The plant reaches a height of 12 to 30 inches (70cm) and produces yellow blossoms. It is a perennial with a thick rhizome, fragrant when cut.
China; Kazakhstan; Uzbekistan; Mongolia; Russian Federation; Austria; Bulgaria; Czechoslovakia; Finland; France; Greenland, Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Norway; Poland; Romania; Spain; Sweden; United Kingdom; Canada; United States.
Roseroot, Golden Root
Actions & Pharmacology
Various compounds have isolated from the root of Rhodiola rosea. These include flavonoids (rodiolin, rodionin, rodiosin, acetylrodalgin, tricin), monoterpernes (rosiridol, rosaridin), phenylpropanoids (rosavin, rosin, rosarin), triterpenes (daucosterol, beta-sitosterol), phenolic acids (chlorogenic and hydroxycinnamic, gallic acids), and phenylethanol derivatives (salidroside, rhodioloside, tyrosol).
Effects upon the central nervous system, adaptogenic, anti-stress, and neuroendocrine effects, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, cardioprotective, as well as endocrine and reproductive effects are reported.
During a 12-week drug monitoring study, efficacy and tolerability of a Rhodiola extract combined with vitamins and minerals (vigodana®) was assessed in 120 adults suffering from physical and cognitive deficiencies. The patients received a daily dose of 2 capsules. A statistically significant improvement (p<0.001) was demonstrated for physical and cognitive deficiencies. The preparation was well-tolerated (Gruenwald et al, 2007).
A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study was designed to investigate the effect of acute Rhodiola rosea intake on physical capacity, muscle strength, speed of limb movement, reaction time, and attention in healthy volunteers. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either Rhodiola rosea (200 mg Rhodiola rosea extract) or placebo (700 mg starch) over a period of 4 weeks. The results documented that Rhodiola can improve endurance exercise capacity (De Bock, et al, 2004).
The antifatigue effect of a standardized Rhodiola rosea extract (SHR-5) was demonstrated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group clinical study. A total of 161 cadets, aged 19 to 21 years, received a single dose of Rhodiola extract or placebo. Antifatigue index was significantly different in the Rhodiola group compared to placebo, indicating antifatigue effects of Rhodiola rosea (Shetsov et al, 2003).
The objective of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial was to investigate the stimulating and normalizing effect of Rhodiola rosea extract SHR-5 in 40 foreign students during a stressful examination period. The study medication or placebo was taken for 20 days. The most significant improvement in the SHR-5 group was seen in physical fitness, mental fatigue, and neuromotor tests (p<0.01). A self-assessment of general well-being was also significantly better (p<0.05) in the Rhodiola group. No significance was found in the correction of text tests or a neuromuscular tapping test (Spasov et al, 2000).
A clinical study was designed to determine the effects of repeated low-dose treatment with a standardized extract derived from Rhodiola rosea, SHR-5, on fatigue during night duty among 56 young, healthy physicians. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design was used. The effect was measured as total mental performance, calculated as Fatigue Index. A statistically significant improvement of test parameters was observed in the Rhodiola group and no side effects were reported. The results suggest that Rhodiola rosea extract can reduce general fatigue under certain stressful conditions (Darbinyan et al, 2000).
Indications & Usage
Traditional folk medicine used R. rosea to increase physical endurance, work productivity, longevity, resistance to high altitude sickness, and to treat fatigue, depression, anemia, impotence, gastrointestinal ailments, infections, and nervous system disorders.
Rhodiola may be helpful in relieving mental and physical fatigue and improving endurance exercise performance and general well-being.
Rhodiola rosea has demonstrated very low occurrences of side effects, and available clinical evidence suggests it has a low toxicity. There are currently no contraindications with prescription medications. Most users find that it improves their mood, energy level, and mental clarity. R. rosea should be taken early in the day because it can interfere with sleep or cause vivid dreams (not nightmares) during the first few weeks. It is contraindicated in excited states.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
Because R. rosea has an activating, antidepressant effect, it should not be used in individuals with bipolar disorder who are vulnerable to becoming manic when given antidepressants or stimulants.
Rhodiola does not appear to interact with other medications, although it may have additive effects when taken with other stimulants.
50 to 200mg per day is recommended for clinical effectiveness.
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