Rhodiola grows in cold regions and at high altitudes in Europe and Asia, where its roots have traditionally been used to increase resistance to physical stress.
While there are more than 200 species of rhodiola, Rhodiola rosea is considered preferable, because it contains rosavins. Supplements generally contain a minimum of 3% rosavins.
Rhodiola is considered an adaptogen, which is an agent that is believed to normalize functioning and stimulate healing of cells. It has been used to prevent fatigue and enhance physical and mental performance. Rhodiola may also provide benefit in bladder cancer, lung disease, and exercise and mental performance, but more studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Related Terms

ADAPT-232, aliphatic alcohol, Arctic Root®, benzyl alcohol, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, Chisan®, cinnamyl glycoside, Crassulaceae (family), daucosterol, Eleutherococcus senticosus Maxim, epigallocatechin, flavonoids, Full Spectrum™ Rhodiola Rosea Extract, gallic acid, galloylepigallocatechin, geraniol, geranyl acetate, geranyl formate, glucopyranosides, golden root, golden root tincture, goldenroot, goldroot, gossypetin, herbacetin, heterodendrin, hongjingtian, hydroquinone, jiangtian, kaempferol, linalool, lotaustralin, Mind Power Rx, monoterpene alcohols, monoterpene hydrocarbons, n-decanol, p-tyrosol, Passion Rx, phenylethyl alcohol, phenylpropamide, protocatechuic acid, queen's crown, REC-7004, rhamnopyranoside, rhizome, rhodakon, rhodalidin, rhodalin, Rhodax®, rhodaxon, Rhodiola algida, Rhodiola alterna, Rhodiola brevipetiolata, Rhodiola crenulata, Rhodiola dumulosa, Rhodiola Energy™, Rhodiola Extended Release, Rhodiola fastigata, Rhodiola ForceTM, rhodiola herb, Rhodiola heterodonta, Rhodiola imbricata, Rhodiola integrifolia, Rhodiolairemelica, Rhodiola kirilowii, Rhodiola quadrifilda, Rhodiola rhodantha, rhodiola root, Rhodiola sachalinensis spp., Rhodiola sacra, Rhodiola semenovii, Rhodiola tibetica, Rhodiola yunnanensis, rhodiolgidin, rhodiolgin, rhodiolin, rhodioloside rhodionidin, rhodionin, rhodioniside, rhodiooctanoside, rhodiosin, rodia riza, rodiola, rosarin, rosavin, rose root, roseroot, roseroot stonecrop, rosin, rosiridin, rosiridol, Russian golden root, Russian root, sacranoside B, salidroside, Sedum rhodiola, Sedum rosea spp., Sedum roseum, SHR-5, Siberian Rhodiola rosea, sitosterol, sterols, tannins, tyrosol, trans-hydroxycinnamic acid, volatile oil, zolotoy koren.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Adaptogen (Grade: C)
Rhodiola is considered an adaptogen. Adaptogens reportedly regulate stress resistance and increase performance, energy, and endurance. Initial results for use of rhodiola as an adaptogen are promising, but further research is required before conclusions can be made.
Anxiety (Grade: C)
Rhodiola is popularly used for anxiety and other mood-related disorders. In human research, rhodiola was found to reduce cortisol, a hormone whose levels increase during stress. Based on preliminary research, rhodiola may be beneficial in reducing anxiety; however, large, well-designed clinical trials are needed before a conclusion can be made.
Bladder cancer (Grade: C)
Preliminary research suggests that rhodiola may benefit patients with bladder cancer. Well-designed studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
Depression (Grade: C)
Rhodiola has been used traditionally to reduce depression. In preliminary study of patients with mild-to-moderate depression, the SHR-5 standardized extract of rhodiola decreased symptoms of depression. Further research is needed before conclusions can be made.
Exercise performance enhancement (Grade: C)
Limited study of rhodiola for exercise performance enhancement is promising; however, additional studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
Fatigue (Grade: C)
Rhodiola has been used to increase energy and reduce fatigue. More well-designed studies are required.
Hypoxia (lack of oxygen) (Grade: C)
Rhodiola has been hypothesized to protect against injury caused by too little oxygen. Review of human research indicates that rhodiola may improve oxygenation. More high quality research is needed.
Lung disease (acute injury) (Grade: C)
Early study suggests that rhodiola may protect the lungs from acute injury. Further studies are needed before a firm conclusion may be made.
Mental performance (during fatigue) (Grade: C)
Early study suggests that rhodiola may benefit learning, memory, and mental performance. Well-designed studies are needed before a conclusion may be made.
Tuberculosis (Grade: C)
Preliminary study suggests that the combination product Dzherelo (containing rhodiola) may benefit patients with tuberculosis. Additional research evaluating rhodiola alone is needed before a conclusion can be made.