Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract

Rhodiola Rosea is a highly sought after herbal ingredient that has gained quite a bit of popularity thanks to its rich history in Chinese medicine and Scandinavian tradition. Find out everything there is to know about this herbal extract in this complete guide.

What is Rhodiola Rosea?

Rhodiola Rosea is a perennial flowering plant that grows in rocky and cold high altitude areas. It is common to find in the arctic regions of Alaska, Asia, and Europe. Take note also that there are plants that belong to the Rhodiola genera such as Scutellaria Baicalensis, Rose Essential Oil, and Rosmarinic Acid, but they shouldn’t be confused with Rhodiola Rosea.

Traditionally, the flowers of Rhodiola Rosea have been used to make herbal tea. In some cultures, the plant’s succulent leaves are also a delicacy. However, the root is the part that has been used as an herbal medicine for over 3000 years.

Rhodiola Rosea contains chemical compounds such as flavonoids, rosavins, and salidrosides. These are the main active ingredients that work synergistically to produce the plant’s therapeutic effects. R. Rosea is said to be an adaptogen, a term coined by Russian toxicologist N.V. Lazarev in 1947. Adaptogens help the body to adopt against or resist a variety of conditions.

This herb goes by many names other than Rhodiola Rosea. It’s common to come across terms such as arctic root, golden root, rose root, or Northern ginseng, all of which refer to R. Rosea.

Uses of Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea has a legendary history that dates back hundreds of years. Medical properties of this plant were documented by famous Greek physician Dioscorides as early as 77AD. Over the ages, news of the medicinal benefits of this plant spread like wildfire. Rumors are told of how Vikings used Rhodiola Rosea to boost physical strength and stamina before going to battle. Chinese emperors organized expeditions to Siberia for samples of the “golden root”, which would later on be used to concoct medical preparations. For centuries, the people of central Asia have taken herbal tea prepared with Rhodiola Rosea as an effective remedy for colds and flu. In addition, physicians in Mongolia prescribed this herb to cancer and tuberculosis patients.

The Soviet Union played a big role in pushing research on R. Rosea while trying to stay ahead of the West in Olympic sport, military development, space exploration, medicine, and science industries. In modern times, this herb has become a popular ingredient in alternative medicine.

There are many claims on the health benefits of this plant, some of which include reduction in stress and mental fatigue, faster recovery from exhaustion, improved cognitive function, increased physical strength, and improvement of sexual function.

Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract Health Benefits and Studies

Some concerns have been raised over how effective Rhodiola Rosea is at rendering its therapeutic effects. Much of the doubt that clouds this herbs efficacy stems from the fact that there aren’t many rigorously designed studies to back up its purported medicinal attributes. However, early evidence suggests that Rhodiola Rosea can be an effective treatment for a variety of conditions as listed below.

Mental and Physical Fatigue Remedy

Researchers in Eastern Europe have conducted quite a number of preliminary investigations into the effects of R. Rosea on mental and physical health. One study that lasted 12 weeks evaluated how the plant along with other vitamins would affect 120 adults struggling with physical and cognitive deficiencies. Up to 80% of subjects rated the supplementation as having a good or very good effect on their cognitive and physical function.

Stress Reliever

Clinical trials suggest that Rhodiola Rosea has the ability to alleviate stress. Some researchers found that this herb affects cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. For instance, a double-blind placebo controlled study conducted in 2009 Sweden to investigate the stress relieving effects of R. Rosea amongst persons aged between 20 and 55. According to the study, the group that got Rhodiola Rosea had significantly lower cortisol levels than the placebo test subjects. What’s more, R. Rosea was shown to increase alertness amongst individuals suffering from burn out.

Similar results were found in a different Chinese study that tested the effects of Rhodiola Rosea and Gingko Biloba on healthy individuals. Cortisol levels remained the same in test subjects that took both herbs whereas the placebo group saw a sharp rise in stress hormones.

