchers also reported promising effects of Rhodiola. The students showed a significant decrease in mental fatigue, increase motivation to study, and improvement in sleeping patterns after taking Rhodiola supplements for 20 days.

The Rhodiola group also tested 8% higher on exams than the placebo group.

Lastly, there are also existing studies showing the positive effects of Rhodiola tea on the memory and cognition of patients with early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s.

3. Helps in Reducing Fatigue

Stress, sleep deprivation, and anxiety often cause fatigue. Thanks to its adaptogenic properties, Rhodiola may help with physical and mental tiredness.
Researchers studied 60 people with stress-related fatigue for a month.

They were given 576 mg of Rhodiola or a placebo pill a day testing for the herb’s effect on their quality of life and symptoms of fatigue, depression, and attention.

Results showed that Rhodiola improved the subjects’ fatigue and attention levels.

In another study, researchers gave 100 chronic fatigue patients 400 mg of Rhodiola every day for eight weeks. The findings showed that the subjects experienced significant improvements in symptoms of stress, fatigue, quality of life, mood, and concentration.

4. Helps in Reducing Depression Symptoms

Depression is a serious mental health disorder with symptoms of persistent negative feelings affecting cognitive function, decision-making, and vitality. An imbalance of neurotransmitters causes depression hence the use of serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) as treatment.

In this review of studies, Rhodiola rosea is suggested to possess antidepressive properties. It can help in balancing neurotransmitters.

A six-week study tested Rhodiola’s effectiveness on depression symptoms. The researchers gave 89 patients with mild or moderate depression either 340 mg or 680 mg of Rhodiola or a placebo pill per day.They found that both the Rhodiola groups saw significant improvements in overall depression, emotional stability, and insomnia. The placebo group showed zero improvements.The study also revealed that the group who got the higher dose of the herb showed self-esteem improvements.

One study also compared the effects of Rhodiola against the commonly prescribed antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft). Researchers gave 57 patients with depression Rhodiola, sertraline or a placebo pill in the span of three months.

Both sertraline and Rhodiola decreased depression symptoms but the former showed a greater effect. However, patients who took Rhodiola experienced fewer and more tolerable side effects.

RELATED: 11 Tips For Sound Mental Health

5. May Help in Blood Sugar Management

There are animal studies suggesting Rhodiola can help blood sugar management.
In one study, Rhodiola has been shown to lower the blood sugar of diabetic rodents by increasing glucose transporters in the blood.

 While these findings cannot be necessarily generalized to humans, these are promising data which deserve further investigation.
If you’d to take Rhodiola supplements for diabetes, it’s best to consult a physician first.

6. Promotes Heart Health

Stress hormones can put your heart health at risk. High levels of stress hormones can cause heart disease and spike your blood pressure and potassium to unhealthy levels.

Rhodiola rosea has been found to reduce corticosteroids and catecholamines in the body, weakening the effects of stress hormones on our organs including the heart.

7. Helps in Increasing Endurance

In one study, researchers gave the participants 200 mg of Rhodiola or a placebo two hours before doing a cycling exam. The average exercise duration of the Rhodiola group was 24 seconds longer than the placebo group.Small as this may seem, it is quite significant because the intervals between the first and second place in a race can be milliseconds.

In another endurance study, researchers gave participants a Rhodiola dose of 1.4 mg per pound (3 mg per kg) of body weight or a placebo pill an hour before a six-mile simulated race. The Rhodiola group finished the race significantly faster than the placebo group.

Here are some more health benefits of Rhodiola from The Mental Health Herbalist:
With its long medicinal history and the promising scientific evidence available, taking roseroot supplements is definitely worth the try. However, it is best to talk to your doctor first to make sure it suits your current lifestyle, diet, medication, and health status.

For other natural supplements and performance boosters, check out Dr. Seeds shop.

What do you think about taking Rhodiola rosea? Let us know in the comments section below!
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