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Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)


Rhodiola rosea has been categorised as an adaptogen by Russian researchers due to its observed ability to increase resistance to a variety of chemical, biological, and physical Stresses.

Research also indicates great utility in asthenia conditions (decline in work performance, sleep difficulties, poor appetite, irritability, Hypertension, Headaches, and Fatigue) developing subsequent to intense physical or intellectual strain. The adaptogenic, cardiopulmonary protective, and central nervous system activities of rhodiola rosea have been attributed primarily to its ability to influence levels and activity of monoamines and opioid peptides such as beta-endorphins (1).


Rhodiola has not been used in cooking, but possesses properties to enable individuals to cope with everyday situations.


This herb contains many useful constituents, which have a beneficial effect on different parts of the body.

The herb contains:
Phenylpropenoids (including rosavin, rhosavidin, rhodiolosid, salidrosid). Additional constituents are thyrosol and cinnamic alcohol, essential oil, anthraglycosides, beta-sitosterin, daucosterol, monoterpenes, flavonoids, and 16-18% tannins (2, 3).


The active principle of this herb is contained in the roots. Each tablet should provide 250 - 500mg standardised rhodiola rosea extract, providing 1% Salidrozid and 40% polyphenols, one to three times daily.


Increased mental and physical performance:
Several clinical trials using double-blind placebo controls have provided strong evidence that rhodiola rosea extract imparts positive mood enhancement as well as anxiolytic properties with no detectable levels of toxicity.

Rhodiola enhances mental and physical performance. It has been widely used by athletes to increase energy (4).

Rhodiola can help to oxygenate the brain as well as muscle tissues, providing a dramatic boost in energy levels (5).

Rhodiola has a positive influence on the nervous system, increasing attention span, memory, strength and mobility of the human body, improving mental ability, primarily enhancing the qualitative indicators of performed work (6).

Studies confirm the effectiveness of rhodiola on physical rehabilitative processes which may be attributed to a rapid normalization of lactic and uric acid during recovery.

Stress reliever:
Rhodiola's ability to help the body adapt to Stress may lie in its ability to enhance the level of serotonin, dopamine and other brain neurotransmitters. Serotonin and dopamine are normally broken down by the enzyme catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) and active compounds extracted from rhodiola rosea shown to inhibit the activity of COMT.

Research has shown that rhodiola rosea can increase the level of neurotransmitters by 30 per cent and decrease COMT activity by 60 per cent (7).

A recent study reported that a preparation of rhodiola root extract on the stimulating and normalizing of students during a stressful examination had positive effects on physical fitness, mental fatigue and neuro-motoric tests. Also a self-assessment of the general well-being of each individual was also significantly higher than placebo (8).

Rhodiola rosea can reduce general Fatigue under certain stressful conditions (4).

Rhodiola seems to improve the ratio of muscle to fat, and increases haemoglobin and erythrocyte levels in the blood.

Rhodiola possesses anti-Depression agents, helps boost the Immune System and is thought to help maintain the health of the heart.


Rhodiola is not recommended during pregnancy and whilst breast feeding.

Rhodiola is free from any known side effects at the doses recommended.


1. Altern Med Rev, 2001, 6 (3): 293-302 Rhodiola rosea: A possible plant adaptogen
2. Pharmazie, 1968, 23 (7): 392-395
3. Pharmazie, 1969, 24 (2): 118-119
4. Phytomedicine, 2000,7 (5): 365-371)
5. N. Volkov, Moscow Institute of Physical Culture, 1995. Rosavin, Rhodiola from Ameriden meets the standards set by the research.
6. Saratikov AS., Krasnov EA. 1987.
7. Krendal FP et al. (1990) Kharkov, USSR, pp 31-32
8. Phytomedicine, 2000, 7 (2): 85-89


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