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Rhodiola Rosea

A plant native to mountainous regions in Asia, parts of Europe, and the Arctic, Rhodiola Rosea has long been used as a healing herb. Traditionally it is often recommended to aid fatigue and restore energy.

Rhodiola has well documented qualities as an adaptogen (an endurance enhancer). In this capacity it appears to aid the body in staying healthy and performing in top condition despite physical exhaustion or environmental stresses, such as heat or air/water pollutants.

Scientists have identified over 200 different species of Rhodiola. While several different ones are used in traditional healing, Rhodiola Rosea appears to be the most clinically effective form. The root is the medicinal portion of the plant, and some sources may refer to Rhodiola Rosea as “golden root.”

What does it do?

In recent years, dozens of uses for Rhodiola Rosea have been proposed, including support for depression and fatigue, enhancing memory and intellectual capacity, increasing work performance and endurance, and stimulating the nervous system. Many of these potential benefits relate to the herb’s adaptogenic qualities.

Interestingly, Rhodiola appears to work differently within the body than other adaptogens (such as the very popular Siberian ginseng). Some current findings on the herb are as yet preliminary and relate to the complex physiological interactions in the body’s chemistry. Put simply, Rhodiola appears to work by influencing key central nervous system chemicals – neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, for example.

Some studies have shown Rhodiola benefits such varied areas as increased learning capacity and memory enhancement, regulation of menstrual periods and infertility, reduction of side effects from cancer chemotherapy, increased sexual libidio and erectile dysfunction, enhancement of thyroid gland function, increased capacity for work and endurance, and protection from environmental toxins.

What about side effects?

With high doses of Rhodiola, irritability and insomnia may be a risk. A high dose is considered to be daily intake of 1,500 to 2,000 mg and above of a Rhodiola Rosea extract containing 2% rosavin.

Rhodiola should not be taken during pregnancy or while breast-feeding; risks have not been adequately studied. Due to its stimulating nature, Rhodiola should be avoided by individuals with Bipolar Disorder.


Additional Resources:

Rhodiola Rosea : Clinical Study and Analysis
Clinical Study References
The Scienece of Rhodiola Rosea
Complementary and Alternative Medicines


National Center for Health and Wellness