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Rhodiola Rosea: The Beautiful “Rose” that Thrives in Freezing, Arctic Regions

5 min read time

Rhodiola Rosea: The Beautiful “Rose” that Thrives in Freezing, Arctic Regions


If you are like most people in the Western world, you probably haven't heard of Rhodiola.

That’s because this amazing adaptogen herb, which flourishes in some of the harshest regions of Siberia, northeastern Russia, and the mountains of central Asia, has been a closely guarded secret among local healers since it was rediscovered several decades ago.

This pretty, pink, rose-like herb isn’t just admired for its looks -- it’s cherished for its amazing health properties such as improving physical performance, mental health, cardiovascular protection, enhancing memory and clear thinking. 

Too good to be true?

Keep reading to find out why you shouldn’t underestimate this incredible herb.

Known as “King’s Crown,” What Exactly Is Rhodiola Rosea?


Rhodiola Rosea is a perennial flowering herb in the crassulaceae family. It’s also commonly known as ‘golden root’ and ‘king’s crown’ for good reason.

This beautiful herb has pink, red, or yellowish flowers -- giving it the kingly crown structure. 

While Rhodiola Rosea has no biological relation to the popular rose, its lovely, rose-like aroma makes it the preferred alternative to rose oil -- one of the most popular essential oils.  Several active compounds in Rhodiola Rosea are used as fragrances in essential oils as well as for their antiseptic uses and disinfectant properties. 

But here’s where it gets very interesting, and has the power to make you healthier -- both mentally and physically. 

Can Rhodeola Really Increase Brain Power?


Rhodiola’s healing powers are primarily due to its biologically active substances. 

These substances (such as rosin, salidroside, and rosarin) produce the plant’s primary therapeutic effects which are mainly found in its strong underground stem and roots.

These active compounds have undergone hundreds of pharmaceutical studies due to their positive impact on the central nervous system. This extensive research has shown that the herb improves concentration while boosting other mental, as well as physical powers. 

Additionally, flavonoids found in Rhodiola are used to enhance cell signaling pathways and are used for their antioxidant effects.

Many Traditional Uses: from Russian Wedding Bouquets to Treating Flu, Cold, Fatigue, Anxiety, Depression & More


The beautiful Rhodiola flowers have long been used as bouquets in Russian weddings to symbolize good health and increased fertility.   Siberian people marketed Rhodiola for fruit, wine, honey, and garlic. 

In Central Asia, Rhodiola was found to be a very effective remedy for preventing and treating flu and cold.  

 Mongolian health professionals would prescribe it for cancer and tuberculosis. 

And peoples in northern Asia effectively used Rhodiola Rosea to treat  fatigue, anxiety, infections, headache, anemia, depression, and even stress-related impotence.

Modern Uses of Rhodiola Rosea


Today, people use Rhodiola as a dietary supplement because Rhodiola has been shown to:

  • Boost energy, strength, and stamina
  • Reduce stress-related hormones  
  • Help students perform better under stress
  • Boost endorphins, the body’s feel-good compounds
  • Increase the body’s ability to cope with stress
  • Improve memory and learning capacity
  • Enhance sexual enhancement
  • Balance the endocrine and nervous systems
  • Assist in weight loss
  • Lower psychic anxiety and fatigue
  • Prevent ischemic brain damage and lung damage

Recent Studies Reveal Health Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea


1. Lowers Stress

A study published in Alternative Medicine Review stated that Rhodiola represents promise as an adaptogen. A 2005 article supported this claim by terming Rhodiola as a “versatile adaptogen.” According to these studies, this herb can enhance stress resistance.

2. Reduces Depression Symptoms

Research suggests Rhodiola may lower signs of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder). In 2015, a study in Phytomedicine found that Rhodiola decreased symptoms of depressions. The researchers also found that its effects were relatively mild. Therefore, they concluded that Rhodiola would be an ideal treatment for mild to moderate depression.

3. Enhances Physical & Mental Performance 

Some people consume Rhodiola before exercise to improve physical performance or as a method to boost thinking and concentration. There are also claims that it can help in lowering physical as well as mental fatigue.  

A 2009 review stated that women who took Rhodiola were able to run faster than those who consumed a placebo. Another separate study on Rhodiola indicated the herb’s potential to improve physical and mental performance. The authors of the experiment concluded that more research is required to further prove its effects.

4. Prevents Burnout

The WHO (World Health Organization) has categorized burnout as a disease. A recent clinical study found that Rhodiola Rosea can boost all significant symptoms of burnout within a week. Australian researchers performed this clinical trial on patients between the age of 30 to 60 who were experiencing burnout.