Remedy for Depression

Based on animal studies, Rhodiola Rosea seems to enhance the transport of serotonin into the brain. This chemical neurotransmitter has a wide range of functions. When balanced, it induces a sense of metal ease and contentment. As a result, this herb might improve the state of depressed individuals when taken as a daily supplement and the degree of improvement in preliminary evidence appears to be quite promising.

For instance, one study tested the effects of R. Rosea on individuals with mild to severe depression. Test subjects were given 340mg or 680mg of the herb over a 6-week period. After analyzing test subjects using the BDI and HAMD rating scales, researchers found that the treatment reduced all symptoms of depression such as emotional instability and insomnia.

Erectile Dysfunction and Premature Ejaculation

One of the therapeutic effects of taking Rhodiola Rosea is an increase in sexual desire. Some health experts have reported to WebMD that R. Rosea helps to improve erections, response to orgasms, satisfaction, and pleasure. In another study conducted in the Soviet Union, 35 men struggling with premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction were put on a dose of 150-200mg or Rhodiola Rosea. After a 3-month period, up to 26 test subjects saw a big improvement in sexual activity.

There isn’t enough conclusive research to support the sexual function boosting effects of Rhodiola Rosea. However, if you’re suffering from low libido or performance anxiety due to stress, fatigue or depression, then this herb can improve your sex life.

Other Health Benefits

Both animal and human preliminary trails show that Rhodiola Rosea may have other many health benefits besides its energy boosting, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety effects. For instance, some studies have found that this herb seems to inhibit growth of cancer cells, correct enzyme imbalances, and delay aging. However, further conclusive studies are required in order to prove these claims.

Rhodiola Rosea Possible Side Effects and Recommended Dosage

Roseroot is considered both safe and non-addictive. That said, however, it could cause side effects such as irritability, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, hypersalivation, and restlessness. These unpleasant side effects tend to manifest mostly when R. Rosea is taken in too high a dose or over a long period. Feelings of jitteriness when taking this herb after a spike in blood sugar have also been reported. For this reason, it’s advisable to take Rhodiola Rosea on an empty stomach followed by a low-sugar meal.

The side effects mentioned above can be avoided by simply sticking to the recommended safe dosage of 50mg to 680mg per day. However, some people exhibit a high sensitivity to the drug and therefore they can only tolerate very low doses. Generally, increasing the dose gradually is a recommended approach. This gives your body time to get accustomed to the herb.

Typically, those who take Rhodiola do so in cycles. For example, one cycle may involve 3 weeks on the herb and 1 week off. The basis of this approach is to reduce the chances of developing side effects that may result due to long-term exposure to the chemical compounds found in R. Rosea.

Best Practices for Buying Rhodiola Rosea

When looking to buy Rhodiola Rosea, it’s important to educate yourself on how to get the best extract from the numerous available brands. With that in mind, here are a few tips that will help you make an informed buying decision.

1. Read the label to make sure that you are buying a standardized form of Rhodiola Rosea. This herb is mostly available in capsule and tablet form. Standardized doses contain 3% Rosavin and 1% Salidroside extract concentration The 3:1 ratio of these active compounds (also known as the SHR-5 extract) is the most well researched formulation but have introduced new concentrations in the market to serve different uses. Rhodiola Rosea can be taken as a tonic, tea, tincture, or liquid extract as well, depending on preferences. With these non-standardized forms, it can be difficult to determine the actual concentration of Rosavin and Salidroside.

2. Buy Rhodiola Rosea from a trusted brand. Some health food stores and pharmacies sell Rhodiola Rosea root extract but the easiest way to buy this herb is on the Internet. There are many online stores to choose from which give buyers the opportunity to find great bargains. However, it’s imperative to settle for a reputable brand of Rhodiola Rosea. Some stores like Amazon provide user reviews on various Rhodiola Rosea formulations. Reading what other people have to say about a given product they have used in one of the best ways to do your research. It’s also wise to choose companies that stand behind their product by offering customers a money back guarantee.


While it’s not as well-known as other popular herbal extracts, Rhodiola Rosea is indeed a force to be reckoned with in the alternative medicine industry. It deserves serious consideration as a general health supplement and potential remedy for a variety of conditions.

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