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Scientific Name:
Rhodiola rosea
Family Name:
Common Name:
rhodiola, rosenroot
Evidence for Efficacy (Human Data)
Clinical Trials
Clinical evidence supporting use of Rhodiola rosea to reduce symptoms of stress or stress conditions, including cognitive function, mental performance, fatigue, and burnout. is reviewed. Stojcheva 2022
In this meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies, the authors concluded that Rhodiola rosea improved pulse oxygen saturation and reduced incidence of acute mountain sickness in individuals at high altitude better than Ginkgo biloba extract but less effectively than acetazolamide and dexamethasone. [Article in Chinese] Yang 2021
In a controlled study, (N=72), Rhodiola rosea injection for 2 weeks exhibited a protective effect against acute severe carbon monoxide poisoning by protecting myocardial endothelial cell injury, improving cardiac function, and protecting damaged myocardium in patients with delayed encephalopathy. Gao 2021
In a randomized controlled trial, administration of a herbal formula composed of Rhodiola rosea and two other adaptogens adjunctive to non-surgical periodontal treatment improved measures of periodontitis and microcirculation parameters in patients with chronic generalized periodontitis (N = 40) during the 6-month follow-up, compared to non-surgical periodontal treatment alone. Dzampaeva 2021
A combination of magnesium, B vitamins, green tea, and rhodiola significantly attenuated subjective stress, anxiety/mood disturbance, and subjective and autonomic arousal, while augmenting EEG theta brain activity, indicative of a relaxed, alert state, in moderately stressed healthy adults, compared to placebo (N = 100). Boyle 2021
A combination of Rhaponticum carthamoides and Rhodiola rosea extracts (175-350 mg) taken one time orally before exercise improved feeling, mood, and arousal, but did not influence performance fatigability during high-intensity, repeated muscle actions in men (N = 30), compared to placebo. Ryan 2020
A combination of Rhodiola rosea and black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) extracts was more effective for the relief of menopausal symptoms in women with menopause (N = 220), compared with black cohosh alone and placebo. Pkhaladze 2020
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N = 100), administration of Rhodiola capsules (0.3-0.6 g/day, for 12 weeks) in addition to sertraline dose-dependently improved depression scores in patients with mild to moderate major depressive disorder. Gao 2020
A supplement containing Rhodiola rosea and Cordyceps sinensis appeared to improve sprint performance, bench press lifting volume, and total workload, but not overall training outcomes, body composition, or health biomarkers in healthy exercising young men (N = 21), compared to placebo. Kreipke 2020
Rhodiola rosea, administered for 3 months, decreased self-reported depression and anxiety rates, serum malondialdehyde levels, and increased serum superoxide dismutase activity, in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. [Article in Chinese] Yu 2019
In a randomized controlled trial (n = 30), Rhodiola rosea (3 months) plus non-invasive ventilator or breathing reduced anxiety and depression scores in patients with obstructive sleep apnea; however, the scores increased in those administered rhodiola alone. [Article in Chinese] Yu 2019
A protocol is presented for a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials conducted on the use of Herba Rhodiolae (rhodiola) for the treatment of unstable angina pectoris. Fan 2018
Intake of a Rhodiola rosea extract (500 mg) was found to modulate cortical plasticity, preventing activity-dependent degradation of neuronal synaptic function, in healthy human subjects. Concerto 2018
Rhodiola rosea extract (600 mg/day) enhanced mental performance and increased plasma total antioxidant capacity but did not affect physical endurance or hormonal levels in healthy young males. Jówko 2018
Short-term supplementation with a Rhodiola rosea extract (1,500 mg/day for 3 days + 500 mg before the test) enhanced anaerobic exercise performance in physically active college aged females. Ballmann 2018
A combination of extracts of Rhodiola rosea (308 mg/day) and Crocus sativus (30 mg/day), administered for 6 weeks, decreased depression and anxiety scores (significant from 2 weeks) in 85.4% of patients, in a preliminary study conducted with general practitioners. Bangratz 2018
Burnout: A Multicenter Exploratory Clinical Trial With a Proprietary Extract of Rhodiola rosea in Patients With Burnout Syndrome. [No abstract] Ross 2018
A Rhodiola rosea standardized extract (SHR-5; 432 mg/day for 8 days) enhanced heat acclimation in young healthy males similarly to the placebo. Timpmann 2017
A Rhodiola rosea extract (WS® 1375, Rosalin; 400 mg/day for 12 weeks) improved various measures of the burnout syndrome in an exploratory, open-label, multicenter trial. The incidence of adverse events is reported to be low, with 0.015 events per observation day. Kasper 2017
A dry ethanolic extract of Rhodiola rosea (WS® 1375; 2 x 200 mg, for 8 weeks) improved fatigue symptoms in subjects with prolonged or chronic fatigue in an open-label trial, with the greatest change observed after 1 week of the treatment. Lekomtseva 2017
A mixture of a Rhodiola sp. extract, oligo-hyaluronic acid, tranexamic acid, β-glucan, and copper-GHK, administered via an epidermal peeling device, reduced pigmentation, erythema, as well as melanin index, while increasing upper dermal collagen levels, in human volunteers. Chae 2017