During the test, people were given 200 mg of Rhodiola extract twice a day for three months. The analysis revealed significant decreases in the symptoms of burnout. 

The Strength of Rhodiola Rosea Is Its Adaptogen Family


Similar to the more well-known adaptogen herbs such as Panax ginseng and Eleuthero, Rhodiola is so effective that it has been valued as a “kingly” adaptogen over the centuries.  

And because Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb, researchers recommend you consume Rhodiola along with other adaptogen herbs because this very special class of powerful herbs have been shown to be most effective when combined with other adaptogens.   


  1. Clinical Overview of Rhodiola - https://www.drugs.com/npp/rhodiola-rosea.html
  2. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health - https://nccih.nih.gov/health/rhodiola
  3. US Food and Drug Administration Warning Letter - https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/natures-health-llc-473487-12022015
  4. Adaptogens in Medicinal Herbalism, Donald Yance, CN, MH, RH(AHG)
  5. Saratikov and Krasnov “Stimulative properties of Rhodiola Rosea”; Darbinyan, Kteyan, Panossian, et al., “Rhodiola Rosea in stress-induced fatigue”; Kucinskaite, Briedis, and Savickas, “Experimental analysis of therapeutic properties of Rhodiola Rosea”; and K. De Bock, B. O. Eijnde, M. Ramaekers, and P. Hespel, “Acute Rhodiola Rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance,” International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
  6. Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism - https://books.google.co.in/books?id=PF8oDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT693&lpg=PT693&dq=Rhodiola+also+contains+amino+acids,+vitamins,+minerals,+and+trace+elements&source=bl&ots=qoL1vYmDvS&sig=ACfU3U2AbRNV8qwQ2aflG5BTvuJnYQ5fbg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjho_Dh-ZHoAhW6I7cAHaJABaMQ6AEwBHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
  7. Maslova, Kondrat’ev, Maslov, and Lishmanov, “The cardioprotective and antiadrenergic activity.”
  8. The Effects of Rhodiola Rosea L. Extract on Anxiety, Stress, Cognition and Other Mood Symptoms - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26502953
  9. Stress management and the role of Rhodiola Rosea: a review - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29325481
  10. Rhodiola Rosea: A Possible Plant Adaptogen - http://www.altmedrev.com/archive/publications/6/3/293.pdf
  11. Rhodiola as a Versatile Adaptogen - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2005.tb00073.x
  12. A Pilot Study of Rhodiola Rosea for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2007.7117
  13. Rhodiola versus Sertraline for Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4385215/
  14. The effects of an acute dose of Rhodiola Rosea on exercise performance and cognitive function - https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-6-S1-P14
  15. The effectiveness and efficacy of Rhodiola Rosea L.: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21036578
  16. Rhodiola Rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3541197
  17. Antihyperglycemic action of Rhodiola-aqueous extract in type1-like diabetic rats - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897963/
  18. The GLUT4 Glucose Transporter - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413107000678
  19. Rhodiola Rosea extracts and salidroside decrease the growth of bladder cancer cell lines via inhibition of the mTOR pathway and induction of autophagy - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21520297
  20. Salidroside induces apoptosis and autophagy in human colorectal cancer cells through inhibition of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27748934
  21. Rhodiola crenulata induces death and inhibits the growth of breast cancer cell lines - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18800886
  22. Effects of over-expression of ANXA10 gene on proliferation and apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HepG2 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23073794
  23. Rhodiola Can Relieve Burnout as per Life Extension Magazine- https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2019/10/rhodiola-combats-burnout
  24. Rhodiola Rosea Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder: A Study Protocol for a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial - https://www.longdom.org/open-access/rhodiola-rosea-therapy-for-major-depressive-disorder-a-study-protocol-for-a-randomized-doubleblind-placebo-controlled-trial-2167-0870.1000170.pdf
Rhodiola Rosea is a herb or plant that grows in the cold, mountainous areas of Asia and Europe. This plant’s roots are known as adaptogens, which means they can help your body fight against stress when consumed. Rhodiola is used for several health conditions, but to date, there’s no enough scientific research to identify whether or not it is ideal for any of them.

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Rhodiola Rosea is a herb or plant that grows in the cold, mountainous areas of Asia and Europe. This plant’s roots are known as adaptogens, which means they can help your body fight against stress when consumed. Rhodiola is used for several health conditions, but to date, there’s no enough scientific research to identify whether or not it is ideal for any of them.

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