November 15, 2019
Rhodiola Rosea: The Adaptogen Herb With Anti-Fatigue & Anti-Depressant Properties

Rhodiola Rosea: The Adaptogen Herb With Anti-Fatigue & Anti-Depressant Properties

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Clinical research has confirmed that the popular herbal remedy Rhodiola Rosea exhibits anti-fatigue and anti-depressant properties.

Rhodiola Rosea is a herb grown in high latitude and altitude regions of the world and has been used in many traditional medicine systems in parts of Europe, Asia and Russia for centuries.

Traditional herbalists recommend Rhodiola Rosea for increasing energy, strength and overall vitality.

Studies on isolated organs, tissues, cells and enzymes have revealed that Rhodiola preparations exhibit adaptogenic effect including, neuroprotective, cardioprotective, anti-fatigue, antidepressive, anxiolytic, nootropic, life-span increasing effects and CNS stimulating activity.

A number of clinical trials demonstrate that repeated administration of R. rosea extract SHR-5 exerts an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental performance (particularly the ability to concentrate in healthy subjects), and reduces burnout in patients with fatigue syndrome. [1]

Rhodiola Rosea is one of the few adaptogenic herbs which has mild CNS stimulant properties, although the good news is unlike caffeine and other true CNS stimulants, Rhodiola doesn’t have a deleterious effect on the adrenal glands.

It appears from the research that Rhodiola Rosea is most effective in individuals with existing fatigue syndromes and suffering from stress-related symptoms such as fatigue, depression etc.

It is currently unclear which specific compound(s) in Rhodiola Rosea are active constituents.  Most preparations of R. rosea are standardized to specific levels of compounds rosavin, salidroside or both.

Let’s take a look at the current scientific research on the evidence-based health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea.

Adaptogen & Increase Physical/Mental Performance

Rhodiola Rosea Adaptogen Herb Study, Increase Physical and Mental PerformanceA number of studies have confirmed that Rhodiola Rosea exerts an adaptogenic effect on the body.

Adaptogens are a term given to herbs, which are said to increase the bodies resistance to stress and generally have a normalizing and balancing effect on the body as a whole.

Adaptogenic herbs also exert a modulating effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and balance endocrine stress hormones such as cortisol.

A systematic review from 2010 published in the International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology assessed the the current evidence from randomized clinical trials (RCTs) for or against the effectiveness or efficacy of Rhodiola rosea.

The systematic review concluded:

R. rosea may have beneficial effects on physical performance, mental performance, and certain mental health conditions. There is, however, a lack of independent replications of the single different studies. Five of the 10 RCTs reached more than three points on the Jadad score (i.e., good quality). More research seems warranted. [2]

Rhodiola Rosea Has Potent Anti-Fatigue & Anti-Stress Effect

Rhodiola Rosea Clinical Studies Anti-FatigueMany clinical studies have now confirmed that Rhodiola Rosea has a potent anti-fatigue effect and can help to reduce burnout in individuals with fatigue syndromes.

This will be of good news to the many thousands of individuals who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and other stress-related disorders including burnout.

A phase III clinical trial from 2009 took the form of a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with parallel groups.

The study concluded that repeated administration of R. ROSEA extract SHR-5 exerts an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental performance, particularly the ability to concentrate, and decreases cortisol response to awakening stress in burnout patients with fatigue syndrome.  [3]

A non-randomized, open-label study from 2012 also confirmed that Rhodiola Rosea is of benefit for improving stress-related symptoms, with improvements observed even after 3 days of treatment.

The study concluded:

Rhodiola extract at a dose of 200 mg twice daily for 4 weeks is safe and effective in improving life-stress symptoms to a clinically relevant degree. [4]

Rhodiola Rosea & Anti-Depressant Properties

Scientific research has found that Rhodiola Rosea may also be of benefit for individuals with mild to moderate depression.

A phase III clinical trial from 2007 was carried out as a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study with parallel groups over 6 weeks.

The study concluded:

It is concluded that the standardized extract SHR-5 shows anti-depressive potency in patients with mild to moderate depression when administered in dosages of either 340 or 680 mg/day over a 6-week period. [5]


[1] Rosenroot (Rhodiola rosea): traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacy.

[2] The effectiveness and efficacy of Rhodiola rosea L.: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.

[3] A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue.

[4] Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms–results of an open-label study.

[5] Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

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