Rhodiola rosea, folic acid, biotin and zinc combination improved ejaculatory control in patients affected by lifelong premature ejaculation. Cai 2016
Rhodiola rosea vs. placebo improved psychomotor vigilance task performance and memory accuracy in human volunteers (total n=112), by itself and, additively, with Ginkgo biloba. Al-Kuraishy 2015
A Rhodiola rosea preparation (Vitano®; 2 x 200-mg tablets a day, for 14 days) reduced self-reported measures of anxiety, stress, anger, confusion, and depression, and improved total mood, in mildly anxious individuals. Cropley 2015
Marathon runners who ingested Rhodiola rosea (600 mg/day for 30 days prior to, and 7 days post-marathon), showed antiviral activity in their serum collected post marathon. Ahmed 2015
Rhodiola rosea extract showed therapeutic effects in the treatment of major depressive disorder; the effects were less potent than those of sertraline, but were associated with fewer adverse events (30.0% vs. 63.2%), suggesting a favorable risk to benefit ratio. Mao 2015
A protocol for a randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled trial comparing the efficacy and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract (340-1,360 mg/day), sertraline (50-200 mg/day), and placebo for the treatment of major depressive disorder is described. Mao 2014
Rhodiola rosea (364 mg, 1-2 times daily for 42 days) was found to worsen fatigue in nursing students on shift work, compared to placebo, although the authors recommend that results should be interpreted with caution. Punja 2014
A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (n=7) of chronic stable angina treatment with Rhodiola is presented. [Article in Chinese] Chu 2014
A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (n=13), published in both English and Chinese, on the efficacy and safety of Rhodiola in the treatment of ischemic heart disease (angina pectoris) are presented. Yu 2014
Rhodiola rosea (SHR-5), Part 2: A standardized extract of Rhodiola rosea is shown to be effective in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. [No abstract] Ross 2014
Rhodiola rosea (SHR-5), Part I: a proprietary root extract of Rhodiola rosea is found to be effective in the treatment of stress-related fatigue. [No abstract] Ross 2014
Acute Rhodiola rosea ingestion decreased perceived exertion, while increasing arousal and pleasure after exercise and mood state scores for vigor, without affecting energy expenditure, carbohydrate, or fat oxidation, in exercising men. Duncan 2014
Supplementation with Rhodiola rosea (600mg/day for 30 days) did not affect marathon race performance, post-marathon muscle soreness, or muscle damage in competitive runners. Shanely 2014
Rhodiola rosea augmented the decrease in IFN-γ levels and slowed down upregulation of IL-1 family cytokines in the head-down bed rest at -6° model of spaceflight. Xu 2013
Evidence of efficacy of chronic use (more than 1 day) of Rhodiola rosea was found in the review of plant-based preparations for anxiety disorders. Sarris 2013
An acute oral dose of 3mg/kg of Rhodiola rosea decreased heart rate response to submaximal exercise and perceived exertion and improved endurance exercise performance (25.4±2.7 min vs. 25.8±3.0 min; p = 0.037) in human subjects on a bicycle ergometer. Noreen 2013
Rhodiola rosea roots are shown to be an effective therapy for the treatment of the burnout syndrome, according to the systematic review of the clinical data. The analysis was complicated partly due to lack of consensus on the diagnosis of the condition. Korczak 2012
Treatment with the Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 (200mg twice daily for 4 weeks) improved stress symptoms, disability, functional impairment, and had an overall therapeutic effect, starting with day 4, in a non-randomized, open-label study in stressed human subjects. Edwards 2012
A systematic review of clinical evidence of efficacy and safety of R. rosea for physical and mental fatigue. Ishaque 2012
Salidroside (600 mg/day, starting 1 week before chemotherapy) prevented chemotherapy-induced left ventricular region systolic dysfunction and oxidative stress in breast cancer patients. Zhang 2012
Significant improvement of depressive symptoms, induced by Rhodiola, is reported in a systematic review of trials utilizing herbal medicine, other than St. John's wort, for the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression. Dwyer 2011
Rhodiola rosea may have beneficial effects on physical performance, mental performance, and certain mental health conditions, according to the meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials, with the noted lack of independent study replications. Hung 2011
Preliminary evidence of positive antidepressant effects of Rhodiola rosea was found in a systematic review of clinical trials on the use of herbal medicine for depression, anxiety and insomnia. Sarris 2011
Administration of a Rhodiola rosea capsule for 15 days significantly reduced symptoms of de-adaptation (fatigue, drowsiness, chest tightness, palpitations, vertigo, lack of attention, and memory loss) in Chinese soldiers returning from a high altitude environment. [Article in Chinese] Shi 2011
Efficacy of Phytomix-40, a combination of 40 plant extracts, including Rhodiola rosea, was demonstrated in patients with Parkinson's disease. Bocharov 2010
Rhodiola rosea supplementation for 4 weeks decreased blood lactate, plasma creatine kinase (skeletal muscle damage marker), and plasma free fatty acid levels, not affecting measures of physical performance, in trained athletes. Parisi 2010
