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Botanical names: Rhodiola rosea

There are some 50 species of rhodiola, but it is the fragrant root of the species Rhodiola rosea that is used medicinally. Rhodiola rosea grows throughout the mountainous regions in the higher latitudes and elevations of the Northern hemisphere.


Used for Amount Why
Stress 170 mg daily of a standardized herbal extract Rhodiola has been shown to promote feelings of well-being and support mental function.
Anxiety 170 mg of a standardized extract twice per day Taking rhodiola has been shown to significantly improve anxiety symptoms.
Athletic Performance and General Endurance 200 mg of an herbal extract, standardized to contain 3% rosavin plus 1% salidroside, taken one hour before endurance exercise In a double-blind trial, healthy volunteers who received an extract of the herb Rhodiola rosea one hour before an endurance-exercise test saw significantly increased endurance, as measured by the time it took to become exhausted.

How It Works

Rhodiola contains a number of potentially active compounds, including phenylpropanoids (rosavin, rosin, rosarin); phenylethanol derivatives (salidroside [also known as rhodioloside], tyrosol); flavonoids (rodiolin, rodionin, rodiosin, acetylrodalgin, tricin); monoterpenes (rosiridol, rosaridin); triterpenes (daucosterol, beta-sitosterol); and phenolic acids (chlorogenic, hydroxycinnamic, and gallic acids). The presence of rosavin distinguishes the species R. rosea from other rhodiolas, and many products are standardized to rosavin content to ensure that they contain the proper species. There are numerous animal and test tube studies showing that rhodiola has both a stimulating and a sedating effect on the central nervous system (depending on intake amount); enhances physical endurance; improves thyroid, thymus, and adrenal function; protects the nervous system, heart, and liver; and has antioxidant and anticancer properties.

Side Effects

The safety of rhodiola has not been firmly established. However, rhodiola has a history of centuries of folk use and has been the subject of many clinical studies. No side effects or interactions have been reported. Animal studies indicate that rhodiola has a low level of toxicity, and that there is a huge margin of safety at the typical recommended intake amounts. There is no information available about the safety of rhodiola in pregnancy or lactation.

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known interactions with this supplement.

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