Rhodiola rosea: Benefits, Side Effects, And Dosage

Medically reviewed by Vd. Naveen Sharma, BAMS Vd. Naveen Sharma Vd. Naveen SharmaBAMS facebook_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Last Updated on

Consider this – what if you found something that burns fat, boosts your brain power, fights fatigue, cuts down depression and anxiety, and replenishes your energy? What if I say that there is one ingredient that’s a prized magic bullet for improving your overall health? And what if I said that I am not joking and pretty serious about this? Well, then let me introduce you to this magic herb called Rhodiola rosea.

Table Of Contents

What Is Rhodiola rosea?

Commonly known as ‘Golden Root,’ ‘Arctic Root,’ ‘Rose Root,’ ‘King’s Crown,’ and ‘Aaron’s Rod’ around various parts of the world, Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea) belongs to Rhodiola genus of the Crassulaceae plant family. This herb usually appears at high altitudes in the Arctic area and across Eastern Europe and Asia, particularly in the Northern latitudes. For many centuries, this unique herb has held a prominent place in traditional medicine systems across Asia, Europe, and Russia. It was in 77 C.E when the Greek physician Dioscorides first recorded the medicinal usage of Rodia riza, which was later renamed as Rhodiola rosea by Linnaeus (1).

This is an adaptogenic herb, which means that it can help your body adapt to any environmental, physical, or chemical stress by regulating the hormonal changes associated with that particular stress factor (2). A study suggests that Rhodiola rosea acts on opioid neuropeptides and beta-endorphins (produced in some of the neurons) to improve the stress tolerance of your body, thus affecting other factors that improve your stress adaptation levels (3).

There are at least 40 different chemical compounds present in this herb that make it unique and effective. However, a study claims that the pharmacological effect of this herb is due to the presence of two active compounds called salidroside and rosavin. While all the other species of Rhodiola contains salidroside, rosavin is only found in R. rosea (4), (5).

Now, let’s explore how this herb can change your life.

Back To TOC

Benefits Of Rhodiola rosea

1. Helps You Burn Belly Fat

A study involving rats found that R. rosea (when combined with another fruit extract) reduced visceral fat (fat stored in your belly) by 30%. It concluded that this herb could be an effective treatment for controlling obesity (6). So, even though you might exercise regularly to lose weight, add Rhodiola rosea supplements to your routine to give you that extra edge in your weight loss journey.

2. Helps Reduce Anxiety And Depression And Improves Your Brain Function

This is another excellent benefit of Rhodiola rosea. In a clinical trial involving 150 people suffering from depression, the researchers gave them Rhodiola rosea for about a month. By the end of the month, about two-thirds of the participants were completely free from any signs and symptoms of depressive disorders (7).

Another trial involving people with mild anxiety found that those who were administered Rhodiola rosea extracts reported a significant reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression and improvement in their overall mood (8).

A study on animals found that Rhodiola rosea can repair damaged neurons in the hippocampus (a part of the brain associated with your memory, emotions, and reactions), thus improving your brain functions (7).

3. Helps Reduce Stress

Helps Reduce Stress
Image: Shutterstock

As I mentioned earlier, this is an adaptogen herb, so it helps your body resist or fight stress in certain ways.

A study explored the effects of Rhodiola rosea on 101 people. The subjects suffered from work or personal life-related stress issues, and they were given 400 mg of the extract every day for four weeks. Just after 3 days, the subjects saw a significant reduction in their stress-related symptoms, such as anxiety, exhaustion, and fatigue (9).

In another study, researchers found that it also reduces stress-induced burnout and replenishes your energy (10).

4. Increases Your Energy Levels And Improves Athletic Performance

Whether you are into sports or workout regularly, Rhodiola rosea can help in shooting up your energy levels and improve your performance.

Rhodiola rosea increases the red blood cell count in your body, which leads to an increase in the level of oxygen in the cells in your tissues and muscles. This dramatically improves your physical endurance and stamina (11).

It also has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in the recovery process of your muscles, thus improving your endurance levels (12).