A single 270-mg dose of ADAPT-232 (a standardised combination of Rhodiola rosea, Schisandra chinensis, and Eleutherococcus senticosus) improved attention, speed, and accuracy in an attention test in stressed healthy females. Aslanyan 2010
Rhodiola rosea (cryopowder) facilitated activation of the energy-supplying mechanisms in the cardiorespiratory system and prevented fatigue during continuous physical activity (bicycle ergometry), in humans. [Article in Russian] Evdokimov 2009
Clinical evidence of stress-protective activity of Rhodiola rosea (SHR-5) and other adaptogens is reviewed. The effects are associated with modulation of the "stress-sensor" molecular chaperone Hsp70, which in turn controls the expression of NO synthase II and, indirectly, cortisol production. Panossian 2009
A Rhodiola rosea extract (100 mg twice daily for 4 weeks) increased the total plasma antioxidant capacity, while reducing erythrocyte superoxide dismutase activity directly after and 24 hours post-exercise, in professional Polish rowers. Skarpanska-Stejnborn 2009
Clinical studies performed with Rhodiola rosea extract to date are criticized for considerable design and reporting flaws. Blomkvist 2009
Supplementation with Rhodiola rosea (SHR-5) for 1 week decreased ultra-weak photon emission from the dorsal side of the hands, as well as reducing fatigue, in human subjects. Schutgens 2009
SHR-5 (576 mg/day for 28 days), a standardized extract of Rhodiola rosea roots, showed significant effects on fatigue and attention, and modified the cortisol response to awakening in the double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase III trial, in burnout patients with fatigue syndrome. Olsson 2009
A Rhodila rosea extract and L-carnosine preparation, applied topically twice a day for 28 days, improved skin barrier function in sensitive skin volunteers, and restored to normal the levels of neuropeptides and cytokines produced by keratinocytes exposed to ultraviolet radiation in vitro. Dieamant Gde 2008
A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study found that standardized extract SHR-5 of rhizomes of Rhodiola rosea L. shows anti-depressive potency in patients with mild to moderate depression when administered in dosages of either 340 or 680 mg/day over a 6-week period. Darbinyan 2007
The effects of a formula containing Cordyceps sinensis and Rhodiola rosea on circulatory dynamics, specifically muscle tissue oxygen saturation, in 8 male subjects during maximal exercise was examined which showed no significant enhancement of muscle tissue oxygen saturation. Colson 2005
A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study in 60 acute non-specific pneumonia patients with & without Chisan, a combination of 3 extracts including Rhodiola rosea, revealed that Chisan can be recommended as an adjuvant to increase the quality-of-life & to expedite recovery of patients. Narimanian 2005
Rhodiola rosea extract exhibited an antiinflammatory effect and protected muscle tissue during exercise in healthy untrained volunteers. Abidov 2004
Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise capacity in 24 young healthy volunteers. This response was not altered by prior daily 4-week Rhodiola intake. De Bock 2004
A 2-wk ingestion schema of a commercial herbal-based formula which includes 300 mg Rhodiola rosea is insufficient to elicit positive changes in cycling performance. Earnest 2004
A study with 76 patients revealed that composite Rhodiolae has good preventive and treatment effect in treating complicated acute lung injury during extracorporeal circulation (cardiopulmonary bypass) in patients with pulmonary hypertension. [Article in Chinese] Xu 2003
A clinical study with an extra non-treatment group to measure the effect of a single dose of standardized SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract on capacity for mental work against a background of fatigue and stress found a pronounced antifatigue effect for the 2 dosage groups. Shevtsov 2003
Two dietary supplements investigated of which one was Rhodiola rosea did not have a significant effect on blood oxygenation after 60 minutes of sedentary hypoxic exposure in 15 volunteers (ages 20-33). Wing 2003
Both rhodiola and acetazolamide were effective in modulating sleep quality in young men living at high altitude, but there was no synergistic effect between rhodiola and acetazolamide. Ha 2002
Rhodaxon, adaptogen preparation based on Rhodiola rosea extract improved the physical and intellectual working capacity and psychoemotional state of foreign students during their study in a Russian high school. Spasov 2000
Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of students during examinations found group given Rhodiola rosea extract SHR-5 had greater physical fitness, less mental fatigue, better performance in neuro-motor tests (p <0.01) and self-assessment of well-being (p< 0.05). Spasov 2000a
Double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR/5 of rhizome of Rhodiola rosea with a repeated low-dose regimen improved the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. There were no reported side effects. Darbinyan 2000
Rhodiola rosea extract given orally to 12 patients with superficial bladder carcinoma associated with improved urothelial tissue integration, parameters of leukocyte integrins and T-cell immunity. Reduced frequency of relapses in patients, though statistical differences were not significant. Bocharova 1995
History of Record
ORIGINAL RESEARCH BY: Michael Tims, PhD Candidate
February 2003
MAJOR REVISION BY: J Mohanasundaram, MD, PhD
May 2007
November 2022