Rhodiola rosea
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Rhodiola rosea?

The herb Rhodiola roseahas been used traditionally in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and other European countries as a “tonic herb,” said to fight fatigue, aid convalescence from illness, prevent infections, and enhance sexual function. In the twentieth century, Soviet physicians classified rhodiola as an adaptogen . This invented term refers to a hypothetical treatment described as follows: An adaptogen helps the body adapt to stresses of various kinds, whether heat, cold, exertion, trauma, sleep deprivation, toxic exposure, radiation, infection, or psychological stress. Furthermore, an adaptogen supposedly causes no side effects, treats a wide variety of illnesses, and helps return an organism toward balance no matter what may have gone wrong.

Perhaps the only indisputable...

Rhodiola is currently marketed as the “new ginseng,” said to fight fatigue , enhance mental function , increase general wellness , improve sports performance, and enhance sex drive in both men and women . A few double-blind studies involving a single proprietary product support the first two of these uses, finding that the use of this particular rhodiola extract by people in stressful, fatiguing circumstances may help maintain normal mental function.

For example, a double-blind , placebo-controlled study of 56 physicians on night-duty evaluated the potential benefits of rhodiola for maintaining mental acuity. 1 Participants received either placebo or rhodiola extract (170 mg daily) for a period of 2 weeks. The results showed that participants taking rhodiola retained a higher level...

Safety Issues

There are no known or suspected safety risks with rhodiola, and in clinical trials, no severe adverse effects have been reported. 2 However, comprehensive safety studies have not been performed. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.