5. Has Anticancer Properties

Research indicates that the salidroside found in Rhodiola rosea can inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells.

It was also observed that salidroside fosters cell apoptosis (cell death) and induces autophagy (the process of cell destruction in your body), thus preventing further proliferation of cancer cells (13). It also helps in inhibiting the growth of bladder cancer (14).

6. Improves Libido

One study tested and compared two dosages of R. rosea on 120 men between the ages of 50 and 89 years. The dosage was provided along with other vitamins and minerals for 12 weeks. By the end of the study, the researchers noted a significant improvement in their libido along with other issues, such as sleep disturbance, daytime sleepiness, exhaustion, and other cognitive complaints (15).

7. A Potent Anti-Aging Herb

A Potent Anti-Aging Herb
Image: Shutterstock

Several studies have claimed the age-defying effects of R. rosea extract. A group of researchers studied the effect of R. rosea extracts on the lifespan of fruit flies. It found that this herb was successful in extending the lifespan of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) by reducing oxidative stress and boosting the fly’s resistance to stress (16).

Apart from the fruit fly, R. rosea extracts also improved the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans (a worm) and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (a type of yeast) (17).

8. Treats Erectile Dysfunction And Amenorrhea

In a study involving 35 men suffering from erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, it was found that 26 out of 35 men responded positively to R. rosea. Upon being given 150-200 mg of the extract for 3 months, they noticed an improvement in their sexual function.

In another pre-clinical investigation, 40 women suffering from amenorrhea (absence of menstrual cycle) were given R.rosea extracts (100 mg) twice a day for two weeks. Regular menstrual cycles were restored in 25 out of the 40 women, and out of them, 11 got pregnant (18).

Now that we know the various benefits of this miracle herb, let’s check out the nutrient content in one single dose of Rhodiola rosea.

Back To TOC

Rhodiola rosea Nutrition Facts

Servings 1.01 Capsule
Calories631Sodium42 mg
Total Fat15 gPotassium506 mg
Saturated4 gTotal Carbs115 g
Polyunsaturated6 gDietary Fiber12 g
Monosaturated4 gSugars56 g
Trans0 gProtein14 g
Cholesterol11 mg
Vitamin A4%Calcium6%
Vitamin C14%Iron32%

One important thing that you need to know about Rhodiola rosea is how to consume it. So, let’s take a look at the best way to consume it and at what dosage.

Back To TOC

How To Take Rhodiola rosea And At What Dosage?

How To Take Rhodiola rosea And At What Dosage
Image: Shutterstock

Here are a few ways you can take the extracts of this herb:

1. R. rosea Supplements

You can buy R. rosea supplements and tablets (or capsules) from medical and online stores. However, before you buy the tablets, make sure that they contain 3% rosavin and 1% salidroside.

Usually, for adults, the prescribed dosage is 100-300 mg per day. But, it’s always better to consult a doctor before you take any supplements. In any case, avoid self-medication.

2. R. rosea Root Extracts And Powders

You can purchase R. rosea root extracts in the powder form online or prepare it at home. For that, you need to get dried Rhodiola rosea roots and grind them into a fine powder for consumption.

3. R. rosea Tincture

R. rosea tincture is readily available in any store that sells herbal medicines and extracts. You can prepare it at home as well.

You will need a mixture of alcohol (rum or vodka) and water in the ratio of 40:60. Grind the R. rosea root and add it to the alcohol and water mixture. Steep the mixture at room temperature for about 4-5 days. The recommended dosage for this tincture is half a teaspoon taken three times a day. However, consult a doctor to know the right amount of dosage for you.

4. R. rosea Tea

This is the easiest way to use R. rosea extracts.

This is what you need to do:

  • Dry some roots of the plant or buy dried roots online.
  • Finely chop or ground the dried roots and steep them in hot water.
  • If you don’t have a steeper, put the roots/powder in a tea bag and steep your tea.
  • The water should be warm, not hot. Usually, the tea is steeped for at least 4 hours before consumption.

You can also add a few drops of R. rosea tincture to your favorite herbal tea (green or chamomile tea) and then consume it.

