Rhodiola Rosea

  • Rhodiola Rosea has been used in traditional eastern medical practices for centuries to reduce anxiety and enhance mood.
  • Several recent studies have shown Rhodiola to improve symptoms of burnout (fatigue) and anxiety.
  • Rhodiola Rosea supplementation has also been shown to protect against the negative effects of stress on cognitive function.

Rhodiola Sources 

Rhodiola Rosea is a flowering plant in the family Crassulaceae, native to cold climates primarily in the Central Asian mountains.


The active ingredients in Rhodiola Rosea are rosavins and salidroside.

Rosavin is a cinnamyl alcohol glycoside.

Salidroside (Rhodioloside) is a glucoside of tyrosol. 

Demonstrated Effects

Rhodiola Rosea may act as a mild monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), which inhibits breakdown of monoamines such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This has been shown to help with stress and cognition.


Rhodiola Rosea was associated with decreased fatigue in a group of healthy physicians working night shifts.[3]

Rhodiola rosea has been shown to decrease fatigue in 161 military cadets, as shown by the Total Antifatigue Index.[4]

Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to decrease fatigue in healthy participants, as measured by the Pines burnout scale, the Conners' computerized continuous performance test II (CCCPT II) indices and the Hit RT SE.[5]


Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to increase attention and decrease self-reported stress-related fatigue in college students taking it daily over 20 days before final exams. There were improvements in tests for neuromotoric fitness (maze test, tapping test), mental capacity (correction test), general well-being (emotional state and motivation as measured by the SAM questionnaire).[6]

Rhodiola rosea taken one hour before physical activity has been shown to improve attention in healthy individuals, as measured by the Fepsy Vigilance test.[7]

Side Effects 

Rhodiola rosea has not been shown to have addiction or withdrawal effects.

Rhodiola rosea has been associated with mild hypersalivation.[4]

Rhodiola rosea has been associated with increased sensitivity, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, headache, and rarely palpitations.[8]


Rhodiola Rosea is approved as a dietary supplement component under provisions of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. 

Published Research 

  1. Patov, S. A., Punegov, V. V., & Kuchin, A. V. (2006). Synthesis of the Rhodiola rosea glycoside rosavin. Chemistry of natural compounds, 42(4), 397-399.
  2. Kishida, M., & Akita, H. (2005). Synthesis of Rosavin and its analogues based on a Mizoroki-Heck type reaction. Tetrahedron: Asymmetry, 16(15), 2625-2630.
  3. Darbinyan, V., Kteyan, A., Panossian, A., Gabrielian, E., Wikman, G., & Wagner, H. (2000). Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue—a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine, 7(5), 365-371.
  4. Shevtsov, V. A., Zholus, B. I., Shervarly, V. I., Vol'skij, V. B., Korovin, Y. P., Khristich, M. P., ... & Wikman, G. (2003). A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work. Phytomedicine, 10(2), 95-105.
  5. Olsson, E. M., von Schéele, B., & Panossian, A. G. (2009). A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. Planta medica, 75(2), 105.
  6. Spasov, A. A., Wikman, G. K., Mandrikov, V. B., Mironova, I. A., & Neumoin, V. V. (2000). A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of the stimulating and adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract on the fatigue of students caused by stress during an examination period with a repeated low-dose regimen. Phytomedicine, 7(2), 85-89.
  7. De Bock, K., Eijnde, B. O., Ramaekers, M., & Hespel, P. (2004). Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 14, 298-307.
  8. Gerbarg, P. L., & Brown, R. P. (2013). Phytomedicines for prevention and treatment of mental health disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 36(1), 37-47.