Before you consume R. rosea extracts, there are a few points you need to keep in mind:

  • Avoid taking R. rosea before going to bed as it is a stimulant. Take it on an empty stomach before you start your day (19).
  • If you are taking this extract to treat depression/anxiety or to reduce fatigue, make sure you only take a single dose of 400-600 mg of the extract each day (20), (21).
  • If you are taking R. rosea to improve your energy levels, endurance, and performance, take it 1 or 2 hours before you start exercising or playing any sports (22), (12).

Before you try any new herb or medicine, the first question that strikes your mind is whether it has any side effects? I understand your concern. So, here’s what you need to know about the side effects of R. Rosea.

Back To TOC

What Are The Side Effects Of Rhodiola rosea?

So far, researchers have not found any side effects of this herb. According to an assessment report by the European Medicines Agency that was published in 2012, no serious side effects were noted (with the consumption of 567 mg of the extract each day) (23).

In fact, a daily dosage of less than 2% of Rhodiola rosea extract is considered safe (based on a study conducted on animals) (24).

However, in some cases, mild side effects, such as dizziness and dry mouth, have been observed after the patients were given 340 mg of the herb extract. Even in this case, the details of the type of extract used is not available (23).

Most of the studies have proven that Rhodiola rosea is safe to consume (when taken in the prescribed amount) and does not cause any side effects. If you are keen to use this magic herb, consult your doctor first. Also, buy Rhodiola rosea extracts that have been tested for their purity to reap the full benefits.

Try this wonderful herb and let me know how you felt after using it. You can leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions regarding Rhodiola rosea.

Back To TOC

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy Rhodiola rosea?

It is easily available online and in stores selling herbal medicines.

How long does it take to experience the effects?

It depends on your environment, physical and mental condition, and the severity of your condition. For some, it works in 2 days, and for others, it may take 2 weeks.

How much Rhodiola rosea should I take?

Your doctor is the best person to guide you in this aspect. The dosage differs from person to person. The prescribed dose should be somewhere between 200-600 mg per day, depending on your condition.

When is the best time to take Rhodiola rosea?

Preferably in the morning (or daytime) and on an empty stomach.


  1. Rhodiola rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview” ResearchGate
  2. Rhodiola rosea for physical..” US National Library of Medicine
  3. Plasma beta-endorphin..” US National Library of Medicine
  4. Evaluation of biologically active..” US National Library of Medicine
  5. Phytochemical and analytical studies..” US National Library of Medicine
  6. Citrus aurantiumandRhodiola rosea..” US National Library of Medicine
  7. Herbal Medicine for Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia” US National Library of Medicine
  8. The Effects of Rhodiola rosea..” US National Library of Medicine
  9. Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea..” US National Library of Medicine
  10. Multicenter, open-label, exploratory” Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.
  11. Rhodiola rosea as antioxidant” US National Library of Medicine
  12. Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can..” US National Library of Medicine
  13. Salidroside induces apoptosis..” US National Library of Medicine
  14. Rhodiola rosea extracts and salidroside decrease” US National Library of Medicine
  15. Perspective on Roseroot..” Planta Medica
  16. Rhodiola: a promising..” US National Library of Medicine
  17. Extension ofDrosophilaLifespan” PLOS One
  18. Rhodiola rosea A Phytomedicinal Overview” HerbalGram
  19. Rhodiola rosea: a possible plant adaptogen” US National Library of Medicine
  20. Rhodiola rosea versus sertraline for” Science Direct
  21. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled” Planta Medica
  22. The effects of an acute dose of Rhodiola rosea…” Journal of Strength and Conditioning ResearchGate
  23. Assessment report on Rhodiola rosea..” European Medicines Agency
  24. Rhodiola rosea: A Versatile Adaptogen” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Was this article helpful?
Vd. Naveen Sharma
Vd. Naveen SharmaBAMS, Ayurveda Specialist
Dr. Naveen Sharma is a renowned Ayurveda specialist with an experience of 10 years. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery(B. A. M. S) from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, in 2007.

Read full bio of Vd. Naveen Sharma
Latest Articles